Oct. 26, 2001
By JOHN K. WILEY
Associated Press Writer
SPOKANE, Wash. - The last time Washington State and Oregon met, Cougars quarterback Jason Gesser broke his leg, and a Ducks field goal handed WSU its third overtime loss last season.
Washington State coach Mike Price knows the script likely will be different Saturday when the 14th-ranked Cougars play host to 11th-ranked Oregon at Martin Stadium in Pullman.
Last year, Oregon's Josh Frankel kicked a 47-yard field goal in overtime to beat WSU 27-24.
At 7-0 (4-0 Pacific-10) and ranked 10th in the initial Bowl Championship Series poll, this year's Cougars are a different team, Price said Tuesday.
"More importantly, we need to play our kind of football game: Keep the turnovers to a minimum, keep the penalties down, play disciplined football and play just a bit better than we have," Price said.
Price said the Ducks' upset loss to Stanford won't affect this game, or throw Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington off his stride.
"I don't think it's going to necessarily hurt him," Price said. "He's too
much a competitor to let something like just one loss get him down."
In Oregon's victory last season, Harrington completed 18 of 39 passes for 212 yards, a touchdown and an interception, but Price said the Cougars didn't see the real thing.
"I don't think he had one of his better games against us last year," Price said. "I think he's a great quarterback and I always have. Two years ago, he came into the game in Eugene and really took command. He's a competitor. I love the way he plays."
In last year's matchup, the Cougars took a 17-16 halftime lead and were up 24-16 before Oregon tied it in the fourth, then won it with the field goal.
"I don't think they were really ready for us last year," Price said of the Ducks (6-1, 3-1). "They didn't seem to have the fire, intensity and desire they've showed this season. The team that is going to play us this weekend is a lot better than the team that played us a year ago."