Sept. 3, 2002
THE COACHES: WSU - Mike Price (Puget Sound '69) has a 73-74-0 (.497) record at WSU in 14 years and a career mark of 120-119-0 (.502) in 22 seasons at Weber State (1981-88; 46-44-0) and WSU (1989-present). IDAHO - The Vandals are coached by Tom Cable (Idaho '86)...Cable is 6-17 in his three-year coaching career, all at Idaho.
WSU VS. IDAHO: The Cougars and Vandals have been playing football games against each other since 1894...WSU has won 64 of the 84 games, Idaho 17, with three ties...the Cougars are 10-3 against Idaho when the Vandals serve as WSU's second opponent of the season...in those games WSU has outscored Idaho 233-64...Mike Price is 8-5 against Idaho, including 3-2 as the Cougar coach, and 1-1 against Tom Cable.
DERTING SETS TWO RECORDS: Redshirt freshman Will Derting from Okanogan, Wash., set a pair of WSU records last week against Nevada, earning WSU's Pac-10 nomination for Defensive Player of the Week...Derting picked off three passes against the Wolf Pack, returning the last interception 98 yards for a score...his 98-yard return broke Lionel Thomas' record 93-yard return against UCLA in 1969 and his total return yardage of 98 is better than the Cougar record of 96 yards by Frank Miaki against Idaho in 1945...WSU's other Pac-10 nominees were receiver Jerome Riley for his five catch, 117 yard, one TD effort, and punter Kyle Basler, another redshirt freshman...he averaged 47.2 yards with four punts, including 57 and 56 yarders from WSU's endzone.
2002 CAPTAINS: WSU - QB Jason Gesser (17), CB Marcus Trufant (45), RS Curtis Nettles (18). IDAHO - DE Dennis Taeatafa (96), TB Zach Gerstner (20), QB Brian Lindgren (11), OT Jake Scott (74) and LB Patrick Libey (40).
COUGS BOAST STARTING EXPERIENCE: WSU fields an experienced team in 2002, with 32 players having started at least one game...collectively they made 326 career starts, including games in 2002...the Cougar defense boasts 135 career starts by 13 players, including 75 by six linemen, 13 by three linebackers, and 47 by four defensive backs...on offense eight linemen made 104 starts, five receivers made 41 starts, and four backfield players had 31 starts, total of 176:
IT'S WHAT'S UP FRONT THAT COUNTS: Washington State returns four of five starters on the offensive line and three of four on the defensive line, prompting many preseason publications to take notice. Tom Dienhart of The Sporting News ranked WSU's offensive line as the sixth best unit in the nation, and pegged the Cougars' big men on the other side of the ball as the ninth best group in the country. Individually, Dienhart rated guard Derrick Roche, center Tyler Hunt, and defensive tackle Rien Long among the top 20 at their respective positions nationally.
TRIVIA - WHO HOLDS UNOFFICIAL RECORD: While Will Derting now holds the official WSU record for the longest interception return in WSU history, who holds the "unofficial record?"...the answer is linebacker Curt Newton, who returned an interception 100 yards against Oregon State in 1990...the reason it is unofficial is Newton stepped in front of a two-point conversion pass against the Beavers, picked off the ball about two yards deep in the endzone, and went the distance for two WSU points...however, interceptions, runs, passes, etc., do not count in the "official" summaries and records when they occur as part of a point-after-touchdown play.
BEST WSU SEASONS: WSU has won 10 games in a season three times and nine games three times...Mike Price has coached two of the 10-win teams and one of the 9-win teams.
ROCHE A PRE-SEASON ALL-AMERICAN: Senior right guard Derrick Roche was selected preseason first team All-America by Football News. The Kent, Wash., native has started 27 games during his Cougar career and will begin the 2002 season on the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list. Roche was also named second team All-America in the preseason by The Sporting News.
WSU IN PAC-10 RANKINGS: Will Derting, Jonathan Smith and Kyle Basler lead the Pac-10 rankings this week in interceptions, scoring and punting, respectively...Devard Darling is tied for third in receptions, while Jerome Riley is third in both receiving yards/game and in total receiving yards... Smith is also tied for 5th in points responsible for and ninth in rushing...Drew Dunning is tied for third in field goals, while Jerome Riley is tied for fifth in receptions...Jason Gesser is fourth in pass completions and total offense and fifth in passing efficiency.
WSU IN NCAA RANKINGS: Seven Cougars are listed among the NCAA leaders this week, including linebacker Will Derting, tied for the national lead after making three interceptions against Nevada...Kyle Basler ranks third in punting and Jerome Riley's 117 receiving yards is ranked 13th...Riley is also ranked 49th with 5.0 receptions...Jason Gesser is ranked 28th in total offense and 30th in passing efficiency...other Cougars ranked include Devard Darling tied for 31st in receptions, Drew Dunning 27th in field goals and Jonathan Smith 16th in scoring.
SUPPLEMENTAL NOTES (taken from WSU's supplemental release): WSU is 40-31 at home since Mike Price took over in 1989 and 34-44 on the road...the Cougars, since 1980, average 25.7 points per game and have scored 30 or more points 90 times in the last 250 games...the Cougs are +1 in turnover margin this year, but -32 during Mike Price's 14 seasons at WSU...the 1994 and 2001 Price teams are the only ones to finish the year ahead in turnovers.
WSU 9-1 IN NON-CONFERENCE: Since 1999, the Cougars are 9-1 in non-conference outings, with the only setback a 38-34 loss to Idaho in 2000.
COUGS RESPOND TO BIG OPENING WINS: The last four times WSU has scored 30+ points in its opener, the Cougars have had winning seasons...in 1988 WSU started with a 44-7 win over Illinois, finished 9-3 and went to the Aloha Bowl...in 1989 the Cougars beat Idaho 41-7 and finished 6-5...in 1997 WSU began the year with a 37-34 win over UCLA, finished 10-2 and played Michigan in the Rose Bowl...in 2001 WSU started with a 36-7 victory over Idaho, finished 10-2 and won the Sun Bowl...this year the Cougars started out with a 31-7 win over Nevada.
COUGS LIKE IDAHO AS SECOND GAME: In 84 previous meetings with Idaho, the Cougars are 10-3 when the two teams tangled in WSU's second game of the season...in those 13 games WSU has outscored Idaho 233-64.