Oct 18, 2001
By JOHN K. WILEY
Associated Press Writer
PULLMAN, Wash. - John Tippins scored four touchdowns - two rushing and two receiving - as No. 19 Washington State shook off a slow start to beat Montana State 53-28 Thursday night to improve to 7-0.
Tippins, making his first start in place of injured backs Dave Minnich and Allen Thompson, scored on runs of 1 and 14 yards and caught scoring passes of 41 and 21 yards from Jason Gesser. Tippins had 24 carries for 100 yards and caught five passes for 94 yards.
Gesser threw three touchdown passes and rushed for another score, completing 22 of 35 passes for 374 yards and an interception before yielding to Matt Kegel in the fourth quarter.
Washington State didn't pass the Division I-AA Bobcats (4-3) in total offense until late in the second quarter.
The Cougars stepped up the pressure on Montana State's Tyler Thomas, who was intercepted once and fumbled to set up a Cougars touchdown. Thomas was 22-of-40 for 252 yards and two TDs.
The Bobcats scored first, late in the first quarter, when Tippins fumbled at the Montana State 29 and Adam Cordeiro scooped it up on the Montana State 45, then lateraled to David Smith, who ran it in the final 37 yards.
Washington State answered midway through the second quarter when Gesser hit Mike Bush on a 31-yard scoring play. Bush later caught a 2-yard scoring pass from Kegel.
Tippins second score, 36 seconds before halftime, concluded an 88-yard drive in which he rushed for 23 yards before catching a screen pass from Gesser at the Montana State 41 and scooting down the left side to the end zone.
His earlier score came on a 1-yard plunge.
Jimmy Wilson also had a 1-yard scoring run for Washington State.
Thomas hit Toby Winters on a 3-yard scoring pass for the Bobcats' first offensive score, making it 26-14 with 10:24 remaining in the third quarter. Thomas later connected with Scott Turnquist on a 47-yard scoring play.
The Bobcats' Ryan Johnson carried 19 times for 116 yards, including a 57-yard sprint that set up Winters' score.
Bryan Molen concluded scoring for Montana State with a 93-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter.
The Cougars have scored 30 or more points in seven consecutive games for the first time in school history.
The game was a replacement for Sept. 15 games - Montana State at Oregon State and Colorado at Washington State - that were canceled following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The Cougars were Montana State's first-ever Top 25 opponent.
The remainder of Washington State's games will be considerably more difficult, with home games against Oregon and UCLA and road games at Arizona State and Washington. Those teams are a combined 18-3.