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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
WSU Cougars To Face Oklahoma In Rose Bowl
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 12/25/2002
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Dec. 25, 2002

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WHO: #7/7/6 WSU Cougars (10-2 overall, 7-1 in Pac-10) vs. #8/8/7 Oklahoma Sooners (11-2, 6-2 Big 12)
WHAT: 2003 Rose Bowl
WHEN: Wednesday, January 1; Kickoff 2:00 p.m. PST
WHERE: Rose Bowl (92,000, grass), Pasadena, Calif.
TV: ABC Sports live; No WSU replay will be available.

THE COACHES: WSU - Mike Price (Puget Sound '69) has an 83-77-0 (.519) record at WSU in 14 years and a career mark of 129-121-0 (.518) in 22 seasons at Weber State (1981-88; 46-44-0) and WSU (1989-present). OKLAHOMA - The Sooners are coached by Bob Stoops, who has an Oklahoma and career mark of 41-9 in four seasons since taking over the head coaching reins in 1999.

WSU VS. OKLAHOMA: WSU and the Oklahoma Sooners have met two times on the gridiron, with Oklahoma winning both times, with both contests played in Norman, Oklahoma...the Sooners won the first game 28-0 in 1938 and the second meeting resulted in a 21-0 Oklahoma win in 1967...as head coaches, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops has not coached against WSU and the Cougars' Mike Price has not coached against Oklahoma...Price did face Oklahoma while at Missouri, 1978-79-80.

LONG CAPTURES OUTLAND TROPHY: WSU defensive tackle Rien Long, a junior from Anacortes, Wash., was named winner of the 2002 Outland Trophy, which is presented each year by the Football Writers Association of America to the nation's best interior lineman...Long was one of three finalists and received the award Dec. 12 during the ESPN Football Awards Show from Orlando, Florida...he is the first Cougar football player to win a national position award.

GESSER MAKES TWO SEMIFINAL LISTS: WSU record setting quarterback Jason Gesser was named a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien Quarterback Award and was one of 10 players selected by the Walter Camp Foundation for their player of the year award...Gesser now owns WSU quarterback records for passing yards (8,591), total offense yards (8,815), touchdown passes (69), TD passes in consecutive games (24), career games with TD passes (30), and career games with multiple TD passes (21)...he is also the winningest starting quarterback in Cougar history, 24-10...in the past two seasons he has directed WSU to a 20-4 mark, the fifth best record by any D-I team. . (For details see Gesser pages 3-5)

COUGAR ALL-AMERICANS IN 2002: Four Cougar football players have been named to post-season All-America teams: Jason Gesser, quarterback - College Football News first team; CNNSI honorable mention Rien Long, defensive tackle - AP, FWAA, CNNSI, TSN and ESPN.com first team Derrick Roche, offensive guard - AFCA first team, AP, TSN and CNNSI second team Marcus Trufant, cornerback - ESPN.com first team, AP Second team, CNNSI honorable mention

PRICE AFCA REGIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR: For the fourth time in his career and for the second straight year, WSU head coach Mike Price has been named regional coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association...he also received the award in 1987, 1997 and 2001 (WSU).

2002 CAPTAINS: WSU - QB Jason Gesser (17), CB Marcus Trufant (45), RS Curtis Nettles (18). OU: RB Quentin Griffin (22), QB Nate Hybl (8), LB Teddy Lehman (11), TE Trent Smith (88), QB Jason White (18), WR Andre Woolfolk (17).

TRUFANT GRABS 11TH INTERCEPTION: Marcus Trufant intercepted one pass against Oregon to give him 11 career thefts...he is now sixth on WSU's career list, tied with Don Paul and Torey Hunter...Trufant grabbed two interceptions as a freshman (1999), then three each of the last three years...he has 139 interception return yards.

TRUFANT MOVES UP PUNT RETURN LISTS: 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 second on the single season list with 392 punt return yards this season...in addition, he is now seventh on the career list with 439 return yards.

DUNNING SETS RECORD: Junior Drew Dunning, who set a WSU record for kickers with 101 points last year, has broken his own record and the overall WSU scoring record with 111 points this year...in addition he has moved into a tie for fourth on the WSU career list...with one game to play this year and another full season, he is on track to top Jason Hanson's school record 328 points.

SCORING STREAKS:

  • The Cougars have scored in 212 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 213 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 174 consecutive Martin Stadium home games since a 21-0 loss to Oregon State in Pullman in 1956.

    COUGS IN THE POLLS: In the latest national polls, WSU remained seventh in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN polls and sixth in the BCS poll...WSU has now been included in 26 consecutive rankings over two seasons, the most ever for the Cougars

    NEWCOMERS SCORE FOR WSU: The Cougars have scored 50 touchdowns this season, 46 offensively and four defensively...31 of those touchdowns have been scored by first-year players...on offense Devard Darling has scored 12 TD's, Jermaine Green 10, Jonathan Smith seven, Troy Bienemann and Sammy Moore one each...redshirt freshman Will Derting has one of WSU's three defensive touchdowns.

    DARLING EQUALS RECORD: Devard Darling has caught 11 touchdown passes this year, equaling the Cougar record for TD receptions...Chris Jackson and Kevin McKenzie each caught 11 TD receptions during the 1997 season.

    JASON DAVID'S RECORD STREAK: WSU's junior cornerback Jason David picked off opponent passes in five straight games before being sidelined with a broken cheekbone, then resumed the streak at UCLA...he started the streak against Montana State with one interception...then, in order, he had interceptions against California (1), USC (1), Stanford (2) and Arizona (1), then UCLA (1) after returning from the injury...no other WSU player has ever had interceptions in six straight games...David is now ninth on the Cougar career list with 10 career interceptions.

    COUGS OVERCOME OPPONENT LEADS: WSU has had to come from behind in all but the Idaho (WSU led 21-0), Stanford (23-0) and ASU (17-0) games...Nevada led 7-0, Ohio State 3-0, Montana State 7-0, California 14-0, USC 7- 0, Arizona 10-5, Oregon 21-17, Washington 7-0 and UCLA 14-7...the Cougars came back to take the lead in every game, including the losses at Ohio State and to Washington.

    6-0 START MEANS THE ROSE BOWL: WSU has started league play 6-0 twice, 1930 and 2002, and in each season the Cougars won the conference title and earned a berth in the Rose Bowl...no other WSU team has started 6-0 in league.

    COUGS HALT PAC-10 RUSHERS: WSU has allowed just 152 rushing yards in the last five games, Arizona -17, ASU 37, Oregon 60, Washington 19 and UCLA 53...in eight Pac- 10 games, WSU allowed 475 rushing yards, a league game school record average of 59.4 yards per game...WSU's 1994 defense allowed just 78.0 rushing yards per league game, the best ever for a Cougar defense until now...California's Joe Igber, with 111 rushing yards, is the only Pac-10 running back this year to go over the century mark...the only other running back to do so against WSU's defense is Ohio State's Maurice Clarett with 230 yards.

    HENDERSON THE BEST QB?: Collin Henderson has completed all but one of his 12 passes in his four-year career for an amazing six touchdowns and 499 yards...that's a QB rating of 605.97...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 3-for-4 for 125 yards and one TD pass...his only incomplete pass was against Washington following a bobbled center snap.

    BACK-TO-BACK 10-WIN SEASONS RARE IN PAC-10: WSU is one of just five Pac-10 teams to post back-to-back 10-win seasons since the 10-team league was formed: WSU 2001-02, Oregon 2000-01, UCLA twice, 1997-98 and 1987- 88, Washington twice, 1990-91 and 1981-82, and USC, 1978-79.

    PREVIOUS PAC-10 VS. BIG XII IN ROSE BOWL: The only previous Rose Bowl match-up between the Pac-10 and Big XII (formerly Big 8) was 1941 when Stanford defeated Nebraska 21-13.

    FIRST 13-GAME SEASON FOR WSU: WSU has never played more than 12 games in a season until this year.

    GESSER ON WSU SINGLE-SEASON LISTS: Jason Gesser is the first WSU player to record two seasons with over 3,000 yards passing and total offense

    GREEN OVER CENTURY MARK: Jermaine Green has rushed for more than 100 yards four times this year, including a career-best 180 yards against Oregon...in his last outing he gained 112 yards against UCLA, 111 of them in the first half before he retired because of the flu...he also had 123 yards against Montana State and 119 against Arizona in his first start of the year.

    SUCCESS ON THE ROAD: WSU has won eight of its last nine Pac-10 road games...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, Stanford, Arizona and UCLA in Pac-10 action.

    COUGS 10-WIN SEASONS AMONG BEST: WSU is the only Pac-10 school with three 10-win seasons in the last 10 years (actually accomplished in the last six years)...WSU was 10-2 in 1997, 10-2 in 2001 and is currently 10-2...WSU is also making its second Rose Bowl appearance in the last six years...UCLA is the only other Pac-10 team with two Rose Bowl appearances in the last 10 years...WSU and Washington (1981-82-84) are the only Pac-10 teams to ever post three 10-win seasons in a six-year span.

    ROSE BOWL FACTS: The WSU-Oklahoma matchup in the Rose Bowl is the first time since 1946 the RB matched a Pac-10 team against a team from a conference other than the Big Ten...in 1946 USC lost to Alabama 34-14.

    GESSER CLIMBS PAC-10 LISTS: Jason Gesser's career totals in touchdown passes, passing yards and total offense rank among the all-time best for players from the Pacific-10 Conference...he is fourth in career TD passes, needing eight to catch Stanford's John Elway at 77...Gesser's career totals now rank him eighth in passing and seventh in total offense...he needs 74 yards to move into seventh on the passing list and is 758 yards short of sixth...in total offense, he is 248 yards short of sixth, 256 out of fifth and 735 yards out of fourth place.

    GESSER WINNINGEST COUG QB: Jason Gesser is 24-10 as a starting quarterback for WSU, the most wins ever by a starting signal caller...during his 1999-2002 career, WSU is 27-19...Mark Rypien was 11-13 as a starter, Ryan Leaf 15- 9, Jack Thompson 14-15-1, Drew Bledsoe 14-14 and Timm Rosenbach 12-11-1...Rypien was a member of four WSU teams with a combined record of 25-19-1.

    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.

  • Set WSU passing record (now 8,591 yards) with a five-yard pass to Jerome Riley against ASU Nov. 2, 2002, in Pullman; broke Jack Thompson's mark of 7,818, 1975-78;
  • Set WSU total offense record (now 8,815) with a 37-yard pass to Jerome Riley in the third quarter at Arizona Oct. 26, 2002; broke Jack Thompson's mark of 7,698, 1975-78;
  • Set WSU touchdown pass record (now 69) with a 31-yard pass to Jerome Riley against ASU Nov. 2, 2002; broke the old mark of 59 by Ryan Leaf, 1995-97;
  • Holds WSU touchdown passing records with TD passes in 24 consecutive games and multiple TD passes in 21 games and career games with at least one TD pass, 30;
  • Has thrown all 69 career TD passes in his last 32 games;
  • Six career games over 300 yards passing (2nd WSU career);
  • Has tallied 26 games passing for 200 or more yards, breaking the WSU record of 23 by Ryan Leaf. 2002 SEASON (Senior) -
  • Threw for 431 yards against California, the fourth best onegame passing mark in WSU history;
  • With 250 passing yards and 245 yards of total offense, moved into WSU's single-season Top 10 list with 2,419 passing yards and 2,360 yards in total offense.
  • Threw three TD passes in games against Idaho, Stanford and ASU and four against California;
  • Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week for performance at California. 2001 SEASON (Junior) -
  • 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;
  • Gesser had a streak of 64 passes without an interception before a pick against California when the receiver fell down;
  • All-Pac-10 second team and Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention;
  • Led the Pac-10 in passing and total offense and third in pass efficiency;
  • Nationally 15th in points responsible for, 24th in pass efficiency, 21st in total offense.
  • Moved into fourth on WSU's single season Top 10 list for passing yards (3,010) and total offense (3,111);
  • Threw 26 TD passes, the second best one-season total in WSU history. 2000 SEASON (Sophomore) -
  • 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 (Freshman) -
  • Gesser was poised to start before being sidelined with a thumb injury against Arizona in the fourth game of the year;
  • Gesser came back to play against Washington and start in WSU's win at Hawaii.

    GESSER HOLDS MOST WSU CAREER QB RECORDS: Jason Gesser is WSU's career passing leader...this year he has surpassed WSU career records held by Jack Thompson and Ryan Leaf, including total offense yards, passing yards, consecutive games with at least one TD pass, total TD passes and games with two or more TD passes.

    GESSER TOSSES TD PASSES: In 2001 Jason Gesser had 26 TD passes, second only to Ryan Leaf's 34 in 1997, while this year he has 27, now second on the Cougar single-season list...all of Gesser's 69 TD passes have come in his last 32 games.

    BASLER DOING THE JOB: Kyle Basler, WSU's redshirt freshman punter, was named Pac-10 Special Teams POW following the Oregon game when he hit six punts for a 40.3 average...four of his punts were downed inside the Oregon 20...WSU has allowed just one punt return in the last five games, two in the last six games...the lone returns were one for minus one yard by Stanford and one for 26 yards at UCLA...in WSU's first six games opponents returned 13 punts 173 yards (13.3 yard return average).

    WSU SACK/TFL RECORDS: The Cougars currently have a school record 52 (-350 yards) sacks and 98 (-470 yards) TFL's, which ranks second on WSU's Top 10 list...the TFL record is 100/-432...WSU currently leads the Pac-10 in sacks.

    FOUR COUGS AMONG SACK LEADERS: Four Cougar linemen, including three juniors, are ranked among WSU's career sack leaders...Isaac Brown currently ranks 3rd (19.5), Rien Long 6th (17.0), D.D. Acholonu 7th (-16.0), while senior Fred Shavies is tied for 10th (12.0)...in addition they are among the sack yardage leaders: Brown 5th (-126), Long 6th (-119), Acholonu 9th (-109) and Shavies 10th (-94)...in the last four games WSU has registered 26 sacks, 22 by linemen.

    LONG MOVES INTO SINGLE-SEASON SACK/TFL LIST: Junior Rien Long, with 20.5 TFLs for -105 yards and 13.0 sacks for -85 yards this year, has jumped near the front of WSU's single season lists...the Outland Trohy winner ranks second in TFLs and third in TFL yardage...he also is third in both single season sacks and sack yardage...Isaac Brown's eight sacks this year ranks him tenth on the WSU single-season list...Long is currently third nationally in sacks and fourth in TFL.

    2002 WASHINGTON STATE FOOTBALL SENIORS SENIORS TO PLAY FINAL GAME: Washington State will send 19 seniors to their last game when the Cougars and Oklahoma square off in the Jan. 1, 2003, Rose Bowl...the list of 19 includes 15 players on scholarship and nine current starters, five on offense, three on defense and one kicker...the offensive starters are WR Mike Bush, QB Jason Gesser, C Tyler Hunt, WR Jerome Riley and OL Derrick Roche...defensively, the starters are LB Mawuli Davis, DE Fred Shavies and CB Marcus Trufant, while Adam Holiday is WSU's regular kickoff artist on special teams.

    EIGHT COUGS PAC-10 ACADEMIC PICKS: Eight WSU football players have been named to the 2002 Pacific-10 Conference all-academic team, including three to the first team - Collin Henderson, Jeremey Williams and Pat Bennett...Henderson and Williams were named to the team for the third time

    FIVE COUGS PICKED ALL-PAC-10 FIRST TEAM: Jason Gesser has been named Co-Offensive Player of the Year in the Pacific-10 Conference and four of his teammates have been named to the all-league first team by the Pac-10's 10 coaches...11 other Cougars received honorable mention recognition...Gesser and USC's Carson Palmer shared the league's top offensive award...Derrick Roche was named to the team for the second straight year, while Marcus Trufant was one of three unanimous first-team honorees...Washington State has never before had five first team all-conference picks...the Cougs have had four first team selections six times, the last in 1994 when all four were on the defensive side of the ball.

    WSU DEFENSE HALTS LONG RUSHES: In the last 14 years WSU has allowed just 163 runs of 20 yards or longer in 160 games...this year the Cougars have allowed nine runs of 20 or more yards and 35 runs of 10-19 yards.

    COUGS AGAINST RANKED TEAMS SINCE 1995: WSU is 9-17 against ranked teams since 1995...when WSU has also been ranked, the Cougars are 4-5.

    COUGS SCORE OFTEN: Since 1980 WSU has averaged more than three touchdowns a game, currently boasting an average of 261 points per outing, including 34.8 points per game this year.

    NOTHING LIKE HOME: WSU performs better at home than on the road during Mike Price's 14 year tenure...at home the Cougars are 45-32 (58.4%) and on the road the team is 38- 45 (45.8%)...WSU's 6-0 Pullman 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 14 years WSU has held 61 of 160 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing...the lows include Montana State -35 (1993), Arizona -17 (2002), Pacific -6 (1993) and Montana's -6 (1995)...in those 160 games, WSU held opponents to 50 or less yards 17 times.

    100-YARD RUSHERS FEW: Only 60 running backs have been able to crack the 100-yard mark in the last 14 years and 160 games against WSU's defense...USC's Mazio Royster, Washington's Beno Bryant, 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 43 players having started at least one game...this season alone 40 players have started at least one game...in all, the Cougars boast a collective 590 starts, 256 by defensive players, 297 by offensive players and 37 by kickers.

    RED ZONE: WSU has scored 45 times in 61 trips into the Red Zone, 28 touchdowns and 13 field goals...the failures have been six missed field goals, three lost fumbles, two interceptions, four on downs and four at the end of a half...opponents have scored 17 touchdowns and nine field goals in 35 Red Zone appearances and failed three times by interceptions, missed three field goals and failed on downs three times.

    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 83-77 record at WSU is second only to Babe Hollingbery, who was 93-53 in 17 years as WSU's head coach (1926-42).

    TURNOVERS: WSU is -2 in turnovers for 2002...the Cougs have turned the ball over 26 times (14 fumbles, 12 interceptions) and taken the ball away 24 times (7 fumbles, 17 interceptions)...WSU didn't have a turnover against MSU, the Cougs' first no-turnover game since playing Oregon last season...WSU had one zero-fumble game, UCLA...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: WSU's starting lineup against UCLA of 22 players included 2 freshmen, 3 sophomores, 8 juniors and 9 seniors, while the top 44 (twodeep) consists of 6 freshmen, 9 sophomores, 16 juniors and 13 seniors...in the two-deep, WSU lists 15 freshmen and sophomores and 29 juniors and seniors.

    BUSH HAS A CATCH IN EVERY GAME: Mike Bush has caught at least one pass in each of his 24 games as a Cougar...he averages 17.6 yards a catch, hauling in 94 career passes for 1,650 yards...last year he caught 10 TD passes in his first collegiate season...only Kevin McKenzie with 11 (1997) had more TD catches in a season...Bush has started every game of his WSU football career, having joined the team following his third year with the Cougar basketball team...he completed his fourth varsity basketball season in 2001-02.

    WSU IN PAC-10 RANKINGS: WSU ranks second in passing efficiency and rushing defense and third total offense, scoring offense, total defense and scoring defense...individually Drew Dunning leads the league in scoring, kick scoring and field goals, while Jason Gesser is tops in passing efficiency, fourth in total offense and fifth in passing yards...Rien Long is tied for second in sacks and third in TFL, while Jason David is first in interceptions and third in total passes defended.

    WSU IN NCAA RANKINGS: WSU ranks seventh nationally in rushing defense, ninth in passing efficiency, 12th in passing offense, 11th in total offense and 15th in scoring offense...individually Drew Dunning is third in field goals and Rien Long is third in sacks and fourth in TFL...Jason Gesser is fifth in passing efficiency and 19th in total offense, while Jason David leads the nation in interceptions. COUGS 20-4 IN LAST TWO SEASONS: Since the start of the 2001 season, WSU has won 20 of 24 games...in the 1929-1930-1931 seasons WSU went 21-3, including 10-2 (1929) and 9-1 (1930) seasons...WSU is currently fifth among D-I teams the past two years: Miami is 24-0, Oklahoma 22-4, Marshall and Texas 21-4, and WSU 20-4.

    WSU TOPS 400 YARDS SIX TIMES: WSU notched four straight games with over 400 yards in total offense this year...in consecutive games, WSU ran and passed for 400- plus against: Montana State 405, California 578, USC 516 and Arizona 410...after falling below the 400-yard mark against Arizona State, the Cougars came back against Oregon with 467 yards and 541 yards at UCLA.

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