Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sounders goalkeeper Terry Boss forced to retire due to multiple concussions.

By Money Mike

Well it's always difficult when you hear that an athlete has to put an end to his career due to injuries, but stuff like this happens. Sounders goalkeeper Terry Boss has been forced to retire due to multiple concussions he suffered here in Seattle and with the Puerto Rican national team. Over his three years here with the Seattle Sounders, I gotta say this year was the year he impressed me the most. Getting W's in the U.S. Open Cup against the Kitsap Pumas and the Los Angeles Galaxy and two very big wins in the CONCACAF Champions League against Comunicaciones and Monterrey.

A look back at Terry Boss's career:

When you take a look at his career, you can see that he hasn't done much, he hasn't played many league matches. During his collegiate offseason, he played 9 matches for the Cascade Surge, 2 with the Vermont Voltage and 2 with the Fort Wayne Fever in the USL Premier Development League where college players can go play during their offseason. He began his professional career in 2005 with the Charlotte Eagles where he again made only 2 appearances. He then spent the next two seasons with the Puerto Rico Islanders, but yet again, he made only two appearances, however his stay with the Islanders helped him qualify for the Puerto Rican national team. He returned to Charlotte for two more seasons and made 20 appearances with them from 2008-2009 and was named USL2 goalkeeper of the year. After failing to make an appearance for the New York Red Bulls, Boss joined the Seattle Sounders halfway through the 2009 season. He made his first and only MLS appearance for the Sounders on April 22, 2010 against FC Dallas, coming on as a substitute for Kasey Keller. He capped 7 times for the Puerto Rican national team from 2008-2011. His last cap was where he suffered that season ending concussion which now turned out to be career ending.

This is what Terry Boss said on Facebook following his trip to the doctors:

After repeat concussions, and many appointments with concussion specialist, the doctors have told me that I have to retire. Although its sad news, it's difficult not to also feel very blessed. By Gods grace I have been fortunate to play the sport I love for a living for the last eight years. Ive met so many great people along the way, and i get to end my career with one of the best organizations in the world and the best fans anywhere. A big thank you to everybody who made my time in Seattle so special and to everybody else who helped me along the way!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thunderbirds Win Late Over Swift Current

By Korz206

The Seattle Thunderbirds (11-12-0-1) defeat the Swift Current Broncos (11-15-2-1) by the score of 4-2. Late game heroics were the story of this game in the Sho tonight! An amazing game put on by the Thunderbirds, who needed this win to end a 2 game losing streak. Swift Current got on the board in the 1st period with a goal from their Captain Vause (16). In the 2nd period the Tbirds get even on the power play by Aschim, his 6th of the season. Swift Current takes back the lead later in the 2nd period by Gordon (12). However, it was Tbirds there on out... Tying the game with about 3 minutes left in the 3rd period was Shea Theodore his 2nd of the season. Followed by another Tbird goal to take the lead by Lund his 8th of the season, giving everyone chills who were in attendance or listening at home. To ice off the Broncos Gallimore had a break away open net goal with 0.4 seconds left on the clock that displays the words "ShoWare Center, 4-2."

Swift current is top in WHL for power play offense, that meant nothing to the Tbirds as they are 3 for 3 in killing off the Broncos man advantage. Shea Theodore was the player of the game (1st star), and a player to watch in the future. This 16 year old can play the game, his ice presence is high for a kid of his age and his puck skills are also above average. But, he needs to work on his zone defense during the PP, but he has been solid. Another solid stat is the Tbirds on PP were 2-2, which won them the game for them. Another good sign is that Swift Current out shot the Tbirds 43-34, but Picks was big again tonight. Which still has me wondering how he did not make the Canadian Junior National Team?

Next Game: Friday (12/2/11) vs the Tri-City Americans (19-6-0-0) at the ShoWare Center.

Fun Fact: Some may argue that the Thunderbirds win vs the Americans, 2 weeks ago, was the best win since the team moved into the ShoWare Center in 2008.

Cougars fire Wulff!

By Kshell

After days of debating and meetings the Washington State Cougars finally decided it was time to end the Paul Wulff era in Pullman. This is a tough day for Cougar fans as Wulff is a former player for them. In fact he was on the 1988 team that defeated the Huskies and won a bowl game.  Wulff took over a tough situation as his previous coach Bill Doba left him with practically nothing and it showed his first two years. At the end of the year Wulff was fired in year four which saw his starting quarterback Jeff Tuel go down. Wulff promised a bowl game this year and fell two games shy as he went 4-8 on the season. For his career at Washington State Wulff went 9-40, 6-40 vs D-1 schools and 4-32 in conference play. The pressure was on to fire Wulff despite the players support and love for their coach. Now the Cougars will be looking at their head coach since Mike Price left them weeks prior to their Rose Bowl game.

When Wulff took over the Cougars program he inherited a mess which reflected in his record. His first two years on the job he went just 3-22(1-17 in conference). The Cougars lost by 30 plus points seven times in 2008, 40 plus points five times and 50 plus points four times and lost by 63 points to California and 69 points to USC. That year was a success to the Cougars despite finishing 2-11(1-8) because they defeated the Huskies. In 2009 the results stayed the same as Wulff struggled through a 1-11 season(0-9) while getting shutout in the conference. During 2009 the Cougars lost by 30 plus points seven times, 40 plus points two times. During his third year the Cougars improved but still only went 2-10(1-8) which put the pressure on Wulff this year. After starting off 3-1 the Cougars finished the year losing seven of their last eight games finishing 4-8(2-6). The Cougars have had some close losses the past two years losing by less than seven points four times in the past two years. Ultimately as a coach your job is to win and Wulff has recruited decently meaning the next coach will inherit a team that should go to a bowl game.

Fair or not Wulff will be linked with such duds as Tyrone Willingham. Willingham in four years at Washington went 11-37(6-29) which was previously seen as the worst era in conference history. Wulff ended up beating that mark going 9-40(4-32). Both took over programs in bad shape and left the program stocked with more talent than they arrived. Both were surly with the media and often didn't share much. The difference is the players cared for Wulff while the players at Washington absolutely hated Willingham. Willingham was also at a better school which has more advantages so his failures have no excuses unlike Wulff. Steve Sarkisian took over Willingham's mess and in three short years has the Huskies going to their second straight bowl game. The Cougars are hoping for the same as they'll gain back a healthy Jeff Tuel plus other nice players. Are the Cougars ready to take the Pac-12 by storm? no they aren't. Are they at least ready to go to a bowl game for the first time since 2003? yes they are. They still aren't an overly talented bunch but there is a enough pieces in the passing game for a pass happy coach(Mike Leach) to succeed in year one. Wulff did the dirty work but ultimately wasn't ever going to be the guy to take them over the top.

In conclusion, as a Husky fan I'm sad that Paul Wulff has been fired. No in reality this is a tough day as he was an alum who played for the Cougars. Cougar fans so wanted him to succeed unlike any other coach because the Cougars was his #1 job he was never going to leave them ever. The problem is the fans and maybe administration let that cloud their judgement that a football coaches job is to win games. Wulff didn't win enough games and he'll most likely never be a head coach on any level again. Wulff coached his alma mater but in the end these four years went as terribly as they possibly could have for Wulff and Cougar nation. The Cougars will now look to embrace their new head coach as their rivals prepare for their next bowl opponent. Maybe next year the Cougars will be preparing for their next bowl opponent although Wulff won't be there to see it unfold.

Huskies win Apple Cup 38-21 for third straight year!

By Kshell

For the third straight season the Washington Huskies(7-5,5-4) defeated their cross state rivals the Washington State Cougars(4-8,2-6) in the 104th meeting of the Apple Cup. The Huskies who are headed towards another bowl game for the second straight season while the Cougars are missing a bowl game for the eighth straight season. The Huskies were led by three touchdown passes by Keith Price who returned from injury. Price also passed Cody Pickett to become the all-time single season touchdown leader in Huskies history. The Huskies also saw two true freshman made their apple cup debuts pretty special especially Kasen Williams who caught two of Price's three touchdown passes. The Huskies under Steve Sarkisian have yet to trail in a single Apple Cup in three years improve to 3-0 in the Sarkisian era in this game.

The Huskies won the coin toss and chose to receive to begin the game. After the Cougars stopped the Huskies on a third and one they took over possession on their own 21 yard like after a Keil Rasp 46 yard punt. That is when the Cougars went backwards first with a false start then with an intentional grounding. After a short pass that went for nothing the Cougars were facing a third and 26 which Marshall Lobbestael completed well short of the first down. Punting from their own 20 yard line the Huskies tried to block the punt. The Huskies backup linebacker Thomas Tutogi blocked the punt which went high into the air as Jesse Callier caught the punt on the two yard line and walked into the endzone to give the Huskies an early 7-0 lead over their rival the Cougars. That was the Huskies first blocked punt since the 2006 Apple Cup when Chris Stevens blocked the punt.

The Huskies offense would stall due to a costly penalty while the defense led by Alameda Ta'amu continued to stop the Cougars. After a poor punt the Huskies took over possession on their own 45 yard line. The Cougars immediately jumped offsides giving the Huskies a first and five at midfield. Lining up in a "wildcat" formation Callier took the direct handoff then ran 30 yards down to the Cougars 20 yard line. After Price threw an incompletion, Chris Polk who had a big game last year rushing for 284 yards would rush for just four yards this time. That would set up a pretty big third and six from the 16 yard line. That is when Price would hit Kasen Williams on the back shoulder as Williams caught the touchdown with both feet down .It was an incredible pass and catch for two guys who will be playing in two more apple cups together. That touchdown pass gave the Huskies a 14-0 lead over the Cougars heading into the second quarter.

The next two series saw two huge swings in momentum. First for the Cougars their offense finally got going but Ricky Galvin fumbled on the Huskies 23 yard line. Then with a chance to put the Cougars away the Huskies went on a nice eight play drive which started off with Price completing his first three passes for 45 yards down to the Cougars 31 then Polk ran for 11 more to the Cougars 20 yard line. That is when the Huskies offense stalled key by a huge third down drop by Austin Seferian-Jenkins which was especially painful after Erik Folk missed a 37 yard field goal as the Huskies still only remained up 14-0.

With the momentum now wearing Crimson the Cougars finally took advantage going on a 13 play, 80 yard drive which saw them convert three separate third downs. Facing a third and eight from their own 22 Lobbestael hit Marques Wilson for a gain of 12 yards. Later in the drive from the Huskies 31 facing a third and nine Lobbestael threw a designed screen to Galvin for a gain of 19 yards to offset the Huskies pass rush down to the 12 yard line. Facing a third and four from the six yard line to avoid the pressure Lobbestael ran it in for the touchdown but the Cougars were called for a holding taking the score off the board. Facing a third and 14 from the 16 Lobbestael fired one in there to Jarred Karstetter for the 16 yard touchdown to pull the game within 14-7.

The Cougars feeding off that momentum then three and outed the Huskies powerful offense getting the ball back. From their own 34 yard line the Cougars actually started to run the ball some. Carl Winston had back to back runs of four yards setting up a third and two which Galvin ran for three yards to their own 45 yard line. After a six yard pass by Lobbestael he then ran for six yards to the Huskies 43 yard line. Lobbestael then would have back to back completions for 27 yards to the Huskies 16 yard line. Lobbestael like he did the previous series would hit Wilson for a 16 yard touchdown to tie up the game at 14-14 with just a little over two minutes left in the half.

The Cougars tried to squib kick it as Tutogi caught the ball and ran it 14 yards to their own 39 yard line. Polk would rush for two yards then Price would hit Jermaine Kearse for a gain of nine yards to the 50 yard line. After a short run by Price he would hit Devin Aguilar for a gain of eight yards to the Cougars 41 yard line. Facing a third and one the Huskies gave it to Polk for a gain of two yards. On the next play Price would hit Williams on a crossing route in which Williams leaped the defender to gain an extra six yards. Williams on the play would go for 18 yards to the Cougars 21 yard line. Price on the ensuing play would scramble out of pressure to his left to find Williams who turned his defender around for the touchdown. With that touchdown pass Price had tied Cody Pickett's single season touchdown record with 28. For Williams that was his first of many multiple touchdown games of his career. More importantly the Huskies took a 21-14 lead heading into halftime against the Cougars while stealing back momentum.

The Cougars began the second half with the ball on their own 14 yard line. The Cougars would go on a nine play drive stalling on the Huskies 43 yard line. Facing a third and one from the Huskies 43 Lobbestael threw an incomplete pass. Cougars head coach Paul Wulff decided to punt the ball to the Huskies pinning them on their own three yard line. The Huskies would move the ball so they could punt and pin the Cougars after Ta'amu recorded his second sack of the game. Taking back over on their own 40 yard line Price went to work. Price in the shotgun would play action pass to a wide open Seferian-Jenkins for a gain of 20 yards to the Cougars 40 yard line. On the next play Price would hit Kearse over the middle for another gain of 18 yards to the Cougars 22 yard line both on play action passes. Polk then went in motion wide left as Price hit him on the fade pass for the 22 yard touchdown pass. For Price that was the record setter as he just passed Pickett for most touchdown passes in a single season for Huskies history. For Polk that was his fourth receiving touchdown of the season all on fade passes. More importantly the Huskies had a 28-14 lead at that point.

The Cougars would immediately respond to the score as Galvin ran back the kick 37 yards to their own 38 yard line. After a run that went for no gain Lobbestael would complete a pass for nine yards then the Huskies committed a 15 yard penalty giving the Cougars the ball on the Huskies 38 yard line. The Cougars put the ball in their best playmakers hands as Lobbestael threw a bubble screen to the right to Wilson as Wilson broke a tackle and scampered for a 38 yard touchdown to pull the Cougars within seven points. Not to be overshadowed by Williams but Wilson also caught his second touchdown pass of the game. The Huskies offense would go three and out as Nick Montana briefly made an appearance. The Huskies defense would then three and out the Cougars. The Huskies offense go on a seven play drive accounting for 40 yards as the drive ended with Folk making a 46 yard field goal to give the Huskies a 31-21 lead with 13 minutes left in the game.

After both teams traded punts with 10 minutes to go in the game is when the Huskies finally pulled away. Facing a second and 10 from their own 47 the Cougars called a double pass which Lobbestael threw the ball to the receiver on a bubble screen who threw the ball back to Lobbestael. The Huskies didn't bite at all as Lobbestael threw the ball to Wilson who was covered well by Desmond Trufant, Trufant then batted the ball to safety Sean Parker who intercepted the pass. Parker ran 23 yards to the Huskies 31 yard line where the offense took over. Price was scrambling found an open Seferian-Jenkins who rumbled 31 yards to the Cougars 38 yard line. That is when Chris Polk would take over the ball game who up until that point was quiet. Polk would rush for nine yards then facing a third and one would rush for two more yards. The Huskies committed a costly penalty making it second and 20 from the Cougars 37 yard line. Polk took the sweep 34 yards down to the Cougars three yard line and was horse collared for a two yard penalty. Two plays later Polk would rush for the touchdown giving him 11 for the season as the Huskies took a commanding 38-21 lead.

The Huskies won this game 38-21 over the Cougars as they head to their second straight bowl game. For the Cougars they were led by senior Lobbestael who was 29-42(69.0%) for 344 yards(8.2 YPA) passing with three touchdowns and one interception. His main receivers were Wilson who had seven receptions for 108 yards with two touchdowns. Karstetter had nine receptions for 82 yards with a touchdown.

For the winners the Huskies were led by Keith Price who was 21-29(72.4%) for 291 yards(10.0 YPA) with three touchdowns and no interceptions. As usual Price spread the ball around as his leading receiver was freshman Kasen Williams who had five receptions for 74 yards with two touchdowns. Another true freshman played well in Austin Seferian-Jenkins who had four receptions for 62 yards. Senior Jermaine Kearse had five receptions for 62 yards. Kevin Smith had two for 39 yards while Polk had two for 36 yards with a touchdown. Speaking of Polk he carried the ball 22 times for 100 yards(4.5 YPC) and a rushing touchdown. Jesse Callier who scored that touchdown on the blocked punt also had four carries for 44 yards(11.0 YPC) while catching a pass. The Huskies defense recorded a season high seven sacks led by Ta'amu and Josh Shirley. The Huskies held the Cougars to just 38 yards rushing on 29 attempts.

All in all, this was a tale of two programs going in opposite direction. For the second straight apple cup Cougar fans don't know if this was Wulff's last game as Cougars head coach. For the Huskies for the second straight apple cup they are playing in another game after this. Chris Polk in three career apple cups never lost to the Cougars while rushing for over 100 yards with a touchdown in each game. The Huskies also showed with Price, Williams and Seferian-Jenkins all who have eligibility for the next two seasons after this year that the Huskies should continue to dominate this rivalry for a while. This was a good win for the Huskies as they needed some momentum heading into their bowl game(most likely the Alamo Bowl) like they did last year. For Sarkisian beating your rivals is a good way to maintain friends at Montlake. For these seniors who as freshman lost to the Cougars to go 0-12 these past three years must have felt great.


- The Huskies sure are a much different team with a healthy Keith Price vs when he isn't healthy or not even playing. The Cougars came into this game with the focus of stopping Chris Polk and while they didn't totally stop him they definately contained him. Which meant this game was up to Price to hit passes which he did. Price was 21-29 for 291 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Price was on fire throughout the game and once Sarkisian let him air it out in the second half the Huskies offense wasn't going to be stopped. Price like he typically does spread the ball around the field completing passes to seven different receivers during this game. Playing in his first career Apple Cup Price appears headed to be another Cougar killer much like Jake Locker, Cody Pickett, Brock Huard and Marques Tuiasosopo was.

For the year Price who heading into the season was the big question mark had a fantastic season. Price completed 67.4%(school record is 65%) of his passes this season for 2,625(8.1 YPA) yards on the season. He threw for 29 touchdowns(new school record) to only 11 interceptions on the year. He has a QB rating of 107.5 for the season and this year had a QB rating over 100 in six of his 11 starts. He only had a QB rating under 80 just twice this season. Price who has had an incredible season proved the future at Montlake is bright as he is just a sophomore.

- For senior Co-Captain Jermaine Kearse this has been a tough season for him. He was Jake Locker's favorite receiver and with Sarkisian bringing in Kasen Williams and Kevin Smith that ate into Kearse's numbers. Factor in the Huskies having a tight end, Polk catches passes plus Aguilar and James Johnson returning to health that made for a trying season for Kearse. Kearse numbers wise had his worst season since he was a freshman. He did bounce back against the Cougars who has always destroyed with five catches for 62 yards including an 18 yard reception in which he stiff armed the defender. For the year Kearse finished with 42 receptions for 501 yards with six receiving touchdowns and he also rushed for a touchdown as well.

-  Speaking of Kasen Williams a star has emerged this past month for the Huskies. The heralded five star recruit from Skyline high school struggled out of the gate for the Huskies. In his first six career games Williams had just 12 receptions for 97 yards with two touchdowns. Not really taking the college football scene by storm like everyone had hoped well Williams has since turned it around. Including his latest effort of five receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns Williams has been the Huskies most consistent receiver of late. In the Huskies past five games Williams has 21 receptions for 311 yards with four touchdowns. For the season Williams finished with 33 receptions for 408 yards and tied the team high with six touchdown receptions. Not to mention he handled punt returns all season long averaging seven yards per return and more importantly didn't have a single fumble all year long. Williams with two seniors graduating looks to be the guy next season. He could turn into another Williams who used to torment the Cougars in the Apple Cup. Williams is a star on the rise that is for sure and look for him to have a breakout season next year.

- The Cougars offensive line features four senior starters. That is scary for the Cougars as the Huskies defensive line just absolutely dominated them. The Huskies recorded a season high 11.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. The Huskies were led by senior co-captain Alameda Ta'amu who was a force all game long much like last year in the Holiday Bowl. Everytime Lobbestael went back to pass he was dropped even if he completed the pass. The Huskies played true freshman Danny Shelton most of the game alongside Ta'amu which really helped Josh Shirley who is also a freshman get in on Lobbestael practically every single play. The Huskies defensive line put the Cougars in several third and long situations where they could bring the blitz. The Cougars offense couldn't overcome the Huskies defensive line which proved to be too dominant for the Cougars.

- For Chris Polk he didn't have a great game like last year but he still had a solid game. Polk ran for 4.5 YPC as he rushed for 100 yards with a touchdown. He also had 36 yards receiving with a receiving touchdown on the game too. Polk has been dynamic all season long in the passing game. The Cougars were set to shutdown Polk and while facing eight man boxes all game long he still found a way to rush for 100 yards. Heading into the fourth quarter he had just 11 carries for 48 yards, in the fourth quarter he had 11 carries for 52 yards with the back breaking touchdown. In his career in the apple cup now Polk has ran for 514 yards(6.8 YPC) with four rushing touchdowns. He has also caught six passes for 70 yards with a touchdown. He has dominated the Cougars and since he is a redshirt junior I'm sure most Cougars are hoping that is the last time they ever have to see him again.

For the season Polk ran for 1,341 yards(5.1 YPC) with 11 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 29 passes for 324 yards with four touchdowns. All three are career highs for Polk as he proved he is a complete running back who can pound you but beat you through the passing game. There is a good chance Polk leaves after this year as he has no reason to come back other than breaking Napoleon Kaufman's career rushing record(he needs 200 in the bowl game to beat him). Polk has been  a terrific Husky and will be on the short list of Husky great running backs.

- Will this be the last time we see Paul Wulff? Wulff is currently having meetings on whether he'll come back or not. Wulff in four seasons with the Cougars is 9-40 as head coach, 6-40 against D-1 teams and 4-32 in conference. He inherited a mess and the team is improving. Still to go 4-8 in your fourth season and that doubling your previous career high shows you need to be let go.

As for Sarkisian he is back over .500 once again as he is 19-18 as head coach for the Huskies. He took over a program that went 0-12 and has led the Huskies to a bowl game in two of his three seasons. The Huskies lost Jake Locker to the top 10 of the NFL draft yet the offense including the quarterback play improved. Nobody has ever questioned Sarkisian's offense but going forward his defense needs to play more like they did in the Apple Cup. Sarkisian has never trailed in three career wins over the Cougars while Wulff has never had a lead against the Huskies in regulation in four career apple cup games.

In conclusion, the Huskies have done something the Cougars have never done which is win three straight apple cup games. The Huskies improved their series lead to 67-31-6 over the Cougars which has been as one sided as a rivalry can possibly be. The Huskies had plenty of guys step up who won't be on next years roster while also having several younger guys contribute as well. Now the goal for the Huskies is to win back to back bowl games for the first time since winning the Rose Bowl back to back years in the 1990 and 1991 seasons. The Huskies haven't won eight games in a season since 2001 so there is still plenty of goals to be abtained in this next bowl game. For the Cougars they completed the worst four year stretch in conference history as Wulff saw his team lose 40 games(average of 10 a season). The Cougars seniors like seniors prior to them will never know what a bowl game feels like. For the Huskies seniors this win has to feel great to be a part of 0-12 then to see the program rebuild the way it has is pretty special. The Huskies sitll have plenty of goals left on their season but at least they are back to beating the Cougars on a regular basis.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

2011 Apple Cup preview!

By Kshell

That time of the year again where the two states biggest universities clash as the Washington State Cougars(4-7,2-6) travel to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies(6-5,4-4) in a battle for states bragging rights the apple cup. Both teams are limping into this contest as the Huskies have lost three games in a row and four of their last five games. While the Cougars have lost seven out of their past eight games and will not be going to a bowl game for the eighth straight season. The Huskies lead the all-time series 66-31-6 and have won the last two meetings. This game will be emotional for the Cougars seniors as this will be their final game they ever get to play in. Due to injury they will be starting Marshall Lobbestael at quarterback who is a senior. For the Huskies they feature plenty of seniors who are departing the program such as Alameda Ta'amu, Jermaine Kearse, Devin Aguilar, Erik Folk and Cort Dennison. The Huskies will also see Keith Price start his first career apple cup game. The last quarterback to start his first career apple cup game and earn the victory was Carl Bonnell back in 2006(last time the Cougars didn't have a losing record). This should appears to feature plenty of offense as both offenses are pretty explosive in the passing game.

The Cougars are heading into this game led by their senior backup quarterback Marshall Lobbestael. For the year Lobbestael has completed 59.9% of his passes for 2,240 yards(7.5 YPA) with 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Lobbestael this year has a 4-4 record in eight starts this season. For all the complaining about him the Cougars have yet to win a game that he hasn't start this season. His favorite receiver is Marquis Wilson who is having a monster season with 75 receptions for 1,280 yards(17.1 YPC) with 10 touchdowns. Their second leading receiver Isiah Barton who will miss this game has 49 receptions for 638 yards with five touchdowns. The Cougars also have Jared Karstetter who has 51 receptions for 618 yards with five touchdowns. The Cougars running game is pretty weak but they do use three different guys. The first guy is Ricky Galvin who has ran for 586 yards(5.5 YPC) with five rushing touchdowns. Next in line is Carl Winston who has ran for 422 yards(3.6 YPC) with four touchdowns. The third back they use is Logwone Mitz who has rushed for 135 yards(3.8 YPC) with a touchdown. Lobbestael will try to revenge the last time he faced the Huskies which ended with the Huskies winning 30-0 in Steve Sarkisian's first year. For the game Lobbestael was 9-22 for 71 yards passing as he was ineffective all game long. He is now a senior in year four of Paul Wulff's system so he'll have a much better day than he did on that day.

The Huskies offense is led by Chris Polk who is most likely playing in his final apple cup. Polk has torched the Cougars in his career. As a redshirt freshman Polk carried the ball 25 times for 130 yards(5.2 YPC) with a touchdown while adding two receptions for 16 yards. That is a really good game which the Huskies would take this Saturday. The thing is the next year Polk dominated the Cougars over in Pullman carrying the ball 29 times for the second highest total in Huskies history with 284 yards(9.8 YPC) with two touchdowns. He also had two receptions for 18 yards as Polk in his career has ran for 414 yards with three touchdowns while having 34 yards receiving in just two games. Polk is enjoying his best season as a Husky as he has ran for 1,241 yards(5.1 YPC) with 10 rushing touchdowns. He has also caught 27 passes for 288 yards with three receiving touchdowns. Polk is licking his chops against the Cougars this Saturday especially with the return of Keith Price so he won't have to face eight man boxes.

The Huskies sophomore quarterback Keith Price returns from injury to start his first career apple cup game. Also important to note that Price is two touchdown passes away from tying Cody Pickett's single season record and three touchdown passes away from breaking it. For the year Price has completed 66.9% of his passes for 2,334(7.9 YPA) with 26 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. The Huskies have several different guys who make plays in the passing game. Starting with Devin Aguilar who has 34 receptions for 508 yards(14.9 YPC) with four touchdowns. Then you have Jermaine Kearse who leads the team in receptions with 37 for 439 yards(11.9 YPC) with six touchdown grabs. Kearse like Polk has had big apple cup moments. Last year he caught the game winning touchdown pass from Jake Locker. As a sophomore  Kearse had four receptions for 94 yards with a touchdown. Then last year had six grabs for 178 yards with two touchdowns including a 66 yarder he busted on a slant then scored the game winner on a fade route. The Huskies will have two other guys playing in their first apple cup's in Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Kasen Williams. Seferian-Jenkins is having a fine freshman season with 32 receptions for 417 yards which ranks third on the team in both then is tied for team lead with six touchdown receptions. For Williams he has 28 receptions for 334 yards with four touchdowns. Williams has been coming on as of late in the last four games Williams has 16 receptions for 237 yards with two touchdowns. The future is bright for those two as they hope to shine in their first career apple cup.

This is an interesting apple cup due to the fact that this could be Washington State Cougars head football coach Paul Wulff's last game as Cougars coach. In four seasons with the Cougars Wulff is currently 9-39(4-31 in conference). For most programs who value winning he would be fired but this is the Cougars who value moral victories. Rumors circling around that Wulff can save his job with a win or even a close defeat to the Huskies. His counterpart Steve Sarkisian is 2-0 in the Apple Cup looking to join Don James and Rick Neuheisel as coaches who began their career 3-0 against the Cougars. In fact dating back to his USC days Sarkisian has won seven games in a row against the Cougars. For Sarkisian he is leading his Huskies to a bowl game in back to back years while Wulff still hasn't won 10 games in four seasons.

In conclusion, this rivalry has been one sided throughout history. Both programs are vastly different the fact that a 9-39 coach is even considered to be brought back is an embarassment. These teams both feature strong offenses and weak defenses. If you're a casual fan and like to see scoring this is the game as you'll see plenty of playmakers like Polk for the Huskies and Wilson for the Cougars have huge mismatches against the other teams defense. This game will also be played at Century Link Field where the Seahawks play which should add a new wrinkle to this rivalry. This should be a fun game as the Huskies hope to build some momentum heading into their bowl game. For the Cougars they are fighting to save their coaches job.

Beavers hand Huskies third straight loss 38-21

By Kshell

The Oregon State Beavers(3-8,3-5) delivered the Washington Huskies(6-5,4-4) a smack of reality check with a 38-21 victory on senior night. The Huskies who started freshman quarterback Nick Montana struggled on offense, defense and special teams. Steve Sarkisian for the third straight year has seen his team drop three games in a row late in the season and now must regroup his team to take on the Washington State Cougars in the apple cup. For the Beavers who were led by freshman quarterback Sean Mannion throwing for 339 yards and a rushing attack which gained 145 yards on the ground this was a good win in an otherwise trying season for Mike Riley. The Huskies now must face reality that their once promising season of 5-1 and then 6-2 is headed towards disaster after losing three in a row. The Huskies will have finished this year 1-4 on the road and will look to win their seventh regular season game for the first time since 2002 this Saturday against the Washington State Cougars.

The Huskies began the game off with a very Don James esque type of drive as Sarkisian tried to ease Montana in his first career start. With the Huskies having the ball first on their own 30 yard line after a run of no gain for Chris Polk that is when Polk started to dominate the Beavers. Polk busted an 18 yard run to their own 48 yard line. Then Montana on a play action boot leg completed a 12 yard pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins to the Beavers 40 yard line. Polk would rush for three yards and to be tackled was face masked for 15 more yards to the Beavers 22 yard line. After two Polk runs of eight yards the Huskies facing a third and two just gave it to Polk in the wild cat for a gain of seven yards down to the Beavers seven yard line. Polk would rush up the middle for a gain of three yards setting up a second and goal from the four yard. Sarkisian once again called a play action boot where Montana found the open Seferian-Jenkins for a four yard touchdown pass to give the Huskies a 7-0 lead. On that drive Polk carried the ball seven times for 39 yards as the Huskies appeared to be headed towards a good game.

The Oregon State Beavers would respond to the Huskies score with a nice drive of their own. Starting from their own 29 yard line facing a second down Terron Ward rushed for 29 yards to the Huskies 42 yard line. Sean Mannion completed a nine yard pass to the Huskies 33 yard which he followed up by hitting James Rodgers for a gain of 25 yards to the Huskies eight yard line. The Beavers started to go backwards first with a rush attempt that went backwards for two yards, then Mannion completed a pass for four yards but could have been picked off had Cort Dennison played the ball instead of the man. Facing a third and goal from the six Mannion hit Rodgers underneath as he ran by two Husky defenders for the touchdown to tie up the score at 7-7. The Huskies moved the ball to the Beavers 44 yard line but facing a third and 13 Montana threw an interception as the Beavers took over.

The Beavers began their drive after a 15 yard penalty on their own 23 yard line. Mannion began the drive by hitting Rodgers for a gain of 15 yards to their own 38 yard line. Markus Wheaton took the fly sweep 56 yards down to the Huskies six yard line. The Huskies defense would get tough and stop the Beavers for no gain on back to back plays. Once again the Huskies couldn't record that key third down stop as Mannion hit Micah Hattfield for a gain of six yards for the touchdown to give the Beavers a 14-7 lead over the Huskies.  The Beavers had made their first two drives look pretty easy against a Huskies defense which has struggled all season long. The Huskies had allowed the Beavers to rush for 83 yards despite not rushing over 70 yards the prior three games while being able to do so in the first quarter. The Huskies with a freshman quarterback making his first career start knew they were in trouble as the defense wasn't going to be stopping anyone anytime soon.

The Huskies now trailing 14-7 started off on their own 20 yard line. After a short run by Polk, Montana completed a 12 yard pass to Polk to their own 33 yard line. Montana would scramble for six yards to the 39 yard line, using the wildcat Jessie Callier would rush for nine yards to their own 48 yard line. After a short run by Polk to the 50 yard line, Montana would hit Seferian-Jenkins for a gain of seven yards to the Beavers 43 yard line setting up a third and one. Polk would rush for three yards to extend the drive out to the Beavers 40 yard line. Callier again in the wildcat would rush for nine yards to the Beavers 31 yard line. Facing second and one, Montana would complete another pass to Seferian-Jenkins for a gain of three yards to the 28 yard line for the first down. Polk would rush for six yards to the 22 yard line then Bishop Sankey would rush for 11 more to the 11 yard line. After an offsides penalty which gave the Huskies the ball on the six yard line first and goal Polk would rush for a yard. Facing a third and goal Montana threw the ball into coverage as Seferian-Jenkins used his big body for his second touchdown of the game to tie up the score at 14-14.

The Huskies offense would end the half going three and out as Montana had a costly intentional grounding. Which allowed the Beavers to have the ball on the Huskies 26 yard line with three minutes left. The Huskies would stop the Beavers holding them to a field goal as the Beavers led at halftime over the Huskies 17-14. The third quarter featured plenty of missed opportunities for both teams as neither team could score. The Beavers were driving for a touchdown but Sean Parker made a great diving interception for the Huskies. Meanwhile Seferian-Jenkins dropped a wide open pass from Montana that nobody was around him then Erik Folk missed a 39 yard field goal that would have tied it up. The game remained 17-14 heading into the fourth.

The Beavers clinging to a 17-14 lead had the ball on their own 21 yard line. Mannion completed an eight yard pass which was fumbled out of bounds. Facing a third and one from their own 30 yard line Mannion completed a three yard pass for the first down. On a crucial third and four from their own 39 yard line completed a 58 yard pass to Obum Gwacham  down to the Huskies three yard line. On the next play Jovan Stevenson ran it in from three yards out giving the Beavers a 24-14 lead. On the Huskies first play from their own 22 yard line Nick Montana fumbled the ball as the Beavers regained possession on the Huskies 15 yard line. After an incomplete pass Stevenson once again ran it in from 15 yards out giving hte Beavers a commanding 31-14 lead over the Huskies. After that is when Sarkisian made the decision to end Montana's day and put in injured quarterback Keith Price as the Huskies were on the verge of getting blown out. The Huskies still had 11 minutes left in the game but were facing a 17 point deficit as the game was in danger of getting away from the Huskies.

From their own 15 yard line Price completed a nine yard pass to Seferian-Jenkins to the 24 yard line. Polk rushed for two yards to pick up the first down. That is when Price hit Kasen Williams for 36 yards to the Beavers 38 yard line. Polk would rush for seven yards setting up a third and three from the Beavers 31 yard line as Price would hit Jermaine Kearse for a gain of 10 yards for the first down. Facing a fourth and nine from the 20 yard line despite being down 17(two touchdowns and a field goal) Sarkisian elected to go for it as Price hit Devin Aguilar for the 20 yard touchdown pass. For Price that was his 26th touchdown pass of the season as the Huskies pulled within 31-21. On the ensuing kickoff the Beavers fumbled the ball as the Huskies recovered on the Beavers 17 yard line. Price would throw the pass to Williams as it appeared was going to be a touchdown. Instead Williams let the ball come to him and the ball was picked off at the one yard line.

The Beavers would put away the Huskies for good as they went on a 12 play 99 yard drive. The key was Mannion going over the top to Wheaton from his own one yard line for 52 yards. Facing a fourth and goal from the one Riley decided to ice the game as Stevenson ran it in for his third rushing touchdown of the game as the Huskies would eventually lose 38-21. The Beavers were led by Mannion who was 26-37 with 339 yards passing with two touchdowns and one interception. Wheaton caught seven passes for 125 yards while also rushing for 66 yards.  Stevenson ran for 41 yards with three touchdowns.

For the Huskies they had a long day as they were dominated by an inferior team. No man struggled more individually thank Nick Montana who was 11-21 for 79 yards(3.8 YPA) with two touchdowns, an interception plus a fumble. Keith Price off the bench was five for nine passing for 76 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Chris Polk ran the ball 25 times for 109 yards(4.4 YPC) but had just 13 carries the final three quarters. Kevin Smith had a nice 24 yard run while Jesse Callier ran three times for 22 yards. Bishop Sankey had two rushes for 12 yards as well. Once again Kasen Williams like he has done in previous weeks led the team in receiving yards with three receptions for 54 yards. Devin Aguilar had three receptions for 42 yards with a touchdown. Austin Seferian-Jenkins had six receptions for 40 yards and two touchdowns but a costly drop. Jermaine Kearse continues his slump with just one reception for 10 yards. Even their reliable kicker Erik Folk had a costly miss. The Huskies simply didn't play very well as this was easily the worst loss in the Sarkisian era.

All in all, the Huskies must regroup fromt his loss. The Huskies have now lost three games in a row for the eighth straight season a streak that has to end hopefully next year. The Huskies are hoping to avoid the four game losing streak something they have done just once in the Sarkisian era(his first year). This was a tough loss indeed and the Huskies will have better days ahead of them.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thunderbirds Streak Over in Loss to Prince George.

By Korz206

The Seattle Thunderbirds (10-11-0-1) lose in shootout to the Prince George Cougars (7-17-0-2) by a score of 3-2. Crowd in the ShoWare Center hit the mark of 4,500+. Only goal of the first period was by Fraser (7) of Prince George, 55 seconds into the game. After that, both teams were scoreless until the second period, when Jacob Doty gets his 1st of the season to knot things up at 1-1. Assisted by Troock, who again had a good game, not on the scoring sheet, but he won his 1 on 1 battles that are crucial. Marcel Nobles gave the Tbirds the lead with his 9th of the season assisted by Theodore. At this time everyone was quite pleased because it was Marcel Noebles bobble head night! Quite fitting for the winning goal, as we thought. But with 38 seconds left, the Cougars, with the 6-5 man advantage tied the game, when Inglish (8) redirected shot into the back of the net. Overtime gave both teams chances to win, neither capitalized. Thunderbirds, being the home team, chose to shoot first in the shootout. However, none of the 3 Tbird shooters could get the goal horn to blare that beautiful noise. And all it took was 1 goal for Prince George to get the win.

These are games the Tbirds need to grind out and win. This loss, ends a 3 game winning streak for the Tbirds and ends a 6 game losing streak for the Cougars. It is tough to lose to such a mediocre team when the Tbirds have been beating quality teams convincingly. Hard to judge where this team is at right now. You want to see them beat the good teams but you need to know they will bury the bottom dwellers, and that was not the case tonight. Another detail I saw was Noebels not getting his teammates involved to the point it was obvious. Maybe trying to make big plays on his bobble head night? Who knows... But we know this for certain, the Thunderbirds need a crucial bounce back win tomorrow night.

Next Game: Saturday night @ the Kamloops Blazers (15-7-1-0) at 7:00.

Fun Fact: The Kamloops Blazers have won more Memorial Cups than any team in the WHL, with 5.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thunderbirds Fly Past Regina

By Korz206

The Seattle Thunderbirds (10-11-0-0) take down the Regina Pats (12-10-1-1) by a score of 5-2, in front of a crowd that tallied up to 3,074. Regina scored the first two goals of the game, coming out physical and fast. Wanting to bounce back from a loss to Portland the night before. However, the Tbirds answered, and the answer er was Troock. Branden Troock brought the Tbirds back into this game single handily. In the first period he split the deficit in half by scoring his 4th of the season assisted by Alos. Then 6:28 into the 2nd period his name was called upon again. With a dazzling pass by Nobles, Troock scored his 5th of the season but more importantly tied the game. That's all Pickard would need. His dominating performance started again in the 2nd period. With a not so strong 1st period, he came out quick and agile when the Tbirds needing him to.

Burke Gallimore gave the Tbirds the lead with his 11th of the season. Burke is white hot right now, the past 3 games he has a total of 6 points. With Colin Jacobs injured, he has really stepped up and carried the team. When some of the Tbird players seem slow, lackadaisical, and undetermined, Gallimore will be the exact opposite. He leads by example and that is doing your job, whatever helps the team get into the win column. The American born Kyle Verdino doubled the lead by scoring his 3rd of the season assisted by Lockhart. To put the nail in the coffin Chance Lund had a special goal. It was amazing to see him perform the way he did. Absolutely dazzling. He, also like Gallimore, have been in the mindset of team first. Lund is not only a scoring threat, but in my opinion the best PP killer Seattle has. This team has the potential to be special, and every night they lace up the skates they are proving it to Thunderbird Faithful.

Next Game: Friday (11/25/11) vs the Prince George Cougars (6-17-0-2) in Kent. Puck drops at 7:35.

Fun Fact: Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and through what the Tbirds fanbase has seen these last few years... Be Thankful for this teams performance so far the season!

Sounders lose James Riley in the Expansion Draft, trades Tyson Wahl

By Money Mike

The Expansion Draft took place today with the Montreal Impact joining Major League Soccer in 2012. The Seattle Sounders yet again lose a key player. As a matter of fact, they lose two key players. The Montreal Impact selected James Riley before trading him immediately to Chivas USA in exchange for Justin Braun and Gerson Mayen. The Impact also acquired left back Tyson Wahl from the Sounders for allocation money, which can be used to buy down player salaries in relation to the salary cap. Former Sounder midfielder Sanna Nyassi was also taken by Montreal in the Expansion Draft. If all the speculation is true, it looks like there is another trade involving the Sounders and the Montreal Impact with Miguel Montano heading to Montreal, but there is no information at this point.

Riley joined the Seattle Sounders in 2009 having been selected by them in the Expansion draft. In his three years here, Riley made a total of 84 league appearances and scored one goal and assisted on nine others. He was voted Defender of the Year for the club and was also voted the clubs Humanitarian of the Year the past two seasons for his contributions in the community. Riley became a fan favorite here in Seattle for all of his hard work not only on the pitch, but in the community as well. With him gone, the Sounders also lose that veteran approach that Riley brought to the team. Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer said that there are going to be some changes defensively, but I didn't see this being one of them nor did the rest of the Sounder nation here in Seattle.

Wahl was another Sounder selected in the Expansion draft prior to the 2009 season. He's received some critisism from fans about his work rate a few times during the 2011 season, but you can't deny the fact that he was the most improved player on this Sounders team during the 2011 season making 23 appearances, scoring one goal and two assists. He got more playing time in 2011 than he did in his first two seasons combined here in Seattle and he got more playing time here in Seattle than he did in his three seasons with the Kansas City Wizards. This guy emerged as a weapon with dangerous crosses on set pieces. Another huge loss defensively for the Sounders.

Thoughts on Riley and Wahl leaving/Who do you go after in the transfer window?

In all honesty, I'm upset about these two guys leaving the Sounders after all the hard work on the pitch. The positive sign is that these two had a combined salary of $150,000 in 2011, so the departure of these two should give the Sounders more money to spend during the offseason.

Now there have been a couple of questions regarding home-grown talent. If you want to look for a replacement at right back, draft DeAndre Yedlin who, of course, is a defender and obviously a big deal with the University of Akron. In case you guys haven't kept track of the Sounders FC Academy, Yedlin is a native of Seattle who spent a couple years in the Sounders youth system. Yes he's only a freshman at Akron, but how often do you see a freshman defender make 22 appearances with one goal and six assists? How often do you see stats like that. I think he should enter the 2012 MLS SuperDraft and I think the Sounders should draft him in the first round. If you want a find somebody at right back, get somebody who has been in you're youth system, who knows about the team, and has prooven himself that he's ready to take his game to the next level.

Now with Wahl gone as well, who do you replace at left back? There was a rumor a week ago about Joachim Thomassen signing with the club. He's listed as a midfielder, but he can also play left back. So with Tyson Wahl now with Montreal, maybe the Sounders should consider picking up Thomassen.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

LA Galaxy win 1-0 to claim their third MLS Cup title

By Money Mike

After choking in the MLS Cup playoffs the last two years, the Los Angeles Galaxy have finally won an MLS Cup title in the Beckham era. The Galaxy defeated the Houston Dynamo 1-0 in what could be David Beckham's final game with the LA Galaxy. 30,281 filled up the Home Depot Center. Most of which were hoping that Beckham would end his LA Galaxy career with an MLS Championship (if this were to be his last game with LA), and a couple weeks ago, I said that if this were to be his final match and the Galaxy didn't win the Cup, this would've been an epic fail following the Cup final defeat here in Seattle against Real Salt Lake in 2009 and a 3-0 beating they got from FC Dallas in the 2010 Western Conference final. But after the final was all said and done, the Galaxy came out on top and lift the Trophy for the third time in their history.

LA nearly opened the scoring in the 12th minute. Adam Cristman, who made 11 appearances and scored only one goal, was found unmarked off a David Beckham corner kick, but he couldn't get his header on target, missing wide of the right post. Cristman was getting the start in place of Chad Barrett after Barrett dislocated his ankle earlier this week during practice.

Cristman had another chance in minute 27. David Beckham sent another dangerous ball into the penalty area. Cristman got up and again headed the ball off the mark before colliding with goalkeeper Tally Hall.

Houston struggled to test LA goalkeeper Josh Saunders, who had been filling in for Donovan Ricketts in the 2nd half of the season since Ricketts suffered a broken hand back on July 2nd against the San Jose Earthquakes. The best chance they had came in the 43rd minute. Calen Carr sent a very good ball out wide to the right for Danny Cruz. Cruz then cut to his left foot and ripped a low drive, but it was right at Saunders. Again, that was just about the best chance the Dynamo had in this match.

A minute later, the Galaxy had another chance to break the tie. Robbie Keane found Mike Magee in the box, but the opportunity came to waste as Magee's left footed shot flew well over the bar.

In the 49th minute, Robbie Keane had a golden opportunity to put LA on top. Keane ran onto a loose ball that caromed off Luiz Camargo's head, but he trickled a shot wide of the far post.

In the 72nd minute, the LA Galaxy finally got their goal. Robbie Keane picked out Landon Donovan with a beautiful through ball in the box. Donovan lifted the ball over Tally Hall and into the far corner. Geoff Cameron tried to clear the ball of the line, but he wasn't fast enough and you knew that there was no way back for the Dynamo with the lack of chances they had in the game. The Galaxy were knocking on the door and with over 18 minutes to go, they get the goal that turned out to be the winner.

For Landon Donovan, that was his 20th career postseason goal and his forth all-time in the MLS Cup as he continues to add to his amazing career. Donovan is the all-time leading goalscorer in LA Galaxy history, he's the all time greatest goalscorer in U.S. national team history and he has now won four MLS Cup titles in his career and there is still more milestones to reach in years to come for the 29-year old.

Scoring summary:

Los Angeles Galaxy - Landon Donovan (Robbie Keane, David Beckham)

Misconduct summary:

Houston Dynamo - Bobby Boswell (caution; Handball)

Los Angeles Galaxy - Adam Cristman (caution; Reckless tackle)

Houston Dynamo - Andre Hainault (caution; Reckless foul)

Los Angeles Galaxy - David Beckham (caution; Tactical foul)

Los Angeles Galaxy - Landon Donovan (caution; Delaying a restart)


Houston Dynamo - Tally Hall; Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Jermaine Taylor; Danny Cruz (Colin Clark 78'), Luiz Camargo, Adam Moffat, Corey Ashe (Je-Vaughn Watson 84'); Brian Ching, Calen Carr (Carlo Costly 66')

Los Angeles Galaxy - Josh Saunders; Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant; Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Juninho, Mike Magee; Adam Cristman (Chris Birchall 57'), Robbie Keane

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thunderbirds Down Rival Portland Winterhawks

By Korz206

The Seaattle Thunderbirds (9-11-0-0) defeat the Portland Winterhawks (14-8-1-1) tonight in front of a nearly sold out crowd at the ShoWare Center. The electrifying crowd witnessed a 6-3 win versus the hated I-5 rival. Scoring opened in the first period with Portland's Wells (4), but just moments later, a break away equalizer by Tbird Chance Lund, his 6th of the season. Beginning the 2nd period, the Thunderbirds had a 5-3 man advantage, capitolizing was Gallimore with his 9th goal. The Thundrbirds were electric the 2nd period, scoring 5 goals in total, from Lockhart (4), Sutter (3), Gallimore (9,10), and Theodore (1).

Thunderbirds make a real statement this weekend by taking two games from the top teams in the U.S. Division. Tbirds secure 4 points and are starting a win streak soon to grow bigger with the confidence rising of the young Tbirds. With Regina coming into town, the Tbirds have a high chance of making up some ground in the standings.

Calvin Pickard had another solid night in goal. Most of the night he was on either sides of his body or laying on the ice. Like I wrote in "Light at the End of the Tunnel", if Picks plays to his potential, the Tbirds are a playoff team. These last two home games have proved this. The Thunderbirds excuses losing to teams because they are "better teams" are over. They have proved they can play with the big boys and need to insert their dominance on the bottom dwellers and mediocre teams in the WHL.

Funny Sight- At the game tonight, as the two teams were leaving the ice, the Thunderbirds Zamboni driver got into a little skirmish with the Winterhawks assistant coaches. We almost had a fight after the game!

Next Game: Thunderbirds take on the Regina Pats (12-8-1-1) on Wednesday (11/23/11) at the Sho Ware Center in Kent.

Fun Fact: With tonight's win over Portland, the Tbirds snap a losing streak dating back to the beginning of last season vs the Winterhawks.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thunderbirds Snap Tri-City's Winning Ways


The Seattle Thunderbirds (8-11-0-0) defeat the Tri-City Americans (15-6-0-0) at the ShoWare Center in Kent tonight, by a score of 3-0. It was a stalemate for the first two periods of the contest but the Thunderbirds jumped out in front just a minute and 32 seconds into the 3rd period with a 5-3 PP goal by Aschim his 5th of the season. The Thunderbirds would not look back from there, 4 minutes later Lund put the puck into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead. Just under 3 minutes to play Tri-City pulls their goalie to no avail as Burke Gallimore puts his 8th goal of the season in between the pipes for the final score of 3-0.

The Tbirds snap a 5 game winning streak for Tri-City and a streak that dated back to last year when the Americans defeated the Tbirds 9 times in a row. The Americans lead the WHL in win % with .750. All in all this was a solid win for the Tbirds after being on the road for 2 weeks in the central division swing going 2-4.

Calvin Pickard was the star of the game, however. Picks has been struggling this year with easy goals finding the back of the net. However, tonight was a different story. He was a brick wall, it seemed like nothing would get past him. When he is hot the Tbirds are a playoff caliber team, however when he is off like the previous games, they are a bottom dweller. Let's hope this is the Picks we see the rest of the way out and if it is... Watch out WHL, the Thunderbirds are coming!

Next Game: The Thunderbirds will face off with the Portland Winterhawks (13-7-1-1) at the Sho tomorrow night (11/19/11) at 7:35. Or it can be streamed online at

Fun Fact: The Winterhawks are one of the most hated rivals of the Tbirds, next to the Silvertips. Look for line fights and major penalty minutes tomorrow night.

Huskies hoping to snap two game losing streak as they take on Beavers

By Kshell

The Washington Huskies(6-4,4-3) travel down to Corvallis to take on the Oregon State Beavers(2-8,2-5) hoping to snap a two game losing streak this year. Last year the Huskies snapped a six game losing streak to the Beavers 35-34 in double overtime as Jake Locker threw five touchdown passes including four to Jermaine Kearse. The Beavers like they did in 1998 decided to go for two and the win came up short. That game proved the difference between the Huskies going to a bowl game and the Beavers not going just like in 1998. Now the Huskies are taking on a struggling Beavers team suffering their worst season in the Mike Riley era as this has been a trying season for the Beavers. Riley has made a quarterback switch this year. Riley is going with the youth movement as the Beavers are starting a freshman quarterback.

The Beavers are led by their freshman quarterback Sean Mannion who has completed 64.3% of his passes for 2,694 yards(6.8 YPA) with 11 touchdowns to 15 interceptions. His favorite target is Markus Wheaton who has 64 receptions for 822 yards but only one touchdown. James Rodgers is healthy this year and has 41 receptions for 470 yards with two touchdowns. The Beavers leading rusher this year is Malcolm Agnew who has rushed for 419 yards(4.7 YPC) with five touchdowns. The Beavers are just a bad team overall though as they rank 119th in rushing yards with just 87.8 a game, 105th in scoring offense at 20.3 points per game and 85th in defense at 30 points per game. They have suffered an embarassing loss to begin the season to D-1AA Sacramento State and their season has gone downhill ever since. The Beavers are also ranked 11th out of 12 teams in the Pac-12 in rushing defense which isn't very good considering Chris Polk is on the Huskies.

The Huskies will be looking to exploit the Beavers weak rushing defense. The Huskies will also see redshirt freshman Nick Montana make his first career start this Saturday. Look for Sarkisian to feature the run against a Beavers defense that ranks 11th out of 12 teams in the conference in rushing yards allowed. The Huskies feature Polk who has ran for 1,132 yards(5.2 YPC) with 10 rushing touchdowns. Last year against the Beavers Polk ran for 94 yards on 25 carries(3.8 YPC) with two receptions for 29 yards. The previous year down in Corvallis Polk ran for 116 yards on 19 carries(6.1 YPC) with two receptions for 11 yards. The one thing Polk hasn't done is rush for a touchdown against the Beavers. Polk will probably share some of the load which will feature the run with Jesse Callier who has ran for 198 yards(5.2 YPC) with a touchdown on the season as well as Bishop Sankey who has rushed for 175 yards(6.7 YPC) with a touchdown. The Huskies will ease their young quarterback in his first start by pounding the ball most would think.

The man of the week as the son of Joe Montana Nick Montana will be making his first career start. Montana has appeared in four games off the bench in either mop up duty or in the case of the Oregon game to fill in for injury. Montana on the season is 13-20(65.0%) for 147 yards(7.4 YPA) with a touchdown and an interception. With a full week to prepare I imagine Montana should be fine. Jermaine Kearse who has slumped recently has 36 receptions for 429 yards with six touchdowns. Last year against the Beavers Kearse caught four touchdown passes including the game tying touchdown then the game winning touchdown. Devin Aguilar has 31 receptions for 466 yards with three touchdowns. Then lately the emerging Kasen Williams who has 25 receptions for 280 yards with four touchdowns. Williams and Montana appear to have a good chemistry. Look for tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins to factor into this game as he has 26 receptions for 377 yards with four touchdowns on the year.

In conclusion, the Huskies are playing an opponent that has been blown out three straight games and is already looking forward to next season. The Huskies should take care of business as they are looking to win their seventh regular season game for the first time since 2002. The Huskies are looking for their first win down in Corvallis since 2003. The Huskies although starting a new quarterback have plenty of weapons and should be just fine against the Beavers. Sarkisian needs to remember to feed the ball to Polk and the Huskies will win this game pretty easily. The Huskies have a chance to close out the season strong it's just a matter of will they?

Trojans embarrass Huskies 40-17 in Sarkisian's return to old stomping grounds

By Kshell

The USC Trojans(8-2,5-2) made sure there was no last second game winning field goals by Erik Folk as the Trojans destroyed the Washington Huskies(6-4,4-3) 40-17. Steve Sarkisian who had previously been 2-0 against the team he coached for many years had one of his worst losses as a head coach with all things considered. The Trojans dominated this game as they rushed for 252 yards while the Huskies offense which features Chris Polk was held to just 42 yards rushing as a team. For the third straight week Keith Price has struggled and was injured during the game which leaves him out for the following week. This was yet another bad blowout loss for Sarkisian's Huskies who have been outscored 74-34 the last two weeks after starting off the season 6-2.

The Huskies began the game with two three and outs while the Trojans on the second possession took advantage. Starting from their own 20 yard line on second down Matt Barkley hit Brice Butler for an incredible diving 36 yard catch on the Huskies 34 yard line as the Huskies had a penalty the prior play. After a Barkley eight yard pass that set up third and one from the 25 yard line. That is when running back Marc Tyler busted a 24 yard run down to the Huskeis one yard line. Barkley then finished off the drive with a one yard touchdown keeper to give the Trojans a 7-0 lead. The Huskies offense once again went three and out. After stopping the Trojans the Huskies offense finally had a drive going. Price hit Austin Seferian-Jenkins for gains of 22 yards, 11 yards and then 12 yards. The Huskies offense stalled as Folk ended the drive with a 46 yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3. On the following series is when the Trojans would change momentum back to their side.

The Trojans once again began on their own 20 yard line but Barkley completed back to back passes to their own 38. After a loss of nine yards the Trojans were facing a 3rd and 19. The Huskies were called for a suspect pass interference call which was on an uncatchable pass. The Trojans were facing a second and 20 saw Barkley complete an 11 yard pass to set up third and nine. The Huskies defense recorded the stop which appeared the Trojans on their own 45 yard line would punt. Instead Lane Kiffin called a fake punt which saw punter Kyle Negrete rush up the middle for a 35 yard run which 33 yards he went untouched. Kiffin found a weakness in Sarkisian's special teams and took advantage. Curtis McNeal then ran for 15 yards on the next two carries plus a Huskies penalty gave the Trojans the ball on the two yard line. After the Huskies had back to back stops on McNeal the Trojans turned to Tyler who ran it in from one yard out to give the Trojans a 14-3 lead over the Huskies.

The game changed after the fake punt as the Huskies self destructed. After a short kickoff return and a penalty the Huskies found themselves starting on their own eight yard line. After a short run by Polk it had appeared that Keith Price hit Seferian-Jenkins over the middle for a gain of 25 yards. Despite the call on the field being a catch and there was no conclusive evidence the catch was overturned. Facing a third and nine from the 10 Price was sacked in the endzone for a safety giving the Trojans a 16-3 lead while also gaining possession. Starting from their own 49 yard line the Trojans went to work as McNeal busted a 19 yard run then a five yard run to the Huskies 27 yard line. On third and three Tyler ran for four yards to the 21 yard line. McNeal then ran for 12 more yards to the Huskies nine yard line. That is when Barkley finished the drive with a nine yard touchdown pass to Marqise Lee to give the Trojans a commanding 23-3 lead at halftime over the Huskies.

The second half began with the Trojans receiving the ball first. As if there was any doubt in the game Lee made sure there wasn't as he took the kickoff 88 yards to the House to give the Trojans a 30-3 lead over the Huskies. The Huskies offense would actually respond to that as Kevin Smith ran back to the kick 40 yards to their own 43 yard line. Bishop Sankey began the drive with a gain of three yards. Then Price hit Smith on a crossing route which Smith using his speed busted 53 yards as he was tackled at the one yard line. That is when the Huskies rewarded Polk for the one yard touchdown run. That was Polk's 10th rushing touchdown of the season which was a career high for Polk who bested his mark of last season of nine rushing touchdowns.

With the score cutdown to 30-10 the Trojans made sure this game was still going to be a blowout. Starting from their own 20 yard line after a one yard run by McNeal is when the game went back to being ugly. McNeal busted it 79 yards untouched for the touchdown to give the Trojans back their commanding lead of 37-10. The Huskies offense would go three and out the next three drives while two drives later the Trojans went on a 15 play, 61 yard drive which took up over seven and a half minutes resulting in a field goal to go up 40-10 over the Huskies. This game turned ugly when many including myself expected a good close game. The Huskies as if things couldn't get any worse lost starting quarterback Keith Price during the game due to injury while the Trojans made damn well sure this game wasn't going to be a repeat of the last two years. The Trojans took care of business over the Huskies with big plays and I'm sure Nick Holt was re-thinking his statement on whether he would rather face them than Oregon. The Trojans put the hurting on the Huskies and the only left in this game was to see how Nick Montana the son of Joe Montana would handle the quarterback position in mop up duty.

The last drive of the game meant nothing far as the game goes but meant everything towards this week. The Huskies began on their own 31 yard line. Sankey had a rush of four yards then Montana hit Michael Hartvigson for a gain of 10 yards. Sankey followed that up with a 17 yard run to the Trojans 38 yard line. Montana then hit Jermaine Kearse for a gain of six yards setting up a third and four. Montana hit Hartvigson again for a gain of six yards to pick up the first down. Montana completed a pass to Sankey for a gain of six yards to the 20 yard line. Facing a fourth and four Montana threw the ball up for grabs as he saw Kasen Williams had one on one coverage and for the second straight week Williams came down with the pass and the touchdown. For the third straight week Williams has been more productive than either senior wide receiver. The Huskies would go on to lose this game 40-17 as they lost their quarterback.

The Trojans blew out the Huskies 40-17 led by their rushing attack. Curtis McNeal had 148 yards rushing on 18 carries(8.2 YPC) including a touchdown. Marc Tyler had 50 yards on seven carries(7.1 YPC) with a touchdown as well. Matt Barkley played a solid game when the game was still in doubt. Barkley was 18-28(64.3%) for 174 yards(6.2 YPA) with a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown. Marqise Lee had nine receptions for 74 yards with a touchdown while also having an 88 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

For the Huskies they have had better days no doubt. Keith Price finished 12-16(75.0%) for 125 yards(7.8 YPA) while being sacked four times. His backup Nick Montana had mixed results as Montana was 9-15(60.0%) for 73 yards(4.9 YPA) with his first career touchdown pass. The rushing game was nowhere to be seen as Chris Polk was held to season lows in carries with nine and yards with 36(4.0 YPC) while rushing for a touchdown. Bishop Sankey ran for 22 yards on four carries(5.5 YPC) and Kevin Smith ran once for six yards. The receiving game was featured by the youngsters led by Smith who had one catch for 53 yards. Then Seferian-Jenkins broke out of his slump with four receptions for 48 yards. Kasen Williams added five receptions for 44 yards with a touchdown. Sankey also had four receptions on the game as well. This was a horrible loss for the Huskies program hoping their days of returning to glory would start now.

All in all, these type of losses need to end for Sarkisian like ASAP. The Huskies have had a horrible habit of getting blown out quite a bit despite being a decent team. I'm aware there are growing pains but these type of losses need to stop. The high powered offense has looked beyond average the last two weeks which might have some to do with their opponent. Despite the sanctions the Trojans are a good team which features two top three picks in the NFL draft next year plus many other NFL players. The Huskies for the second straight week found out they are a long ways away from competing for Rose Bowls.


- When the team is winning the quarterback receives too much credit. Likewise when the team is losing the quarterback receives too much blame. Take this game for an example Price didn't turn the ball over, completed 75% of his passes and his yards per attempt was close to eight. Yet all over facebook and twitter fans were bashing on Price.

Price has had a bad habit the last two weeks of constantly checking the ball down which is the smart play. By checking the ball down all the time though the Huskies are scoring points which ultimately as the quarterback is your job. For the year though Price is having a great season as he is completing 67.2% of his passes for 2,258 yards(7.9 YPA) with 25 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He has been sacked 25 times including 10 in the last two games alone. Due to all those sacks Price will have to miss this next game and hopefully he'll be able to return for the apple cup.

- Chris Polk had just nine carries for 36 yards with a touchdown while catching just one pass for zero yards. Why Sarkisian neglected to use his best weapon on the road has been the mystery. Polk is a speed back who has proven to get better as the game goes on. With Price getting hit on practically every play why not pound Polk more to ease the pressure off of Price?

Polk for the year is still having one of the great seasons for a Huskies running back and judging by the poor rush defenses he faces the next two weeks he should be adding quite a bit to his totals. For the year Polk has ran for 1,132 yards(5.2 YPC) with 10 touchdowns. He has also caught 25 passes for 280 yards with three touchdowns.  Sarkisian needs to feature his best weapon or the Huskies are going to have a disappointing end to a once promising season.

- The play of Kasen Williams lately has been nice to see. Williams the last three weeks has stepped his game up and appears to have figured out the playbook. That also could be due to Montana playing more as well as those two seemed to have good chemistry. Williams the last three weeks has caught 13 passes for 183 yards with two touchdowns. For the season Williams now has 25 receptions for 280 yards with four touchdowns. So as you can see he has improved quite a bit as the season has worn on.

The other true freshman on the team are doing pretty well too. I'll start with Austin Seferian-Jenkins who broke out of his slump with four receptions fo 48 yards. On the year Seferian-Jenkins has 26 receptions for 383 yards with four touchdowns. The other true freshman who is having a nice year on offense is Bishop Sankey who appears to have passed up Jesse Callier as the number two back and always seems to bust one long run a game. For the year Sankey has ran for 175 yards(6.7 YPC) with a touchdown. The last five weeks Sankey has ran for 154 yards(7.7 YPC) with a touchdown. Sankey for the year has also caught five passes.

-  Nick Montana as everyone probably knows is the son of four-time super bowl winning quarterback Joe Montana. Montana[Nick] will be starting this next saturday against the Oregon State Beavers. Montana showed to be a bit rusty in his debut turning the ball over twice in his first two games. Now Montana appears comfortable as he came in the Oregon game with a beautiful 53 yard pass to Williams then this week threw a nice 20 yard touchdown pass to Williams.

For the year Montana is 13-20(65.0%) for 147 yards(7.4 YPA) with a touchdown and an interception. Montana has shown the last two weeks where he went 10-16 for 126 yards with a touchdown that he is more than capable of filling in for the injured Keith Price. Montana is only a redshirt freshman and while fans expect him to be like his dad that is completely unfair. Let's allow Montana to play his whole career before passing judgement.

- Last year Sarkisian after beating USC called it the greatest day of his life besides when his kids were born. What a contrast a year makes as the Huskies were embarassed once again against a ranked opponent. For the year against ranked opponents the Huskies are 0-4 having been outscored 190-93 which is an average score of 47.5-23.2 which is completely unaccetapable.

Sarkisian needs to avoid these blowouts if he really is going to be the guy for this program for decades to come. Any coach can coach this team for the short term which Willingham proved. It takes a great coach to last for a decade plus with one school. I believe Sarkisian is more than capable of being that guy but he needs to stop letting his team get blown out so often.

In conclusion, this is your classic game where you throw the game tape away as the Huskies simply gave up once again. The offense looks to be struggling while the defense continues to be overmatched in year three of this coaching staff's regime. Unless things change Sarkisian will be faced with some tough decisions on his coaching staff but I'll get into that later in the year. Sarkisian still can salvage the season as the Huskies will be heavy favorites the next two games. Since Don James retired at the end of the 1992 season the Huskies have won only won eight games in the regular season just twice and eight games three times overall. The Huskies can still do that with wins the next two weeks which any fan including myself would take. The Huskies failed the big test once again so to make up for it they have to ace the quizzes the next two weeks.