Jonathan Smith said he made many “good memories, no question,” during his career at Oregon State, where he started at quarterback from 1998-2001 and set a then-Husky Stadium opponent passing record as a freshman.
But when the Huskies play host to the Beavers on Saturday (7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network), Smith, in his first season as UW’s offensive coordinator, will only have time for a quick rekindling of those old times with OSU coach Mike Riley before getting down to business.
“It’ll be good to see him pregame to say a quick hello,” Smith said Wednesday. “But those were good years in the past, and now on to the next task because we’ve got a lot of things to play for, and the big focus this week is finding a way to win.”
As a freshman at OSU in 1998, Smith threw for 469 yards in a 35-34 loss at Husky Stadium. At the time, that was the most yards a quarterback had ever thrown for against the Huskies, and it stood as the Husky Stadium opponent passing record until Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama threw for 510 in 2007. Three of the nine longest passes ever completed against the Huskies were thrown by Smith – two in 1998 (90 and 80 yards, both touchdowns), and one in 2000 (an 80-yard touchdown to Chad Johnson).
Before OSU’s matchup with Boise State in last year’s Hawaii Bowl — Smith was still the Broncos’ offensive coordinator before leaving to join Chris Petersen’s staff at Washington — Riley told The Oregonian that Smith’s performance at Husky Stadium in 1998 led to “the resurgence of Oregon State football.”
Smith, who came to OSU as a walk-on, went on to set several OSU passing and total offense records, and led the Beavers to an 11-1 record and a Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame in 2001. But he hopes Saturday features more lopsided numbers for the Huskies than for the Beavers.
“They’ve been doing the same stuff for a long time and doing it really well, so they cause some problems that way,” Smith said of OSU’s defense, which helped the Beavers to a 35-27 upset victory over Arizona State last week. “I think they’re in-your-face in the secondary, so they’re going to challenge you there. So we’ve got to be good and physical, accurate and on-time with the ball. So it’ll be a good test.”
Kikaha, Thompson honored
Hau’oli Kikaha, the Huskies’ career and single-season leader in sacks, is one of four finalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award, which seeks annually to recognize the best lineman or linebacker in college football.
Kikaha is tied for the national lead in sacks with 16.5, and leads the country with 22.5 tackles for loss. As a finalist, he will travel to Houston for the award ceremony on Dec. 10 at the Bayou Music Center.
He was also named one of five finalists for the Polynesian Player of the Year award, presented annually by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame.
Unsurprisingly, Shaq Thompson, the Huskies’ two-way star, was named one of five finalists for the Hornung Award, which seeks to honor the nation’s most versatile player.
Thompson has 61 tackles, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and four defensive touchdowns as a linebacker this season, and has also rushed for 456 yards and two touchdowns as a running back.
A junior from Sacramento, California, Thompson was also named one of 15 “players to watch” for the Walter Camp Player of the Year award.
Report: Pease interested in Montana
According to a report by The Missoulian newspaper in Missoula, Montana, Huskies receivers coach Brent Pease has “expressed interest” in becoming the next coach of the Montana Grizzlies.
Pease has strong Montana ties. He played quarterback there from 1983-86, then served as an assistant coach — including three years as offensive coordinator — from 1991-98.
Montana is in the market for a new coach after Mick Delaney announced that he will retire at the end of this season.