Nov. 6, 2000
WHO: WSU Cougars (3-6 overall, 1-5 in Pac-10) vs. Southern California (4-5 overall, 1-5 Pac-10)
WHAT: Pacific-10 Conference Cougar Football
WHEN: Saturday, November 11, Kickoff 3:30 p.m. PST
WHERE: Los Angeles Memorial Stadium (92,000, Grass), Los Angeles, Calif.
TV: FOX Live TV, Fox Sports Nw shows WSU-USC delayed until 10:00 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 12.
THE COACHES: WSU - Mike Price (Puget Sound '69) has a 62-72-0 (.463) record at WSU in 11 years and a career mark of 108-116-0 (.482) in 20 seasons at Weber State (1981-88, 46-44-0) and WSU (1989-present). USC - The Trojans are coached by Paul Hackett (UC Davis '69), who has an 18-16-0 record in three seasons with USC...his career record of six years is 31-36-1.
COUGS PLAY CLOSE GAMES: The outcome of six of WSU's nine games this season have been determined by seven points or less, with the Cougars winning twice while losing four...five of the close games came consecutively, starting with Idaho and ending with ASU...in that string, the last two were overtime losses at Arizona and at home against ASU...then, after a loss at Oregon State, WSU lost another overtime outing to Oregon...the five-game streak started with a 38-34 loss to Idaho...then came wins over California 21-17 and over Boise State 42-35...next come the 53-47 loss to Arizona in triple overtime and the 23-20 overtime loss against ASU...last week it was Oregon 27-24 in OT...the last time WSU played six games determined by seven points or less was in 1985 when Jim Walden was WSU's coach...WSU had seven games that year determined by seven points or less: Oregon 39-42, California 20-19, Arizona 7-12, Utah 37-44, UCLA 30-31, ASU 16-21 and Washington 21-20...WSU was 2-5 in those games and finished 4-7 overall.
2000 CAPTAINS: WSU - QB Jason Gesser (17), RB Adam Hawkins (37), DE Austin Matson (61), WR Farwan Zubedi (41). USC: The Trojan captains are LB Zeke Moreno (9), TB Petros Papadakis (35), C Eric Denmon (50), DT Ennis Davis (99).
GESSER OUT FOR FINAL 2 GAMES: Sophomore quarterback Jason Gesser, who started WSU's first nine games, suffered a broken tibia in the second quarter of WSU's overtime loss to Oregon, ending his 2000 season...Gesser suffered the broken leg while being sacked on WSU's first play of its second possession of the quarter.
INJURIES: WSU's injury report for Monday, Nov. 6 from the training staff: Brad Philley (concussion, knee bruise, doubtful), Derrick Roche (knee, probable), Jason White (ankle, doubtful), Nick Lambert (quad strain, possible). Out indefinitely are: Lamont Thompson (neck), Wendell Smith (shoulder), Sam Lightbody (ruptured thumb ligament), Reed Raymond (left knee, torn MCL), Ryan Raymond (neck), Adam Davis (back), Derrick Dillon (broken collar bone), Jason Gesser (broken left tibia), Eric Coleman (broken finger).
COUGAR OFFENSE IN HIGH GEAR: WSU has generated 3,408 yards in total offense through nine games, averaging 378.7 yards...on the ground WSU averages 124.0 yards, plus 254.7 in the air...WSU has averaged 394.5 yards in the last eight games (not counting 252 against Stanford).
NEWMAN NEARING TACKLE LIST: Billy Newman, WSU's junior safety, now has 229 career tackles, leaving him 19 short of 16th on WSU's single season list...both Ken Emmil, 1979-82, and Maury Metcalf, 1985-88, made 248 career tackles to tie for 16 ...with a junior to play, Newman is only 51 tackles away from Don Hover, tenth on the list with his 280 tackles, 1973-77...Newman made 45 tackles as a freshman and led WSU last year with 105...he has 79 this season...he also has five career interceptions.
BURNETT TOPS 1300 RUSHING YARDS: Sophomore Deon Burnett has now run for 1,311 career yards, leaving him 428 yards short of a spot in WSU's top 10 list...tenth on WSU's all-time list is Dan Doornink, who gained 1,739 yards during career, 1974-77...ninth place is held by Bernard Jackson, who gained 1,779 during his two Cougar seasons, 1970 and 1971...after scoring 12 rushing touchdowns as a freshman, the second most ever by a Cougar, Burnett has been held to one rushing TD this year.
BURNETT & MINNICH GIVE WSU 1-2 PUNCH: Last year's leading rusher Deon Burnett has a lot of help this year from Dave Minnich, the ex-Marine who transferred this fall from Mt. San Jacinto JC...Minnich has played in all nine games, rushing for 553 yards and three scores, while Burnett has gained 337 despite missing the Cal game with a bone bruise...Burnett is averaging 4.0 yards per carry and Minnich 4.4.
SECONDARY PICKS 12 PASSES: Each starter in the secondary has made at least two interceptions this season...Billy Newman leads the quartet with five, while Mory Banks and Marcus Trufant each have three picks and Chris Martin two...for their careers, Martin, Trufant and Newman each have five interceptions and Banks three.
LONG DRIVES: WSU has had 14 scoring drives of 70 yards or longer in the first nine games, including seven drives of 80 yards or more.
SCORING STREAKS: WSU currently has three significant scoring streaks on the line:
WYNN FIFTH WITH 882 YARDS: Junior Milton Wynn now ranks tied for fifth on WSU's single-season receiving list with 882 yards...also, Wynn's 47 catches leaves him seven short of a spot on WSU's Top 10 list, where Doug Flansburg, Phillip Bobo and Leaford Hackett all had 54 receptions in a single season.
LAST TOUCH WINS: In four of six losses this season, Idaho, Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon, WSU opponents pulled out the win on their last possession...Idaho drove 57 yards to score the deciding points with 40 seconds to play...Arizona scored in the third overtime and then picked off a WSU pass to preserve their win, while ASU stopped WSU with an interception in the first overtime and then kicked the winning field goal...Oregon kicked a field goal in the first overtime and then blocked WSU's FG attempt...Stanford and OSU are the only victors over WSU not to decide the game late.
FUMBLES NOT GOING WSU'S WAY: The Cougars are having a little problem with fumbles bouncing the wrong way...in nine games, the Cougs have lost 11 of 21 fumbles...the opponents, meanwhile, have fumbled 16 times, with WSU recovering just seven...the Cougars have fumbled the ball four times in games against Utah (a win), California (a win) and Arizona (a loss)...WSU had no fumble against Oregon, the first time since Louisiana last year the Cougs have not fumbled and the first time in a Pac-10 game since Stanford and Washington at the end of 1998.
BREAKING DOWN TOP 22-44: Against Oregon WSU's starting lineup of 22 players included 2 freshmen, 10 sophomores, 7 juniors and 3 seniors, while the Top 44 (two-deep) consisted of 12 freshmen, 11 sophomores, 14 juniors and 7 seniors.
MINNICH TOPS 100 YARDS FOR A THIRD TIME: Junior Dave Minnich has topped the 100-yard rushing total three times this year, a season-high 118 yards at Utah, 101 yards at Arizona and 108 yards last week against Oregon...Minnich transferred from Mt. San Jacinto College in August to shore up WSU's thin running back stable and now has started two games, Boise State and Oregon.
GESSER'S 348 A CAREER HIGH: Jason Gesser threw for a career high 348 passing yards 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: Sophomore Jason Gesser threw 130 straight passes without an interception over nearly five games before Michael Jolivette of Arizona picked off one in the fourth quarter two weeks ago...in the season opener against Stanford Gesser threw two picks, the last one on WSU's last possession...he was 20-of-36 for 161 yards, two interceptions and no TDs against Stanford, a QB rating of 82.02...in the next five games, he hit 81 of 139 passes (two interceptions) for 1,346 yards and 15 touchdowns...in those five games Gesser's QB rating was 172.34, which elevated his season rating to 153.76, a mark that ranked first in the Pac-10 and sixth in the nation...since throwing that first interception at Arizona, Gesser has completed 31 of 80 passes (38.8%) with eight interceptions and three touchdowns...out for the rest of the season, Gesser finishes with 132.53 rating, which still leads the Pac-10.
GESSER THROWS FOR TD RECORD: In the second overtime period at Arizona Oct. 14, Jason Gesser drilled a 19-yard scoring pass to Nakoa McElrath, Gesser's sixth TD pass of the game and a WSU record...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).
GESSER ALMOST HIT TOP 10 LISTS: Sophomore Jason Gesser's untimely injury, a broken left tibia that will sideline him for the rest of the season, has halted his chances of gaining a spot on WSU's single-season Top 10 lists...he closes out his sophomore year with 1,967 passing yards and 2,014 yards in total offense...his passing total of 1,967 yards is 324 yards short of tenth on the list (Chad Davis is tenth with 2,291 in 1994), while his total offense of 2,014 yards leaves him 250 short of tenth on the single season list (Jack Thompson's 2,264 yards in 1978 is tenth)...in his brief two-year career Gesser has passed for 2,412 yards and has 2,604 total offense yards.
McELRATH TIES RECORD: Junior Nakoa McElrath tied a WSU single game record with his three touchdown receptions from Jason Gesser Oct. 14 at Arizona in a triple overtime loss to the Wildcats...the transfer from Palomar College and graduate of Scripps Ranch High in LaJolla, Calif., hauled in a 54-yarder from Gesser in the second quarter, a 19-yarder in the fourth quarter that earned WSU a 26-26 tie, and then another 19-yarder in the second overtime that put WSU ahead 47-40...six other Cougar receivers have also caught three scoring passes in a game.
COUGS STINGY IN FIRST QUARTER: WSU's defense has allowed 443 first quarter points in the last 89 games (4.98/quarter) over the past eight years...WSU allowed 41 first-quarter points in 1993, 29 in 1994, 45 in 1995, 43 in 1996, 48 in 1997, 87 in 1998, 71 in 1999 and 72 in 2000...BSU and ASU both scored 14 first-quarter points against WSU and Oregon 13...neither Stanford nor Utah scored in the opening quarter against the Cougs.
COUGS AGAINST RANKED TEAMS SINCE 1995: 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: No. 2 Nebraska, at No. 5 USC and at No. 12 Oregon.
RECEIVERS SET STANDARD: Nakoa McElrath, Deon Burnett, Marcus Williams and Milton Wynn have done something never done by a group of WSU receivers...against Arizona McElrath racked up 106 receiving yards and Burnett had 101 yards to become the tenth WSU receiving duo to each account for over 100 receiving yards in a game...the next week against ASU Williams had 138 receiving yards and Wynn 143 to duplicate the effort...that marked only the second time two pairs of receivers had each gone over 100 yards in a season...the last was in 1992 against Temple early in the season and against Utah in the Copper Bowl...it also marked the first time a pair of receivers had topped the 100 yard total in back-to-back games.
PRICE THIRD IN WINS: WSU coach Mike Price is third among the current Pacific-10 coaches with 108 wins... Arizona's Dick Tomey leads Pac-10 coaches with 158, followed by ASU's Bruce Snyder with 125 and Price...Price, in his 12th season at WSU, is second in consecutive years at the same school...Tomey is in his 13th year at Arizona.
MIKE PRICE AMONG WSU'S BEST: Only one Washington State football coach with tenure of five years or longer at WSU put together a better record than Mike Price...Price, in his 11 seasons at WSU, is 62-72-0 (.463), while his career mark is now 108-116-0...Babe Hollingbery was 93-53-14 (.625) during his 1926-42 (17 years) tenure...Price's record is the best at WSU in the last 50 years for coaches with a tenure of three or more years...Price's 62 wins at WSU ranks second to Hollingbery's 93...Jim Walden is third on the victory list at 44.
WSU SECOND IN PAC-10 DEFENSE: Since 1992 WSU has been in the top half of the conference in defense all but once (1992)...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.
WSU'S OVERTIME EXPERIENCE: WSU played and lost back-to-back overtime games at Arizona (3 OT) and at home against ASU (1 OT) earlier this year...then came a one-overtime loss to Oregon last week...the three OT games this year pushes WSU's all-time OT games to five...in 1996, Washington beat WSU 31-24 in overtime in Pullman...WSU's second OT game also involved Arizona and came in 1997 when WSU prevailed 35-34 in Pullman.
GESSER/WILAIKUL PAC-10 HONOREES: Quarterback Jason Gesser and kicker Anousith Wilaikul have each received Pac-10 Player of the Week honors this season...Gesser, for his play at Utah when he completed 11 of 18 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 37 yards, won offensive honors, while Wilaikul [pronounced A-new-sit Vee-lie-khoun] was the special teams winner after his three field goals of 38, 22 and 34 yards against Boise State...Gesser was the first Cougar to earn conference player of the week honors since Nian Taylor in 1998.
100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES: Only two WSU receivers have ever had more than four 100-yard receiving games in a single season, current assistant coach Mike Levenseller, who had seven in 1976, and Tim Stallworth, who had five in 1988...current Cougar receiver Milton Wynn has four games this year with over 100 receiving yards...the others with four in a season are Hugh Campbell in 1962, C.J. Davis in 1992 and Chris Jackson in 1997...Levenseller also holds the WSU record with 11 100-yard games in his career...Stallworth had nine and Campbell seven.
ROCHE A ROCKY FAN: Derrick Roche, a sophomore starter on WSU's offensive line is a big fan of the Rocky movies...he is such a big fan, in fact, that he has watched Rocky IV before every football game since he was a junior in high school.
COUGS GO MARINES: While looking for a few good men the past two years, 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 last fall as a freshman after four years in the service...this 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...Smith is currently sidelined following shoulder surgery in the spring.
ZUBEDI'S SLIPPERY PET: Receiver Farwan Zubedi, one of WSU's four co-captains, has a unique pet that draws some folks to him while others will take the long way around him - a pet snake...not just your common garden snake hidden in the folds of his cloths or in a pocket...it's a 4-foot boa named Unique...hard to hide and not everyone's favorite pet...Unique has yet to make an appearance on the field.
COUG LINE AVERAGES 286: WSU's offensive line currently weighs in at a collective 1,430 pounds, or an average of 286 pounds...the heavyweight of the group is Phil Locker at 311...Josh Parrish weighed in at 284 this fall, while Tyler Hunt and Derrick Roche checked in at 280 and Billy Knotts at 275...at the start of the season, with both Reed (312) and Ryan (304) Raymond in the lineup, WSU's line averaged 294...the averaged dipped to 291 after the loss of Reed Raymond and now to 286 with both on the sidelines.
OFFENSE ROLLS AGAINST ARIZONA SCHOOLS: WSU's offense generated 490 yards at Arizona and 488 yards against ASU in back to back games...50 of the yards against Arizona came in overtime and five yards against ASU were in overtime...in the two games overall WSU generated 978 yards of total offense and in regulation time 923 yards...only once last year did WSU generate over 400 yards against a Pac-10 foe - 420 against USC...in 1998 WSU had 551 yards against Stanford and 482 against ASU...against the Sun Devils the last three years WSU has generated 1,261 yards, or 420 per game.
LAMONT THOMPSON REDSHIRTS: Senior Lamont Thompson, who shares the WSU record with 14 career interceptions, will redshirt during the 2000 season and rehab his sore neck that has kept him out of all workouts since last spring...the senior is currently undergoing physical therapy and neck strengthening exercises...several visits to specialists revealed no structural damage to Thompson's neck and shoulder areas.