Sept. 7, 2009
PULLMAN, Wash. -
Hawaii Warriors (1-0)
Cougar Gridiron Classic
September 12 Qwest Field 4 p.m. (PT)
Radio: Cougar Sports Radio Network
SATURDAY'S GAME: Washington State looks for its first win of the 2009 season when its hosts the University of Hawaii Saturday (Sept. 12) at Qwest Field in Seattle. The game, the Cougar Gridiron Classic presented by Washington's Beef Producers, marks the eighth consecutive season the Cougars have hosted a game in Seattle.
WSU-HAWAII SERIES: Saturday's matchup marks the fifth meeting between the two teams, and second straight season these teams have met. Last year the Cougars closed out their campaign in Honolulu as the Warriors posted a 24-10 victory. The two teams have split the first four meetings after Hawaii took the series-opener 20-11 in 1925. Four years later WSU evened the series with a 28-7 victory then waited 70 years before grabbing a 22-14 win in 1999. All four previous games have been played at Hawaii.
COUGARS AT QWEST FIELD: The annual Cougar Gridiron Classic is presented by Washington's Beef Producers. WSU will be making its eighth appearance at the home field of the Seattle Seahawks, a series that started in 2002 with WSU hosting Nevada in the first football game played in the new stadium. WSU beat the Wolfpack and have also defeated Idaho (2003), Grambling (2005), Baylor (2006) and San Diego State (2007) in Seattle, with its only two setbacks a loss to Colorado in 2004 and last year against Oklahoma State.
WSU AGAINST NONCONFERENCE FOES: Since the opening of the 2001 season, WSU is 19-4 against unranked nonconference opponents. WSU has wins over Idaho (seven times), Nevada (twice), Montana State (twice), Boise State, Purdue, New Mexico, Colorado, Grambling State, Baylor and Portland State.
PUNT FORREST, PUNT: With his six-punt, 286-yard performance last week against Stanford (47.7 yard average), redshirt junior punter Reid Forrest moved into WSU's all-time list for both career punts and career punting yards. Forrest now has 5,323 career punting yards, ranking 10th on the Cougars' all-time list. His 129 career punts also ranks 10th all-time at WSU. Of Cougars with at least 125 career punts, Forrest's career average of 41.3 ranks fifth-best.
WSU AGAINST THE WAC: The Cougars have won 11 of the last 12 games played against Western Athletic Conference opponents, with the only recent setback coming last season against the Warriors. The Cougars have not dropped back-to-back games against WAC schools since the 1990 season, falling to both Wyoming (34-13) and BYU (50-36) that year. WSU is 22-18-1 all-time against the WAC, though boasts a record of 90-25-4 against current WAC schools.
TARDY MOVING UP THE RUSHING LISTS: Redshirt senior running back Dwight Tardy entered the 2009 season ranked 10th in both career rushes and career rushing yards. With 13 carries against Stanford, Tardy moved into eighth place on the list with 434 rushes, passing Dan Doornink (424; 1974-77) and Michael Black (424; 1996-97). Tardy also now has 1,882 rushing yards, and needs only five yards against Hawaii to pass Tali Ena (1,888; 1976-79) and move into ninth place on WSU's all-time list.
FIRST STARTS: Continuing a trend from last season, the Cougars had eight players make their first-career against the Cardinal. On offense, Gino Simone and Zack Williams made their first-career starts for the Cougars, and on defense, Travis Long, Bernard Wolfgramm, Josh Luapo, Jason Stripling, Brandon Jones and LeAndre Daniels made their first starts as Cougars. In 2008 26 players registered their first start for WSU, 17 on offense and nine on defense.
NOTABLES FROM STANFORD: Nine different Cougars made their first collegiate start against Stanford...sophomore Louis Bland, in his first start at middle linebacker, registered a game and career-high 10 tackles...senior running back Dwight Tardy moved into eighth place on the career rushes list with 434...junior punter Reid Forrest booted a career-long 64-yard punt, one of three punts over 50 yards on the day...quarterback Kevin Lopina's five-yard strike to Jared Karstetter was the first TD pass of his career...Karstetter ended the day with 91 receiving yards, one yard better than his 2008 season total...junior wide receiver Daniel Blackledge (67 yards) and senior tight end Tony Thompson (36 yards) both had career-best days.
STARTING FROM DAY ONE: The Cougars had two true freshman start the 2009 season-opener against Stanford (Travis Long, defensive end; Gino Simone, wide receiver), the first time since the inception of the Pacific-10 Conference in 1978 two true freshmen position players started a season-opener for WSU. The only other time WSU has started two true freshmen in a season-opener was in 2004 (Ropati Pitoitua, defensive tackle; Loren Langley, kicker). Prior to this season, only 11 Cougars had started a season-opener as true freshmen, seven of which were position players.
WSU FOOTBALL BLOG: For an in-depth look and behind the scenes information not available anywhere else, check out the official WSU football blog "First and Crimson" at wsucougars.cstv.com/ot/cougar-football-blog.html.
VOTE FOR BUTCH: Washington State University mascot Butch T. Cougar has been announced as a member of the 2009 Capital One Mascot Challenge, and fans can vote to make Butch the Capital One Mascot Challenge Champion. Butch, one of 12 mascots selected to this year's All-American Mascot Team, won the competition in 2006, and was also a member of the team in 2005. Voting began Aug. 31, and will run through December. Fans can view Butch's featured video now at www.capitalonebowl.com. Butch was selected for the team based on a highlight video made earlier this year. He was judged on his interaction with fans, originality, creativity and professionalism. In addition, his pedigree - awards earned in the last five years - played a role in his selection. WSU encourages fans to bookmark www.capitalonebowl.com starting Aug. 31, so they will remember to vote for Butch as many times as possible. Butch's fans can vote multiple times per day, and Capital One does not collect names, addresses, or email addresses from anyone who casts votes.