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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Well-Rested WSU Faces Arizona In Tucson
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 10/21/2002
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Oct. 21, 2002

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THE COACHES: WSU - Mike Price (Puget Sound '69) has a 79-76-0 (.510) record at WSU in 14 years and a career mark of 125-120-0 (.510) in 22 seasons at Weber State (1981-88; 46-44-0) and WSU (1989-present). ARIZONA - The Wildcats are coached by John Mackovic. He is 8-10 in two seasons at Arizona and 93-74-3 in his 15 year career.

WSU VS. ARIZONA: The Cougars and Wildcats are meeting for the 31st time, with Arizona having won 20 times, WSU 10...last year the Cougars won 48-21 in Tucson...this is the third straight meeting between the two teams in Tucson...Mike Price is 4-9 against Arizona and John Mackovic is 0-1 against WSU.

GESSER NEARS THOMPSON'S TOTAL OFFENSE RECORD: Jason Gesser is poised to break Jack Thompson's school record for total offense and is also closing in on Thompson's WSU career passing mark...Gesser needs 140 yards against Arizona Saturday to move past Thompson in career total offense...Thompson's record is 7,698 yards, while Gesser is second at 7,559...Thompson's passing mark is 7,818 yards, while Gesser is fourth with 7,316 yards...Gesser needs 503 yards to pass Thompson, 118 better Ryan Leaf (7,433) and 58 to overtake Drew Bledsoe (7,373)...Gesser already has won more games as a starter than any other Cougar quarterback, 20...he also holds WSU records with touchdown passes in 19 consecutive games and with multiple TD passes in 18 games, bettering by one records held by Ryan Leaf...Gesser is also tied for ninth on the Pacific-10 Conference list with 58 career TD passes, one less than Leaf, who holds the WSU record. (For details see Gesser page)

2002 CAPTAINS: WSU - QB Jason Gesser (17), CB Marcus Trufant (45), RS Curtis Nettles (18). ARIZONA - The Wildcats select game captains each week.

WSU DEFENSE HALTS LONG RUSHES: In the last 10 years WSU has allowed just 111 runs of 20 yards or longer in 110 games...this year the Cougars have allowed eight runs of 20 or more yards and 26 runs of 10-19 yards.

COUGS AGAINST RANKED TEAMS SINCE 1995: WSU is 7-17 against ranked teams since 1995...when WSU has also been ranked, the Cougars are 2-5.

COUGS SCORE OFTEN: Since 1980 WSU has averaged more than three touchdowns a game, currently boasting an average of 25.9 points per outing, including 35.1 points per game this year.

NOTHING LIKE HOME: The Washington State Cougars perform much better at home than on the road during Mike Price's 14 year tenure...at home the Cougars are 43-31 (58.1%) and on the road the team is 36-45 (44.4%)...WSU's 6-0 home record in 1997 is the best ever for the Cougars, while the 2001 record of 6-1 is the best on the road since the 1988 team also went 6-1.

RUSHING TOTALS UNDER 100: In the last 10 years WSU has held 45 of 110 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 110 games, WSU held opponents to 50 or less yards 13 times.

100-YARD RUSHERS FEW: Only 41 running backs have been able to crack the 100-yard mark in the last 10 years and 110 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.

COUGS BOAST STARTING EXPERIENCE: WSU fields an experienced team in 2002, with 40 players having started at least one game...collectively they made 470 career starts...the Cougar defense boasts 201 career starts by 16 players, including 99 by six linemen, 31 by five linebackers, and 71 by four defensive backs...on offense 11 linemen made 134 starts, seven receivers made 64 starts, and four backfield players had 43 starts, a total of 242.

RED ZONE: WSU has scored 24 times in 35 trips into the Red Zone, 19 touchdowns and five field goals...the failures have been two missed field goals, three lost fumbles, an interception, three on downs and two at the end of the half...opponents have scored 14 touchdowns and three field goals in 22 Red Zone appearances and failed three times by interceptions, missed one field goal and failed on downs once.

MIKE PRICE NOTES: WSU head coach Mike Price, the dean of Pac-10 coaches, will serve as head coach at this year's East-West Shrine Game January 11...Price is the second winningest coach in WSU history...his 79-76 record at WSU is second only to Babe Hollingberry, who was 93-53 in 17 years as WSU's head coach (1926-42).

TURNOVERS: WSU is -1 in turnovers for 2002...the Cougs have turned the ball over 13 times (eight fumbles, five interceptions) and taken the ball away 12 times (two fumbles, 10 interceptions)...WSU didn't have a turnover against MSU, the Cougs' first no-turnover game since playing Oregon last season...in Mike Price's 14 seasons at WSU, only the 1994 and 2001 teams finished on the plus side in turnovers.

BREAKING DOWN TOP 22-44: This week against Arizona WSU's starting lineup of 22 players included 2 freshman, 3 sophomores, 7 juniors and 10 seniors, while the top 44 (two-deep) consisted of 5 freshmen, 10 sophomores, 16 juniors and 13 seniors...in the two-deep, WSU lists 15 freshmen and sophomores and 29 juniors and seniors

WSU IN PAC-10 RANKINGS: The Cougs rank second in the Pac-10 ranks in passing offense, passing efficiency and total offense...individually Jason David leads the league in interceptions...Jason Gesser is second in passing efficiency...ranked third are Kyle Basler in punting (tied), David in passes defensed, Rien Long in sacks and TFLs and Marcus Trufant in punt returns...ranked fourth are Devard Darling in touchdown points and Gesser in passing yards and total offense.

WSU IN NCAA RANKINGS: WSU is seventh in passing offense, 10th in passing efficiency, 16th in total offense and 20th in scoring offense...Jason David is tied for fifth in interceptions, while Jason Gesser is seventh in passing efficiency, 20th in total offense and tied for 25th in pass completions...Drew Dunning is 24th (tie) in field goals, while Kyle Basler is 27th in punting.

NINE COUGS BOAST 20+ STARTS: Nine of WSU's top 22 players have started 20 or more games in their career, headed by Derrick Roche with 33...three of his teammates on the line are also on the list...Tyler Hunt has 28 starts, Josh Parrish 22 and Phil Locker 21...Marcus Trufant has the most starts among the Cougar defenders and is second to Roche with 32...Fred Shavies has made 30 starts for the Cougar defense...quarterback Jason Gesser has started 29 games, while receiver Collin Henderson has 27 starts.

SCOTT LUNDE DOING HIS PART: Scott Lunde, a redshirt junior wide receiver who wasn't listed on the depth chart at the start of fall camp, is now WSU's third leading receiver...he has caught 25 passes in WSU's first seven games for 323 yards...Lunde hails from Vancouver, Wash., and Hudson's Bay High...three weeks ago Lunde was awarded a scholarship from head coach Mike Price.

COUGS 16-3 IN LAST TWO SEASONS: Since the start of the 2001 season, WSU has won 16 of 19 games...it is the best record for an 18-game stretch since the 1929-30 season when WSU went 17-2...WSU is fourth among D-I teams the past two years: Miami 18-0, Oklahoma 18-2, Oregon 17-2, WSU 16-3 and Tennessee 15-4.

NEWCOMERS SCORE FOR WSU: The Cougars have scored 31 touchdowns this season, 27 offensively and three defensively...20 of those touchdowns have been scored by first-year players...on offense Devard Darling has scored eight TD's, Jonathan Smith seven and Jermain Green five...redshirt freshman Will Derting has one of WSU's three defensive touchdowns.

SUCCESS ON THE ROAD: Washington State has won six of its last seven road games in Pac-10 action...WSU closed out the end of the 2000 season with a win at USC...last year the Cougars defeated Arizona, Stanford and ASU on the road before a loss at Washington, while this year WSU has defeated California and Stanford in Pac-10 action.

TRUFANT GRABS NINTH INTERCEPTION: Marcus Trufant intercepted one pass against Idaho to give him nine career thefts...he is now tied for eighth with Greg Burns...one more would break the tie (no one else has 10) and two more picks would tie him for sixth with Don Paul and Torey Hunter...Trufant grabbed two interceptions his freshman year (1999), made three more picks as a sophomore, then had three last season...he has returned his nine interceptions 106 yards.

TRUFANT THIRD ON PUNT RETURN LIST: Marcus Trufant returned four punts 110 yards against Montana State earlier this season, including returns of 52 and 47 yards...only two players have returned punts for more yards in a game than Trufant...Shawn Tims, in 1997 against USL, and Kitrick Taylor against Oregon in 1983...Trufant has also moved into sixth on the single season list with 242 punt return yards this season...in addition, Trufant has 289 career punt return yards...he needs 33 additional yards to move into WSU's Top 10 list...tenth is Harry Thompson, 322.

DAVIS MOVES UP DEPTH CHART: There's a new linebacker moving up the WSU depth chart and his name is Davis...this Davis is Mawuli, a walk-on and transfer from New Mexico State...he prepped at Skyline High in Oakland and spent three years at NMSU before joining the Cougars last year...he has 45 tackles and 4.5 TFLs in seven games...Davis was on scholarship for three years at NMSU, redshirting his first season before playing and starting several games in his second and third seasons with the Aggies...changes in the football program prompted Davis to look for another school....he was recetly awarded a scholarship by Mike Price.

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

  • The Cougars have scored in 207 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 208 consecutive games since a 44-0 shutout at Ohio State in 1984...the streak is the fifth longest among D-I schools.
  • The Cougars have scored in 171 consecutive Martin Stadium home games since a 21-0 loss to Oregon State in Pullman in 1956.

    HENDERSON THE BEST QB?: Collin Henderson has completed all 10 passes in his four-year career for an amazing five touchdowns and 433 yards...that's a QB rating of 628.72...he completed one as a freshman in 1999 for 24 yards and a TD...in 2000 he was 4-for-4 for 154 yards and two scores...in 2001 he threw three passes for 71(td)-62(td)-63 yards...this year he is 2-for-2 for 59 yards.

    COUGS IN THE POLLS: WSU moved to ninth this week in the AP poll, but remained 11th in the coaches poll.

  • Highest Previous AP Ranking: 8th twice in 1997
  • Highest Previous ESPN/USA Today Ranking: 7th, 1997
  • Highest Previous BCS Ranking: 8th, Nov. 11, 2001
  • Highest AP Pre-Season Ranking:15th, 1952 (that was WSU's only other pre-season ranking prior to 2002.

    SCHOLARSHIPS OFFERED: Three members of WSU's football team have earned scholarships since fall camp began, punter Kyle Basler, wide receiver Scott Lunde and linebacker Mawuli Davis...all were walk-ons.

    WINS AGAINST CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS: The last four times WSU won three games against Pac-10 foes from California, they went to a bowl game, 1988, 1994, 1997 and 2001...WSU is 3-0 this year against California opponents.

    COUGS OVERCOME OPPONENTS FAST START: WSU has had to come from behind in all but the Idaho (WSU led 21-0) and Stanford (23-0) games...Nevada led 7-0, Ohio State 3-0, Montana State 7-0, California 14-0 and USC 7-0...the Cougars came back to take the lead in all cases, including the Ohio State contest when WSU led 7-6 at halftime, then lost in the second half.

    BUSH HAS A CATCH IN EVERY GAME: Mike Bush has caught at least one pass in each of his 19-games as a Cougar...he averages nearly 20 yards a catch, hauling in 70 passes for 1,349 yards...last year he caught 10 TD passes in his first collegiate season...only Kevin McKenzie with 11 (1997) has more TD catches in a season.

    WSU WIN STREAKS: Washington State's four-game win streak since losing at Ohio State, is the longest among Pacific-10 schools...in addition, WSU and Arizona State have each won three straight conference games, the longest streak among Pac-10 schools.

    JASON GESSER NOTES: 2001 season: Gesser's 432 yards passing against California was the third best performance ever by a Cougar QB...the top two are Drew Bledsoe's 476 yards against Utah in the 1992 Copper Bowl and Ryan Leaf's 447 yards against ASU in 1997...he had a streak of 64 passes without an interception before a pick against California when the receiver fell down...2000 season: Gesser threw six touchdown passes at Arizona, the most ever by a Cougar quarterback...his record setter was a 19-yard pass to Nakoa McElrath...Gesser threw 130 passes without an interception before Arizona picked off a pass in their 3-OT win...in that loss Gesser threw for 348 yards, his best outing of the season...1999 season: poised to start before being sidelined with a thumb injury against Arizona...came back to play against Washington and start in WSU's win at Hawaii.

    GESSER WINNINGEST COUG QB: Jason Gesser is 20-9 as a starting quarterback for WSU, the most wins ever by a starting signal caller...during his 1999-2002 career, WSU is 23-19...Mark Rypien was 11-13 as a starter, Ryan Leaf 15-9, Jack Thompson 14-15-1, Drew Bledsoe 14-14 and Tim Rosenbach 12-11-1...Rypien was a member of four WSU teams with a combined record of 25-19-1.

    JASONGESSER.COM: Washington State and the Official College Sports Network maintain JasonGesser.com, a website that promotes and tracks the senior quarterback's bid for the prestigious Heisman Trophy. The site can be accessed through the WSU Athletics main page, or browsers can type in jasongesser.com for the most direct route...Gesser's weekly teleconferences will be included, as will highlights from his first three seasons.

    GESSER FIRST THREE-TIME CAPTAIN: Senior quarterback Jason Gesser was named one of three team captains for the 2002 season, along with cornerback Marcus Trufant and wide receiver Curtis Nettles. Gesser was also selected captain as a junior and sophomore, making him the first three-time captain in the 108-year history of Cougar football.

    GESSER TELECONFERENCES: Senior Jason Gesser will participate in weekly teleconferences each Tuesday at 11:40 a.m. Each teleconference will last 20 minutes...to access the teleconference, contact the WSU sports information office...his weekly teleconference will also be available on the Cougar web site at www.wsucougars.com.

    GESSER ON FOX: Jason Gesser does a weekly 10 minute radio interview with FOX Sports Radio each Tuesday at 11:05 p.m. PT.

    GESSER HAD A GREAT JUNIOR SEASON: Jason Gesser's 2001 totals ranked fourth on WSU's single season passing and total offense lists:

    BIG PLAY COUGS: The Jason Gesser-led WSU offense has run 68 fewer plays (466-534) than the opponents and has far less possession time (25:49-34:11 average minutes per game), but has out gained the opponents by 527 yards (3,075-2,548), averaging 6.599 yards per play...opponents average 4.771 yards per play).

    GESSER PUSHES CAREER TOTALS: Jason Gesser ranks second on WSU's all-time total offense list (7,559) and fourth in career passing yards (7,316)...he needs 503 yards passing and 140 yards total offense to set WSU records.

    GESSER CRANKS IT UP: Jason Gesser's 431 passing yards against California ranks as the fourth best in Cougar history, while his 417 yards in total offense against the Bears ranks second to Drew Bledsoe's 468 yards against Utah in the 1992 Copper Bowl...in three career games against California, Gesser completed 62 of 109 passes for 1,101 yards, nine touchdowns and just one interception...he threw for 432 yards in 2001, the third best passing total in WSU history.

    GESSER SETS TD PASS RECORDS: Jason Gesser owns two WSU records involving TD passes - he has thrown at least one TD pass in 19 consecutive games and his 18 games with two or more TD passes is also a WSU record...he also needs to throw TD passes in four of WSU's next five games to break Jackson Thompson's record of career games with at least one TD pass...Thompson had TD passes in 28 games, while Gesser has TD passes in 25 career games.

    GESSER TOSSES TD PASSES: In 34 career games, Jason Gesser has thrown 58 touchdown passes, second to WSU record holder Ryan Leaf, 59...Jack Thompson had 53 in his career...in 2001 Gesser had 26 TD passes, second only to Ryan Leaf's 34 in 1997...all of Gesser's 59 TD passes have come in his last 27 games.

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