WASHINGTON STATE HOSTS CALIFORNIA SATURDAY NIGHT: Washington State University plays host to the University of California Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.
COUGARS OFF NEXT WEEK: Washington State will have next weekend off before heading on the road for its next two contests, at Stanford, Oct. 27 and at Utah, Nov. 3. The Cougars next home game will be Nov. 10 against UCLA.
CAL-WSU SERIES HISTORY: WSU will face the Golden Bears 74th time in program history with Cal holding a 43-25-5 series advantage after recording a 30-7 victory in San Francisco last season. When playing in Pullman, the Cougars hold a 12-7-1 advantage but the Golden Bears have won the last three meetings in Pullman and seven straight overall.
Mike Leach RADIO SHOW: Washington State Head Coach Mike Leach holds a weekly radio show on WSU's flagship station 920 KXLY live from Zeppoz in Pullman. This week's show will be Thursday from 6-7 p.m.
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 124th consecutive appearance on the weekly show, dating back to the beginning of the 2004 season. Two flags - Ol' Crimson and Gray - have been flown in the background of the GameDay set by dozens of friends and alumni. The Gray flag was added this year after Whitey was retired in honor of Steve Gleason's "No White Flags." WSU recognized the GameDay flag wavers in a pregame ceremony prior to the Montana State game in 2010. 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.
WILSON AMONG PAC-12's CAREER LEADERS: Junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson enters the week as the Pac-12 Conference's active career leader in receiving yards with 2,947, good for No. 17 all-time in conference history and second among the country's active receivers. His 1,388 receiving yards in 2011 was the 12th most in Pac-12 history.
DEFENSE RACKING UP THE SACKS: The Washington State defense enters the week third in the Pac-12 Conference and ninth in the country with 19 sacks after adding three more at Oregon State. Following a year in which the Cougars recorded 17 all of the season, the switch to a 3-4 defense has seen more linebackers in the backfield as 16 of the 19 sacks have come from linebackers. The Cougars have also racked up 49 tackles-for-loss, tied with Arizona State for the most in the Pac-12 and also good for sixth-most in the country.
WILSON CLIMBING WSU RECORD BOOKS: Junior Marquess Wilson continued his climb up WSU's career receiving records with 12 catches for 182 yards against Oregon. His 182 receiving yards pushed him past Brandon Gibson for the most receiving yards in school history. Wilson made four receptions at Oregon State and now has 171 in his career, six away from Hugh Campbell who sits third with 177. Wilson's touchdown catch against the Ducks also pushed him past Campbell and into second on WSU's top-10 for career touchdown receptions with 23.
WILSON'S BIG PLAYS:Marquess Wilson's 81-yard touchdown at UNLV wasn't the first big play of his career. In 29 games, the junior wideout owns eight career touchdown catches of 50-plus yards, including five in 2011 highlighted by a 85-yard score from Connor Halliday against Arizona State. Dating back to the 1984 season, the only Cougar with as many as seven touchdown catches of 50-plus yards is former Cougar great Tim Stallworth.
LONG LEADING THE WAY: Senior Travis Long tallied nine tackles and two sacks at UNLV for the second time this season after reaching the marks at BYU in week one. The Spokane, Wash. native followed with 2.5 sacks against Colorado and one last week to enter the week leading the Pac-12 Conference and tied for the most in the country with 7.5 sacks, already surpassing his four from a season ago. His now owns 18.5 sacks in his career, placing him in seventh on WSU's top-10 for career sacks. Long's team-leading 10.0 tackles-for-loss puts his career total at 39, good for fifth on WSU's career top-10.
FURNEY GOES LONG DISTANCE: Junior kicker Andrew Furney has already provided a couple highlights for the Cougars this season, hitting a pair of 40+ yard field goals (47, 41) at BYU, closing the half against Eastern Washington with a 60-yard field goal and hitting another pair of 40+ yard field goals against Colorado (45, 42). Furney's 60-yarder was the second longest in WSU history behind Jason Hanson's 62-yard kick at UNLV in 1991. The 60-yarder is also tied for the second longest in conference history and is the longest in Martin Stadium history. The Burlington, Wash. native enters the week tied with Loren Langley for the eighth-most made field goals in WSU history with 26.
NEW FACES MAKING AN IMPACT: Washington State has seen a number of new faces on the field in 2012. First-year Cougars making an impact are led by junior nose tackle Ioane Gauta who has started all six games and made 14 stops including four tackles-for-loss and added an interception. Freshman safety Taylor Taliulu started the first two games and was one of the top two tacklers in each contest, making nine at BYU and seven against Eastern Washington. Freshman wideouts Gabe Marks and Brett Bartolone own 24 and 26 receptions, respectively, with Marks posting his first two career 100-yard performances at UNLV and against Colorado while Bartolone recorded nine catches for 87 yards and a touchdown against Oregon. Freshman running back Teondray Caldwell leads the Pac-12 in kickoff return average at 26.8, already owning a 63-yard return at BYU, a 54-yarder against Colorado and a 92-yarder against Oregon.
MONROE MAKING HIS MARK: Redshirt-freshman linebacker Darryl Monroe has produced for the Cougars while starting at MIKE linebacker in all six games this season. Monroe is second on the team with 39 tackles, has forced two fumbles, recovered one and made three sacks. The Orlando, Fla. native redshirted last season after suffering a leg injury in the 2011 season opener against Idaho State. Monroe added 15 pounds to his frame since arriving from Dr. Phillips High School where he was named one of the top five linebackers in the state of Florida as a senior.
HALLIDAY AT IT AGAIN: Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Connor Halliday picked up where he left off from last season, tearing up the record books once again as the Spokane native passed for 378 yards and four touchdowns at UNLV then followed with 401 yards and four touchdown passes against Colorado. It was the first time a WSU quarterback has posted back-to-back four-touchdown games since 2007 when Alex Brink threw for five scores against San Diego State and four against Idaho. Halliday threw for 348 yards against No. 2 Oregon and now owns four 300-yard performances, two 400-yard games and three four-touchdown performances after passing for 494 yards and four scores against Arizona State last season.
BOWLIN BLASTS AWAY: Redshirt-junior Michael Bowlin has provided a big boost to the WSU kicking game, already recording 11 touchbacks on kickoffs to surpass last year's total of one and tying Nick Grasu's mark of 11 in 2010. Bowlin also owns 10 punts of 50+ yards including a 69-yarder against Eastern Washington, a 60-yarder at UNLV, one for 65 yards against Oregon and has put seven punts inside the 20.
BUCANNON'S INT'S: Junior safety Deone Bucannon made his ninth career interception Saturday and enters the game against Cal tied for first in the Pac-12 Conference with four this season. Bucannon picked off two passes against Oregon to post the first multiple-interception game by a Cougar since Xavier Hicks at Oregon State in 2008. Bucannon notched two picks as a freshman in 2010 before making three interceptions last season, at San Diego State, at Colorado and at Oregon.
RETURN GAME: The Washington State return game as already seen improvement from 2011 kick returner Teondray Caldwell headlines the Cougars No. 24 nationally ranked return team with a Pac-12 best 26.8 average. Caldwell owns kick returns of 63 yards at BYU, a 54-yarder against Colorado and nearly took one to house against No. 2 Oregon, going for 92 yards. The punt return team owns the No. 42 best return average in the country with Leon Brooks averaging 10.6 yards-per-return, more than three times the average last season. Brooks made a career-best 29-yard return against Eastern Washington earlier this season. Additionally, the kickoff coverage team is the tenth-best in the country, allowing 16.5 per return, a big improvement from last year's coverage team that ranked No. 99 at 23.7 yards-per-return.
TUEL AMONG WSU'S ELITE PASSERS: Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel enters Saturday's game against Cal seventh on WSU's career top-10 for completions with 399 and eighth in career passing yards (4,433). The Fresno, Calif. native's fourth-quarter touchdown pass against Oregon put him in a tie for seventh with Mark Rypien for career touchdown passes (28). His career completion percentage also improved to .615 (384/624), the best by any quarterback in WSU history.
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 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.
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.