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The Washington ground game was once again the story of the day as the Washington Huskies used a balanced attack pick up a win. Washington ran the ball 231 yards compared to 271 yards through the air. Here are some more notes and observations from the press box from Saturday's game.

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  • Rushing yards:

    2002 totals: 968 yards, 74.5 yards per game, 2.1 yards per carry.
    2003 to date: 433 yards, 144.3 yards per game, 3.46 yards per carry

    1st Half: 85 yards (Alexis 67, James 14, Sampson 3, Pickett 1)
    On the second play of the game, Rich Alexis ran up the middle for 18 yards. That was probably an indication that the Huskies were in for a big day on the ground. On the same drive, Cody Pickett scrambled for 14 more yards. Alexis looked solid with some good-looking runs. The first quarter looked really good for the Huskies and it looked as if they had kicked their bad habit of not being able to find holes. However, they had some sort of relapse during the second quarter. As a team, Washington only racked up 8-yards on the ground compared to the 77-yards they had in the first quarter.

    2nd Half: 146 yards (Alexis 42, James 36, Pickett 25, Sampson 22, Ballew 15, Seery 4, Stanback 3)
    Washington only racked up 15 yards on the ground for their first three drives after the half. Pickett tried to do too much with an option and fumbled to give Idaho the ball on the Huskies' 17-yard line. However on Washington's fourth drive, the running game woke up in a big way. It was perhaps Rich Alexis' HUGE hit during a simple screenplay to Reggie Williams that fueled his momentum, and may have perhaps set the tone for the rest of the game.
    Turnover margin:

    2002 total: +1
    2003 to date: EVEN

    The Huskies were -1 in the turnover battle today, and both of Idaho's touchdowns came off of Husky turnovers. FB Malfred Shaw took Idaho's first play from scrimmage at their one-yard line and fumbled in the end zone. Idaho punted the ball away on their very next drive but Frederick muffed the punt and Cedric Thompson of Idaho recovered it, leading to a TD. After Pickett's fumble, the Vandals lined up and scored on their next play to close the gap 17-14. On the Huskies' very next drive, Idaho's Roderick Bryant intercepted a Pickett pass, but the Vandals failed to capitalize. In the fourth quarter, QB Brian Lindgren attempted to find Cedric Thompson down the middle but Jimmy Newell was playing perfect center field and came down with the interception.
    Third-down defense:

    2002 total: Opponents converted 40% of their third-down attempts. On "third-and-long" (6 yards or more), the number of big plays given up were: 10-19 yds. (19 times); 20-29 (13 times); 30-39 (1 time); 40-49 (2 times)

    2003 to date: Opponents have converted 38.8% of their third-down attempts. On "third-and-long" (6 yards or more), the number of big plays given up were: 10-19 yds. (6 times); 20-29 (3 times); 30-39 (0 time); 40-49 (0 time)

    The Vandals took advantage of Charles Frederick's blunder on the fumbled punt and converted two third-down conversions, including a 17-yard run by Zach Gerstner. During the second quarter, on another third-and-long, Gerstner ran outside for 23 yards. During a stretch in the second half, the Husky defense stopped Idaho dead in their tracks, forcing three and outs on five out of six Idaho drives. Most of the time, the Vandals only hurt themselves with dropped passes galore.
    NOTES FROM THE GAME:

    Recruits in the Crowd: The following recruits were in attendance and watched the game from the Husky sideline: Matt Tuiasosopo (Woodinville), Jonathan Stewart (JR Timberline), Tyler Ashby (Ballard), Jonathan Latua (Everett), Adam Heater (JR Snohomish), Drake Kula (from Hawaii), Trenton Tuiasosopo (Mariner), Jeff Fritch Peninsula (CA).

    Familiar Faces: "The Dawgfather," former Husky coach Don James watched the game from the Husky sideline, joining former UW players Pat Conniff, Roc Nelson, Wes Call and Kyle Benn in watching the Huskies handle the Vandals.

    J-Rob Returns: Junior receiver Justin Robbins made his first game appearance in nearly two full years, entering the game three plays into the contest. The first ball thrown his way fell incomplete. Robbins' last action in a game came on Sept. 29, 2001 at California. He injured his hamstring after catching one pass in the game, and missed the final eight contests of the season. Robbins then injured his knee while practicing for the 2001 Holiday Bowl, and missed all of the 2002 season and the first two games of 2003. Robbins hauled in his first pass Saturday with 7:44 left in the second quarter on a six-yard slant play.

    Bachert Honored: Senior offensive lineman Todd Bachert was the honorary game captain for Washington.

    Reggie Disciplined: Reggie Williams didn't play in the first half of the contest after failing to attend a mandatory team activity. He entered the field with 10:45 to go in the third quarter to a big applause from the student section. Reggie finished with four receptions for 72 yards, including a 48-yarder from Cody Pickett down the north sideline.

    Big D, and we don't mean Dallas: On Idaho's first offensive play of the game, backed up at its own 1-yard-line, Tim Galloway forced Vandals' senior tailback Malfred Shaw to fumble in the endzone. Terry Johnson pounced on the ball for the Husky score. It marked the third year in a row that Johnson has scored a defensive touchdown, and the first time Washington has scored on a fumble recovery since linebacker Ben Mahdavi did so at BYU in 1999.

    Just for Kicks: Punters Garth Erickson and Sean Douglas and place kickers Evan Knudson and Michael Braunstein all had big days with their legs. Erickson made a difference on the opening possession, pinning the Vandals back at their 1-yard-line on the Huskies first punt. Douglas booted two kickoffs deep into the endzone for touchbacks, a welcome sign. Knudson nailed each of his kicks, a field goal and four extra points. And Braunstein took advantage of his one chance to kickoff, sending it into the endzone for a touchback, and connected on an extra point attempt late in the game.

    Layin' the Lumber: Washington's biggest hit of the game, - the biggest of the season for that matter - came from Rich Alexis of all people when Reggie Williams took a screen pass, cut back across the field and set up the Husky tailback for a monster crackback block on pursuing Vandal linebacker Patrick Libey. The hit seemed to wake the Husky team, as they went on score the final 28 points of the game from that point forward.

    Coming into his Own: Quietly, Terry Johnson is putting together quite an impressive senior season. The defensive tackle out of Tempe, Arizona came into the game with three sacks and five tackles for a loss, and added three tackles-for-loss and two more sacks against the Vandals. Five sacks before conference play is not too shabby.

    Career Firsts Casey Paus finally threw a pass! The third-year quarterback from Illinois not only threw a pass, he threw four, completing three of them. His first pass completion of Paus' Husky career went to Quintin Daniels for a first down.

    Career Firsts Continued: Safety Jimmy Newell, who has battled injuries for much of his four years at Washington, finally came down with an interception. It came in the fourth quarter when Brian Lindgren threw a ball over the middle into double-coverage. Newell played the role of centerfielder, reading Lindgren's eyes and reacting to the ball once it was in the air. Isaiah Stanback, meanwhile, recorded his first reception since being used at receiver, a 12-yarder from Pickett.

    Bandel and Lyon in the Books: Tight ends Ben Bandel and Jon Lyon each recorded their first receptions of their career Saturday. Bandel did the deed first, catching a ball on a third-and-short midway through the second quarter. He finished with two receptions for 16 yards. Lyon's catch came with 1:06 left in the second quarter, going for five yards.

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