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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
WSU Football, 1-0, Prepares for Boise State, 0-1, at Boise
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 09/04/2001
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Sept. 4, 2001

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WHO: WSU Cougars (1-0 overall, 0-0 in Pac-10) vs. Boise State Broncos (0-1, 0-0 in Western Athletic)
WHAT: Non-Conference Cougar Football
WHEN: Saturday, September 8, Kickoff 6:00 p.m. MDT (5:00 p.m. PT)
WHERE: Bronco Stadium (30,000, Blue Astro Turf), Boise, Idaho
TV: No Live TV, Fox Sports Northwest will air a one-hour highlight special Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

THE COACHES: WSU - Mike Price (Puget Sound '69) has a 64-73-0 (.467) record at WSU in 13 years and a career mark of 110-117-0 (.485) in 22 seasons at Weber State (1981-88, 46-44-0) and WSU (1989-present). BOISE STATE - The Boise State Broncos are coached by Dan Hawkins (Cal Davis '84), who is in his first season at Boise State...he has a 40-12-1 career record in six seasons.

WSU VS. BOISE STATE: The Cougars have won all three games against Boise State, including a 42-35 shootout last season in Pullman...the series started with a 58-0 WSU win in Pullman in 1997...the next year at Boise State WSU pulled out a 33-21.

COUG DEFENSE HOLDS IDAHO TO 146 YARDS: In its best defensive performance since 1997, WSU held the Idaho Vandals to just 146 yards, including 74 rushing yards and 72 passing yards...WSU's rushing defense against the Vandals was its best since allowing 58 yards by California in 1999 and the 72 yards passing was the best since the 1997 Boise State game when the Broncos threw for just 69 yards...four years ago WSU held Boise State to total 115 yards (46 rushing)...WSU's defensive performances against Idaho this year and Boise State in 1997 are the two best outings for a Cougar defense since the 1994 season.

WSU OFFENSE ROLLS IN OPENER: The WSU Cougars ran and passed for 544 yards in last week's 36-7 win over Idaho...it was WSU's best offensive performance since 1998 when the Cougs had 551 yards against Stanford...against Idaho WSU threw for 303 yards (the best since 378 yards last year at Arizona) and rushed for 241 yards (the best since 249 yards in 1997 against Louisiana-Lafayette)

2001 CAPTAINS: WSU - QB Jason Gesser (17), RB Jeremy Thielbahr (33), RB Dave Minnich (34), SS Billy Newman (10). BOISE STATE: OT Matt Hill (77), ROV Quintin Mikell (9) and SLB Greg Sasser (43).

COUGS BOAST STARTING EXPERIENCE: WSU returns 17 starters from last year and now boasts 34 players have made 269 starts during their careers, including games this year.

COUGS PLAY CLOSE GAMES: One of the goals this year for the Washington State football team is to turn the close losses of last season into wins in 2001...in WSU's first outing this year the Cougars did just that, avenging a 38-34 loss in 2000 with a 36-7 victory in the 2001 opener...last year the outcome of seven of WSU's 11 games were determined by seven points or less, with the Cougars going 3-4 in those seven games, including three overtime losses...the other close setbacks were 53-47 triple-OT loss to Arizona, a 23-20 single-OT loss to Arizona State and a 27-24 single-OT loss to Oregon...WSU pulled out wins over California 21-17, Boise State 42-35 and USC 33-27.

WSU HONOR CANDIDATES: Dave Minnich and Lamont Thompson are listed as candidates for the Doak Walker and Jim Thorpe Awards, respectively...Thompson is one of 28 candidates for the Thorpe Award, given annually to the top defensive back...Minnich is one of 43 running backs listed for the Walker Award.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SAYS WSU #3: Sports Illustrated's college football preview issue ranks WSU's schedule as the third toughest in the nation...USC, according to SI, plays the toughest schedule, followed by Penn State, then WSU...next are Alabama, UCLA and Notre Dame.

THREE FROSH PLAY IN OPENER: Three WSU freshmen played in WSU's opener against Idaho and two others may still see action this year...linebacker Will Derting (Okanogan, Wash.), receiver Trandon Harvey (San Diego, Calif.) and running back Jimmy Wilson (Phoenix, Ariz.) played against the Vandals, while running back Allen Thompson (National City, Calif.), and defensive back Jeremy Bohannon (Richland, Wash.) are on Mike Price's list to play this season.

NEWCOMERS BOOST RECEIVING CORPS: Several new WSU receivers who arrived on campus this fall played in the opener against Idaho, a pair of junior college transfers and one freshman...rookie Trandon Harvey (San Diego, Calif.) caught three passes against Idaho, while transfers Jerome Riley (Los Angeles Valley College) and Tyjaun Mayfield (San Bernadino Valley College) also saw action, but did not have a reception in the opener.

MIKE BUSH SHOWS FOOTBALL SKILLS: Junior Mike Bush, WSU's top basketball player who averaged 15.9 points and 5.2 rebounds last winter, is fast making a name for himself on the football field...Bush joined the Cougar receiver corps last spring and has already started his first game...against Idaho Bush made four receptions for 97 yards...the last significant football-basketball player for the Cougars was Kitrick Taylor, who started with the football team (1982-83-85-86) and then joined the basketball team (1985-87)...Paul Mencke also played both sports in 2000-01, although he never started a basketball game.

McELRATH SHINES: Senior Nakoa McElrath is being counted on to pick up where a pair of his teammates left off last year...overshadowed by the play of seniors Milton Wynn (52 receptions) Marcus Williams (33 catches) last year, McElrath quickly became WSU's go-to guy in the Idaho opener, hauling in 10 passes for 141 yards and two scores...the senior from Palomar College and Scripps Ranch High is the eleventh Cougar to catch 10 or more passes in a game, leaving him just two short of the WSU record of 12 set by Doug Flansburg in 1966...last year his best game, after transferring to WSU, was five receptions for 106 yards and three TDs at Arizona in a triple overtime loss.

COUGS FORCE 12 PUNTS: WSU's defense dominated the Vandals to the point of forcing 12 punts (34.8 average), the most by a Cougar opponent since Boise State had 13 punts in 1997...at the end of three quarters last week WSU led Idaho in total offense 511-91 yards.

RED ZONE: WSU scored seven times in eight trips inside the Idaho 20 last week, scoring 36 points with four touchdowns and three field goals.

NEWMAN COLLECTS 250 TACKLES: Billy Newman, WSU's senior safety has 252 career tackles to rank 15th on WSU's single season list...Newman is only 30 tackles away from Don Hover, tenth on the list with his 280 tackles, 1973-77...Newman made 45 tackles as a freshman, led WSU in 1999 with 105, then tacked on 100 more last year to again lead the Cougars...he also has five career interceptions...if he records 100 tackles this season he will finish with 350 career tackles and rank fourth...the school record holder is Lee Blakeney with 524...Newman could have more tackles than any non-linebacker in WSU history.

BREAKING DOWN TOP 22-44: Against Idaho the Cougars' starting lineup of 22 players includes 0 freshmen, 5 sophomores, 7 juniors and 10 seniors, while the top 44 (two-deep) consisted of 5 freshmen, 13 sophomores, 14 juniors and 12 seniors...in the two-deep, WSU lists 18 freshmen and sophomores and 26 juniors and seniors.

WSU'S EXPERIENCED SECONDARY: WSU's starting secondary for the BSU has a collective 67 starts and 24 interceptions - seniors Lamont Thompson (23 starts, 14 interceptions) and Billy Newman (24, 5), junior Marcus Trufant (19, 5) and sophomore Jason David (1, 0).

MINNICH TOPS 100 YARDS FOR A FOURTH TIME: Senior Dave Minnich topped the 100-yard rushing total four times last season, then tacked on his fifth game with 127 yards against Idaho last week...last year he had a season-high 118 yards at Utah, 101 yards at Arizona, 108 yards against Oregon and 113 against Washington...Minnich transferred from Mt. San Jacinto College last August to shore up WSU's thin running back stable and now is the starter with five starts under his belt.

SCORING STREAKS: WSU currently has three significant scoring streaks on the line:

  • The Cougars have scored in 197 consecutive Pacific-10 games, the longest active streak for any league team...the last time WSU was shut out in Pac-10 play was at Oregon State in 1975,

  • WSU has scored in 190 consecutive games since a 44-0 shutout at Ohio State in 1984,

  • The Cougars have scored in 163 consecutive home games since a 21-0 loss to Oregon State in Pullman in 1956.
  • TURNOVERS: Despite a convincing win over Idaho in the 2001 opener last week, the Cougars were -1 in turnovers, losing one of two fumbles...Idaho did not have a turnover.

    ROAD WINS: In Mike Price's 12-year WSU career, the Cougar road record of 3-2 in 2000 marked the first time the Cougs had a winning record on the road and did not go to a bowl game...WSU was 4-2 on the road in 1992 and played in the Copper Bowl...in 1994 WSU was 5-2 on the road and played in the Alamo Bowl...and in 1997, the year of the Cougs' Pac-10 title, the team was 4-2 on the road.

    WSU AFTER OPENING WITH IDAHO: The Washington State Cougars are 4-6 in the season's second game after opening with Idaho, including a win over BYU the last time the Vandal's were WSU's opener...WSU opened with the Vandals six times between 1894 and 1912, then did not meet Idaho in an opener again until 1945...since 1945 WSU has met Idaho four times to open the season...the Cougars went on to win the second game twice (OSU in 1945, BYU in 1989) and lost twice, at UCLA in 1968 and against Colorado in Spokane in 1`982.

    PRICE FIRST IN WINS AND YEARS IN PAC-10: WSU coach Mike Price is now first among current Pacific-10 coaches with 109 wins... Arizona's Dick Tomey had been the Pac-10 leader with 158, followed by ASU's Bruce Snyder with 126, then Price, but both Tomey and Snyder have since left their respective schools...Price, having completed 12 seasons at WSU, is also the Pac-10 leader in consecutive years at the same school. MIKE PRICE AMONG WSU'S BEST: Only two Washington State football coaches with tenure of five years or longer at WSU put together a better record than Mike Price...Price, in his 12 seasons at WSU, is 63-73-0 (.463), while his career mark is now 109-117-0...Babe Hollingbery was 93-53-14 (.625) during his 1926-42 (17 years) tenure and Jim Sutherland was 37-39-4 (.488) during his eight years, 1956-63...Price's 63 wins at WSU ranks second to Hollingbery's 93...Jim Walden is third with 44 victories. WSU SECOND IN PAC-10 DEFENSE: Since 1992 WSU has been in the top half of the conference in defense all but twice (1992, 2000)...the Cougs won the defensive title in 1994, allowing 229 yards a game, the best average in the league since 1982 and the second best since 1971...in 1993 and 1997 WSU's defense was ranked second in the Pac-10.

    NOTHING LIKE HOME: The Washington State Cougars perform much better at home than on the road during Mike Price's 12 year tenure...at home the Cougars are 35-30 (53.8%) and on the road the team is 29-43 (40.3%)...WSU's 6-0 home record in 1997 is the best ever for the Cougars.

    WSU'S OVERTIME EXPERIENCE: The Cougars are 1-4 in overtime games...WSU played three overtime games last year and lost all three, including back-to-back OT losses at Arizona (3 OT) and at home against ASU (1 OT), plus a 1-OT loss to Oregon...in 1996, Washington beat WSU 31-24 in overtime in Pullman...WSU's other OT game was a 35-34 win over Arizona in 1997 in Pullman.

    GESSER LOOKS FOR FIRST FULL SEASON: Junior quarterback Jason Gesser is hoping 2001 will be his breakout season when it comes to injuries...In 1999 Gesser was poised to take over the starting duties when a thumb injury against Arizona shelved him for the season...last year he suffered the broken leg against Oregon in the ninth game of the season and had to sit out the final two games.

    GESSER'S 348 A CAREER HIGH: Jason Gesser threw for a career high 348 passing yards last year against Arizona and then came back the next week with 321 yards against ASU, giving him 669 yards against the schools from Arizona.

    GESSER STREAK HALTED AT 130 PASSES: Jason Gesser threw 130 straight passes without an interception over five games early in 2000 before Michael Jolivette of Arizona picked off one in the fourth quarter at Tucson.

    GESSER PUSHES CAREER TOTALS: With 246 yards passing and 38 yards rushing, Jason Gesser has pushed his career totals to 2,658 yards passing, 219 yards rushing and 2,877 yards of total offense...the junior quarterback is now 514 yards short of Bob Newman (1956-58), who is tenth on the Cougar career passing list at 3,172 yards...he is also 642 yards short of Rueben Mayes (1982-85), who is tenth on the career total offense list with 3,519 yards.

    GESSER THROWS FOR TD RECORD: Jason Gesser threw six touchdown passes at Arizona last season, the most ever by a Cougar quarterback...his record setter was a 19-yard pass to Nakoa McElrath...the previous record of five was shared by Jack Thompson (vs. Washington, 1976), Timm Rosenbach (Tennessee, 1988), Drew Bledsoe (Oregon State, 1991), and Ryan Leaf (California, 1977).

    COUGS AGAINST RANKED TEAMS SINCE 1995: Last year WSU was 0-4 against ranked teams, losing to #22 Arizona (47-53, triple OT), #18 OSU (9-38), #7 Oregon (24-27, OT) and #6 Washington (3-51)...WSU did not meet a ranked team in 1999...in 1998 WSU lost to No. 4 UCLA, No. 15 Oregon and No. 10 Arizona...in 1997 WSU defeated No. 22 USC and lost to 21st ranked ASU...unranked at the start of the season when WSU won, UCLA finished the year ranked seventh...in the final game of the year, WSU lost to co-national champion Michigan...in 1996 WSU lost at No. 5 Colorado, defeated No. 25 Oregon and No. 19 California and lost to No. 12 Washington...WSU, in 1995, suffered losses to three nationally ranked teams: at No. 2 Nebraska, at No. 5 USC and at No. 12 Oregon.

    COUGS GO MARINES: While looking for a few good men, the WSU coaching staff discovered the Marines...a pair of WSU players are former Marines, Wendell Smith and Dave Minnich...Smith, from Spokane's Gonzaga Prep, joined the Cougars in the fall of 1999 as a freshman after four years in the service...last season WSU brought in running back Dave Minnich from Mt. San Jacinto College...originally from Stonington, Conn., Minnich spent four years in the Marines before going the jaycee route.

    COUG O-LINE AVERAGES 283: WSU's offensive line weighs in at a collective 1,415 pounds, or an average of 283 pounds...the heavyweight of the group is Josh Parrish at 296 pounds, followed by Sam Lightbody at 290...next is Derrick Roche at 281, followed by Joey Hollenbeck at 277...center Tyler Hunt weighs in at 271, the lightest of the group...last year's O-Line averaged 288 for much of the season.

    WSU OPENER PROVIDES PLENTY OF POINTS: Only once since 1990 have the Cougars scored more points in the first game of the season than they scored against Idaho last week, 36...in 1997 WSU opened with a 37-34 win over UCLA and went on to share the Pac-10 title...in addition, WSU's 34-point win over Idaho is the widest margin of victory for Washington State in a season-opening game since 1989 when the Cougars defeated the same Vandals 41-7...that was Mike Price's first game as WSU's head coach.

    COUGS SCORE OFTEN: Since 1980 WSU has averaged more than three touchdowns a game, currently boasting an average of 25.3 points per outing.

    WSU ON THE ROAD AT HOME: In years to come it may be a trivia question - When did the Cougars play on the road at home?...Sept. 18, 1999 Idaho was officially the home team and the Cougars were the visiting team, complete with white uniforms...and ditto Aug. 30, 2001. Idaho currently uses WSU's Martin Stadium as their home field in an effort to qualify for NCAA D-I status...the Vandal's Kibbie Dome is not large enough to allow Idaho to meet the average needed for D-I status.

    LAMONT THOMPSON RETURNS: Senior Lamont Thompson, who shares the WSU record with 14 career interceptions, returned to action last week after missing the 2000 season while recovering from a neck injury...Thompson broke into WSU's starting lineup as a freshman in 1997, starting the final four games of the year for the Cougar Rose Bowl team...he started all 11 games in 1998, then made seven starts in 1999, despite batting injuries all season.

    RUSHING TOTALS UNDER 100: In the last nine years WSU has held 35 of 92 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing...the lows include Montana State's -35 and Pacific's -6 in 1993 and Montana's -6 in 1995...in those 92 games, WSU has held opponents to 50 or less yards 12 times.

    WSU DEFENSE HALTS LONG RUSHES: In the last eight years WSU has allowed just 87 runs of 20 yards or longer in 91 games:

    1993 Plays Allowed 20 Yards or Longer - 8
    1994 Plays Allowed 20 Yards or Longer - 7
    1995 Plays Allowed 20 Yards or Longer - 12
    1996 Plays Allowed 20 Yards or Longer - 6
    1997 Plays Allowed 20 Yards or Longer - 7
    1998 Plays Allowed 20 Yards or Longer - 17
    1999 Plays Allowed 20 Yards or Longer - 10
    2000 Plays Allowed 20 Yards or Longer - 20
    2001 Plays Allowed 20 Yards or Longer - 1

    1994 Plays Allowed 10-19 Yards - 15
    1995 Plays Allowed 10-19 Yards - 24
    1996 Plays Allowed 10-19 Yards - 33
    1997 Plays Allowed 10-19 Yards - 29
    1998 Plays Allowed 10-19 Yards - 41
    1999 Plays Allowed 10-19 Yards - 46
    2000 Plays Allowed 10-19 Yards - 33
    2001 Plays Allowed 10-19 Yards - 1

    WASHINGTON STATE SINCE '89: The Washington State Cougars have won 63 games since the start of the 1989 season, the year Mike Price took over the coaching reins at WSU.

    100-YARD RUSHERS FEW: Only 33 running backs have been able to crack the 100-yard mark in the last nine years and 92 games against WSU's defense...UCLA's Skip Hicks and Reuben Droughns from Oregon are the only backs to have done so in back-to-back seasons.

    WSU'S OPENER DRAWS 31,097: WSU and Idaho drew 31,097 fans for last week's season opener, WSU's best crowd for a home opener since hosting Illinois in 1998 (31,568) and the best for a Labor Day Weekend since 1989 when the same teams drew 33,914 Saturday, Sept. 2.

    MIKE PRICE TV SHOWS: The "Mike Price TV Show" airs Saturdays at 12:00 p.m. PT on KXLY-TV...Rick Lukens hosts the shows...FOX Sports Net Northwest's nightly (7:00 p.m.) Northwest Tonight program also gives extensive coverage to Price and Cougar football.

    WEEKLY WSU PRESS CONFERENCES: WSU hosts a weekly press conference each Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. in the Media Information Conference Room, Bohler Addition 195. All in-season head coaches and selected players (when available) will be available for the phone conference and in-person interviews. Contact the WSU Media Information Office for more information. Members of the media may attend in person or participate by use of the telephone.

    LISTEN TO COUGAR GAMES ANYWHERE: Cougar football fans can listen to the Voice of the Cougars Bob Robertson's broadcasts, even if a network station is not in your locale. TRZ Sports Service Inc.'s "Teamline" provides the hookup directly into the Cougar Sports Network. Call 1-800-846-4700 and punch in the Cougar access code 5938. The cost is charged to your VISA or Mastercard.

    LIVE TELEVISION: Pac-10 television action Saturday, Sept. 8, will include UCLA at Kansas at 9:30 a.m. PT on FOX, Michigan at Washington at 12:30 p.m. PT on ABC (national), Kansas State at USC at 3:30 p.m. on FOX Net, and Boston College at Stanford at 7:00 p.m. PT on FOX Net.

    FSNW-TV: FOX Sports Net (Northwest) will air highlights and features of this week's game at Boise State in a one-hour special Sunday, Sept. 9, at 4:30 p.m., then again Sept. 11 at 8:00 p.m. and Sept. 12 at 3:00 p.m.

    AUDIO ON INTERNET: WSU's football broadcasts are now available on the Internet through FansOnly, WSU's Web provider...the address is: http://www.wsucougars.com.

    WSU RADIO: Bob Robertson, Jim Walden, Jeff Aaron, and Bud Nameck combine talents on the 24-station Cougar Sports Network. Robertson is in his 35th year of broadcasting Cougar sports, while Walden, a former Cougar head coach (1978-86), is in his first season as a Cougar broadcaster. Broadcast time is 60 minutes prior to kickoff. Additionally, the one-hour "Mike Price Show," produced and distributed by Learfield Communications, airs weekly on most network stations live at 7:00 p.m.. Robertson is the show's regular host...all broadcasts are available via the internet. To listen, and for complete broadcast schedules, connect to wsucougars.com.

    SATELLITE: The Pacific-10 office transmits a weekly 30-minute highlight package each Wednesday at 11:30 - 12:00 PT on Telstar 6, Transponder 9, C-Band (if trouble, call 310-543-1835 or the Pac-10 office).

    PRICE AND PLAYERS AVAILABLE: WSU head football coach Mike Price is available for individual media interviews 11:00-Noon Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (expect prior to road games). Arrangements for Price interviews must be made through his office, 509-335-0250. WSU players are available for interviews before and after practice each Tuesday and Wednesday and before practice each Thursday. Contact Jason Hickman at the WSU Media Information Office.

    PRICE PHONE CONFERENCES: Mike Price is available for media interviews three times weekly via a conference phone hookup, Sunday at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. and Thursday at 2:30 p.m. For access information contact the WSU Media Information Office.

    TICKETS: Tickets for all Cougar home and away games are available through the WSU Ticket Office, North 225 Grand, Pullman, Wash. 99164-1910, or by calling 800-GO-COUGS (available toll free from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands).

    INTERNET: WSU releases, statistics, notes and depth chart information are loaded weekly on the WSU Athletics Home Page. The address is: http://www.wsucougars.com.

    REVIEWING WSU'S 2001 SEASON

    WSU 36, IDAHO 7
    August 30, 2001, Pullman, Wash. - WSU avenged two consecutive losses to Idaho by handing the Vandals a 36-7 thumping during a rare Thursday night game...WSU limited the Vandals to 76 yards 74 yards rushing, 72 yards passing and one fourth-quarter score after building a 36-0 lead.
    Washington State Cougars Athletics
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