Cougars Open 2012 Season Thursday At BYU On ESPN
Aug. 27, 2012
COUGARS OPEN 2012 SEASON AT BYU ON ESPN: Under the direction of first-year head coach Mike Leach, Washington State University opens the 2012 season on the road for a nationally televised matchup against BYU in Provo, Utah at 7:15 p.m. (PT) Thursday.
WSU-BYU SERIES HISTORY: Washington State and BYU have met three times with WSU owning a 1-2 record in the series that includes the inaugural meeting that came in the 1981 Holiday Bowl. Led by Jim McMahon's three touchdown passes in his final collegiate game, Brigham Young posted a 38-36 victory in the Holiday Bowl. In 1989, the two teams combined for over 1,000 yards in offense while WSU received a four-touchdown performance by Steve Broussard en route to a 46-41 road victory. In the 1990 meeting, also played in Provo, both offenses again put on a show but Brigham Young picked up a 50-36 win behind Ty Detmer's 448 yards and five touchdown passes.
NEXT WEEK: WSU will host Eastern Washington University next Saturday, Sept. 8 at Noon in Martin Stadium. The Cougars will make their Pac-12 Networks debut, with Pac-12 Washington set to televise the first meeting between the two schools since 1908.
Mike Leach AGAINST HIS ALMA MATER: Head coach Mike Leach has never faced BYU on the football field. Leach attended Brigham Young University and graduated with honors in 1983. Leach owns a career record of 84-43 and made 10 bowl appearances during his 10 seasons at Texas Tech University (2000-09).
COUGARS IN SEASON OPENERS: Washington State owns a 69-42-5 record in season openers in their 116-year history. When opening the season on the road, WSU is 20-27-3 all-time. The last BCS road win to open the season was against New Mexico (21-17) in 2004. WSU is 77-34-3 all-time in home openers, including games in Pullman, Spokane and Seattle. Since 1990 the Cougars boast a 15-7 record in home debuts, and are 25-12 dating back to the start of the 1975 season. Head coach Mike Leach is 9-1 in season openers and has won seven straight.
COLLEGE GAMEDAY RECORD: In addition to Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso, ESPN's College Gameday has had another constant - the WSU flag, which this weekend will be making its 118th consecutive appearance on the weekly show, dating back to the beginning of the 2004 season. Two flags - Ol' Crimson and Whitey - have been flown in the background of the Gameday set by dozens of friends and alumni. WSU recognized the Gameday flag wavers in a pregame ceremony prior to the Montana State game last season. In addition to the flags that fly, there is a traveling flag signed by the holders after each episode. The traveling flag is retired after each season, the first of which is hanging in WSU's Alumni Center.
WSU AGAINST NONCONFERENCE OPPONENTS: Since the opening of the 2001 season, WSU is 24-8 against unranked nonconference opponents. WSU has wins over Idaho (seven times), Montana State (3 times), Nevada (twice), New Mexico (twice), Boise State, Purdue, Colorado, Grambling State, Baylor, Portland State, SMU, Idaho State and UNLV.
WILSON AMONG PAC-12's CAREER LEADERS: Junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson enters the 2012 campaign the Pac-12 Conference's active career leader in receiving yards with 2,394, good for No. 47 all-time in Pac-12 history. His 1,388 receiving yards in 2011 was the 12th most in Pac-12 history. TUEL TO WILSON ADDING UP: Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel and junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson have connected 61 times for 1,097 yards and seven touchdowns.
WILSON PLACED ON PAIR OF PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA TEAMS: Junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson was named to CBSSports.com Preseason All-America first team and the SI.COM Preseason All-America second team.
TUEL NAMED TO DAVEY O'BRIEN AWARD AND JOHNNY UNITAS AWARD WATCH LISTS: Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel was named to The Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award® watch list. The Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award is presented annually to the nation's best college quarterback and is the oldest and most prestigious national quarterback award. Coming off an impressive sophomore campaign, Tuel appeared in three games while battling through injuries last season. As a sophomore in 2010, Tuel threw for 2,780 yards and 18 touchdowns while starting all 12 games.
FURNEY NAMED TO LOU GROZA AWARD WATCH LIST: Junior kicker Andrew Furney was named to The Lou Groza Award watch. Furney was named one of 20 semifinalists to the same award during the 2011 campaign. Last season, Furney was 14-of-16 in field goal attempts to post the best field goal percentage in WSU single-season history. He recorded a season-long of 51 and was 5-for-5 from 40-plus yards.
LONG NAMED TO THREE PRESEASON WATCH LISTS: Senior linebacker Travis Long was named to preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (Top Defensive Player), Butkus Award (Top Linebacker) and Rotary Lombardi Award (Top Lineman or Linebacker). Long enters the 2012 season having started all 36 games of his Cougar career. He is a three-time all-conference selection, earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2011. Last season he led WSU with four sacks, collected 12 tackles-for-loss, which ranked fifth in the Pac-12, and had 42 total tackles from his defensive end position.
WILSON NAMED TO MAXWELL AWARD AND BILETNIKOFF AWARD WATCH LISTS: Junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson has been named to the preseason watch lists for the annual Maxwell Award, given to the nation's top collegiate football player, and the Fred Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's top receiver. Wilson enters the 2012 season coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. In 2011 he set WSU single-season records with 82 receptions and 1,388 receiving yards and tied for second-most in a season with 12 touchdown receptions. Wilson led the Pac-12 in receiving yards per game at 115.7 and earned Yahoo! Sports All-America second team and Sports Illustrated All-America honorable mention honors.
WILSON SETS SINGLE-SEASON RECORDS: Wide receiver Marquess Wilson 223-yard performance against Arizona State last season pushed him past Brandon Gibson (1,180 yards in 2007) as the school's all-time single-season receiving leader. Wilson ended the 2011 season with 1,388 yards on 82 catches while averaging 115.7 yards per game. Those numbers put him sixth nationally in receiving yards per game (first in the Pac-12), while he is tied for 17th in catches. His 82 receptions surpassed WSU's previous single-season leader Nakoa McElrath (2001) by 10. Against ASU Wilson became the second Cougar with multiple 1,000-yard season, joining current Jacksonville Jaguar receiver Jason Hill, who had 1,007 and 1,097 receiving yards in 2004 and 2005.
WILSON'S BIG PLAYS: Marquess Wilson's 85-yard touchdown catch against Arizona State wasn't his first big play of his career. In 24 games, the junior wideout owns seven career touchdown catches for 50-plus yards, including five in 2011. Dating back to the 1984 season, the only Cougar with as many touchdown catches of 50-plus yards is former Cougar great Tim Stallworth who also had seven.
FOUR IN A ROW FOR HORTON: Junior cornerback Damante Horton's interception at Oregon last season marked his fourth-straight game with an interception and the first four of his career. Horton's pick against the Ducks was taken back 76 yards for a touchdown, the sixth-longest interception return for a score in school history. Horton's four interceptions leads the Pac-12. The last time a Cougar intercepted a pass in four consecutive games occurred when Jason David picked off passes in five straight during the 2002 season, when he finished the year with seven and helped the Cougs earn a trip to the Rose Bowl.
COUGARS GARNER ALL-PAC-12 ACCOLADES IN 2011: Linebacker Travis Long and wide receiver Marquess Wilson each earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2011. Offensive linemen John Fullington and cornerback Damante Horton each received honorable mention recognition. Long picked up all-conference honors for the third consecutive season after making 42 tackles, 31 solo including a team-best 12 tackles-for-loss, good for a tie for fifth in the conference. The Spokane native started all 12 games and also led the Cougs with four sacks. Wilson picked up his second career all-conference accolade after setting WSU single-season records for receptions (82) and receiving yards (1,388) while tying Jason Hill for the second most touchdown catches with 12. The Tulare, Calif. native posted six 100-yard performances and was the only player in the conference to eclipse the 200-yard twice (236 - at San Diego State, 223 - Arizona State). Wilson led the conference in receiving yards per game (115.7), was second in touchdowns and receiving yards, and was third in catches. Fullington earned his first career all-conference honor after starting all 12 games at left guard as a sophomore while Horton earned his first career all-conference honor after tying for the conference lead with four interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. The junior also finished with 31 tackles, three pass break ups and two forced fumbles.
WILLIAM "LONE STAR" DIETZ SELECTED TO COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: Former Washington State football coach William "Lone Star" Dietz was selected to the College Football Hall of Fame 2012 Divisional Class by the National Football Foundation in May. With a lengthy career spanning many schools and decades, William "Lone Star" Dietz provided a foundation for football success at many universities across the nation. He served as the head coach for 19 seasons at seven institutions and enjoyed a distinguished career as an assistant coach, helping College Football Hall of Fame coach Pop Warner prepare Stanford for two Rose Bowl appearances. Truly a legend in his own time, "Lone Star" Dietz had a fantastic career as Washington State's football coach from 1915-17. His teams posted a 17-2-1 record with 15 shutouts. In his inaugural year, he guided WSC (Washington State College) to the Rose Bowl and a 14-0 shutout of Ivy League foe Brown. That team was 7-0 and allowed just one touchdown and one field goal all year. A year later, WSC was 4-2 and his 1917 team finished 6-0-1 while yielding three points to opponents, a field goal in the second game of the season.
40TH ANNIVERSARY OF MARTIN STADIUM: The 2012 Cougars football season marks the 40-year anniversary of Martin Stadium. In April 1970, a fire destroyed the south stands and press box of then-Rogers Field. For the next two seasons, the WSU football team played its home games at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane. In the interim, a one-million dollar fund drive began after the decision was made to rebuild the stands rather than relocate or build an entirely new stadium. WSU launched a two-phase renovation plan that created a two-tiered structure that held 17,500, replacing the old seating capacity of 10,000 and increasing the total seating capacity to 30,000. Dan Martin, a Los Angeles businessman, gave $250,000 to the project with the stipulation the stadium be renamed after his father, Clarence D. Martin, governor of Washington state from 1933-40. Although the look and amenities have changed, Martin Stadium has been the home of the Washington State Cougars since 1972. The $80 million Cougar Football Project, which began in Nov., 2011, replaces the old press box on the south stands with a new structure that includes a new press box, club seats, loge boxes, luxury suites and a club room.
Official Website of Washington State University Athletics | Bohler Athletic Complex | PO Box 641602 Pullman, WA 99164-1602 | 1.800.GO.COUGS