Cougars head to desert to face Arizona
TUSCON, Ariz. - At halftime the Cougars are trailing Arizona 20-13.
The game is the first in Tucson for WSU since a 20-19 Cougar win, Sept. 25, 2004. WSU enters the game with a 2-2 record, having dropped its conference opener last week at USC, 47-14. The Wildcats enter the contest with a 1-3 mark, falling at California last week in its conference opener, 45-27.
WSU-ARIZONA SERIES: Arizona holds a 21-13 advantage in the all-time series, although the Cougars have captured four of the last five games. The Wildcats earned a 27-17 victory last season in Pullman when Chris Henry rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns, upsetting the No. 25 Cougars. The Wildcats hold an 11-7 margin all-time when playing at home, though the Cougars have captured the last three meetings when playing in Tucson, including a 20-19 victory, Sept. 25, 2004. In that contest Josh Swogger connected with Jason Hill for a 15-yard touchdown score with 53 seconds remaining. Arizona had taken a 19-14 lead with just under four minutes to play before WSU's late scoring drive.
LAST WEEK VS USC: WSU quarterback Alex Brink completed 17-of-33 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns but it was not enough as John David Booty threw for 279 yards and four touchdowns as No. 1 Southern California opened the Pac-10 season by beating Washington State 47-14 for its 35th consecutive home victory. Booty completed 10 passes for 79 yards on USC's first possession, and 29-of-36 overall before coming out early in the fourth quarter. Senior tight end Fred Davis had nine receptions for 124 yards against the Cougars, both career bests, and also hauled in two touchdown passes. USC took the opening drive and marched 83 yards for the score, but the Cougars answered with a 15-play, 84-yard drive of their own, capped by Brink's three-yard touchdown pass to Jed Collins. Charles Dillon and Collins led WSU receivers with five receptions each, and Brandon Gibson led WSU with 81 yards receiving. Senior wide receiver Michael Bumpus added a three quarter receiving touchdown, his third of the season.
WSU-ARIZONA STATE GAME TO BE TELEVISED BY FSN: The Washington State-Arizona State game scheduled for Oct. 6 has been selected by FSN for a national broadcast. Game time for the contest has been set for 1 p.m. The game will mark the fourth straight appearance by the Cougars on live TV, the first time that has occurred since the 2004 season, when WSU had its first four games televised.
NO BREAK IN SCHEDULE: Following this Saturday's game at Arizona, the Cougars return home for just the second time this season to face No. 23 Arizona State as part of Homecoming festivities on the WSU campus. Though they are home for two of their next four, the schedule maker did the Cougars no favors as WSU's next four opponents enter this weekend with a combined 15-1 record. WSU's home games come against No. 23 ASU (4-0) and UCLA (3-1), while they have road games at No. 11 Oregon (4-0) and No. 6 California (4-0).
FIRST FIVE GAMES IN DIFFERENT STADIUMS: When Washington State hosts the Arizona State Sun Devils (Oct. 6) in Pullman's Martin Stadium, the Cougars will have played five teams in five different stadiums. The Cougars began play at Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium Sept. 1, then hosted San Diego State at Qwest Field (home of the Seattle Seahawks). WSU played for the first time this season in Martin Stadium Sept. 15, when it faced Idaho before last week's game at USC (Sept. 22). This Saturday marks the fifth stadium in as many weeks when the Cougars visit Arizona before returning to Martin Stadium versus Arizona State Oct. 6.
2007 WSU CAPTAINS: FS Husain Abdullah (23), QB Alex Brink (10), WR Michael Bumpus (5), LB Greg Trent (52).
BUMPUS CLIMBING CAREER RECEPTIONS LIST: Senior wide receiver Michael Bumpus entered the 2007 season tied for seventh with Tim Stallworth (1986-89) on the Cougars' all-time receptions list with 125. Following Saturday's three-catch effort against USC, Bumpus inched closer up the list. He passed former Cougar greats Philip Bobo and Jason Hill last Saturday to move into second place and now needs 27 to pass Hugh Campbell for the all-time mark. Should he continue on his season average of just over six catches a game, Bumpus would pass Campbell in late October.
GIBSON BECOMING GO-TO GUY: Dating back to last season, junior wide receiver Brandon Gibson has caught at least one touchdown in six of his last eight games. The streak began in a 37-15 win at UCLA where he caught two, his first two of the season. He then had one against Arizona before being shutout at Arizona State. Gibson added another in the finale against Washington before beginning the season with a touchdown grab at Wisconsin and two more against San Diego State. Against Idaho he hauled in a 21-yard score from Alex Brink, one of seven catches on the day, then was blanked for just the second time in his last eight games against USC, though he led the team with 81 receiving yards on three receptions. Over the past eight games, Gibson has caught a total of 49 balls totaling 752 yards with eight touchdowns.
TRENT A TACKLING MACHINE: Linebacker Greg Trent has picked up right where he left off last season, near the top of the Cougar tackling leaders. Over his past six games dating back to last season, the junior co-captain has registered 56 total tackles, reaching double figures in three of those contests. Trent has led the Cougars in tackles in three of four game this season, recording 10 in the opener at Wisconsin,13 against San Diego State, with both being game-highs, a team-best eight against Idaho and seven last week at USC.
WSU 9-0 ON FSN NORTHWEST: WSU holds a 9-0 record in games televised exclusively by FSN Northwest...the list includes six games against Idaho, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and games against Hawaii in 1999, Montana State in 2001 and Oregon State 2006.
TARDY OFF TO FAST START: After two near-misses at breaking the 100-yard barrier in the opening two weeks, sophomore running back Dwight Tardy finally broke through against Idaho, gaining 108 yards on 22 carries. It marked the third time in his career he has gone over the century mark. Tardy has been the Cougar workhorse in the backfield this season as he has carried 70 times for 330 yards, a 4.7 average. That mark puts him 10th in the Pac-10 and 61st nationally. Equally impressive is the fact that in those 70 carries, he has been stopped for a loss only three times for a total of five yards.
SECONDARY RACKING UP TACKLES: Through the first four games of the season, the Cougar secondary is getting in on a majority of the tackles. Three of the Cougars' top five tacklers this year reside in the secondary, led by freshman cornerback Chima Nwachukwu, whose 29 tackles this year are second on the team. Junior safety Alfonso Jackson is tied for third with 26 tackles, while senior safety Husain Abdullah's 17 tackles are tied for fifth. Against USC, Nwachukwu tied a Cougar season-high with 13 tackles, 12 of the solo variety.
KOOYMAN GETS FIRST START: Last Saturday against USC, sophomore defensive end Kevin Kooyman registered the first start of his career. Kooyman responded with a pair of solo tackles and his team-leading third sack of the season. Through the first third of the season, Kooyman has totaled six tackles, three sacks, a fumble recovery and a pass break-up.
COUGARS MOVING FORWARD WITHOUT FAMILIAR FACE: Last Saturday's game at USC marked the first game since the end of the 1975 season that former sports information director Rod Commons has missed. Commons, who moved into a part-time position with the atheltic department Aug. 1, had seen every game played by the Cougars since he began at WSU prior to the beginning of the 1976 season, a span of 356 games that ended with last week's venture to Los Angeles. Over his 31-plus years of covering Cougar football, Commons witnessed 176 wins, 175 losses and five ties.
COUGARS ON LIVE TV: Washington State University's season-opening game at Wisconsin, Sept. 1, was the first of seven live television appearances by the Cougars already announced this season. Both ABC and FSN can select additional games during the course of the 2007 season, with selections made six or 12 days in advance of the games.
DEAN OF PAC-10 QUARTERBACKS, SECOND NATIONALLY: Senior Alex Brink began his final campaign as the dean of Pacific-10 Conference quarterbacks. Brink enters Saturday's game against Arizona having started his last 32 games dating back to his freshman season. That mark is 10 ahead of Arizona State junior Rudy Carpenter's 22 and 14 more than California's Nate Longshore (18). Among all Division I active quarterbacks, Brink ranks second, trailing Iowa State's Bret Meyer, who enters this week having started his last 40 games.
BRINK AMONG ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS: Alex Brink not only ranks among the Pac-10 leaders this season, he is among the most prolific active quarterbacks in the NCAA. Brink ranks in the top five in four categories among active players, including yards (3rd), touchdowns (3rd), attempts (4th) and completions (4th).
BRINK ALONE IN 400-CLUB: Brink is the only Cougar to have three 400-plus yard games. He has four of the top nine passing games in WSU history. Mark Rypien and Jason Gesser did it twice, Mike Pattinson, Drew Bledsoe and Ryan Leaf each did it once.
MANNING WATCH LIST INCLUDES BRINK: For the second straight season, Alex Brink is among the top quarterbacks nationally named to the Manning Award Watch List. The Manning Award Watch List, presented to the nation's best quarterback. The Manning Award is named in honor of the college accomplishments of Archie, Peyton, and Eli Manning. Thirty-five players are named to the list, including five from the Pacific-10 Conference.