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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
WSU Football Looks To Snap Streak At Stanford
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 10/08/2001
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Oct. 8, 2001

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WHO: WSU Cougars (5-0 overall, 3-0 in Pac-10) at #22c/23w Stanford Cardinal (3-0, 2-0 in Pac-10)
WHAT: Pacific-10 Conference Cougar Football
WHEN: Saturday, October 13, Kickoff 2:00 p.m. PDT - Stanford Homecoming
WHERE: Stanford Stadium (85,500, Grass), Stanford, Calif.
TV: No Live TV, Fox Sports Northwest will air the replay Sunday, 10:00 a.m., Oct. 14.

THE COACHES:
WSU - Mike Price (Puget Sound '69) has a 68-73-0 (.482) record at WSU in 13 years and a career mark of 114-117-0 (.494) in 22 seasons at Weber State (1981-88, 46-44-0) and WSU (1989-present). STANFORD - Stanford is coached by Tyrone Willingham (Michigan State '77), now in his seventh season at The Farm...Willingham is 38-33-1 in his career, all at Stanford.

WSU VS. STANFORD:
The Stanford Cardinal hold the upper hand against WSU since the first game was played in 1936, a 14-13 Cougar win...Stanford leads the series 30-20-1, including the last three games and eight of the last 10 games...WSU's last win over Stanford was 38-28 in 1997.

FAST STARTS CARRY COUGARS:
In the last two games, WSU has scored 45 first quarter points and 21 in the second quarter while posting wins over Arizona and Oregon State...that's 66 points by halftime...small wonder WSU thumped Arizona 48-21 and held off OSU 34-27...perhaps even more remarkable, WSU led Arizona 28-0 after the first eight minutes and posted a 31-0 lead over Oregon State with 10:23 to play in the second quarter...WSU's 28 first-quarter points at Arizona was a school record against a league foe...WSU's first quarter high is 35 points against Louisiana-Lafayette in 1997, while the WSU record for points in the first quarter of a league game was 21 on several occasions.

WSU WINS BY 23-POINT MARGIN:
One of the goals this year for the WSU football team has been to turn the close losses of last season into wins in 2001...so far it is working, with the Cougs winning five games by an average margin of 23 points...the closest has been a seven-point win over Oregon State...last year the outcome of seven of WSU's 11 games was determined by seven points or less, with the Cougars going 3-4 in those seven games, including three overtime losses...two of the close games last year were wins over Boise State and Cal and a triple-OT loss at Arizona, but none of those return games this year were close.

McELRATH AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS:
Nakoa McElrath, WSU's senior receiver is now ranked 15th nationally in receptions, 6.80 per game, and seventh in reception yards, 119.60 per game...in addition he is ranked tied for 16th, averaging 9.60 points per outing, and 41st-tie in all-purpose running at 124.20 yards per game.

McELRATH COULD CHALLENGE WSU RECORDS:
Nakoa McElrath, averaging 6.80 receptions per game and 119.60 yards per game, is on pace to set two Cougar single-season records...at his current pace he could finish with 75 receptions for 1,315 yards...both marks are better than WSU records, 67 receptions by current WSU receiver coach and offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller, and 1,151 receiving yards by Timm Stallworth.

COUGAR RECEIVERS STEP UP:
WSU's top four receivers, Nakoa McElrath, Mike Bush, Trandon Harvey and Jerome Riley, are putting up numbers that rival those of the Fab Five in 1997...through five games WSU's top four receivers have caught 69 passes for 1,320 yards...in 1997 the Fab Five had 79 receptions for 1,426 yards through five games.

SCORING ROLL:
WSU has scored 36, 41, 51, 48 and 34 points in five games...the last time WSU scored 30+ in five straight games was 1997 (stretched to six games) and the last time they had three games with 40+ points was 1989.

MIKE BUSH SHOWS FOOTBALL SKILLS:
Junior Mike Bush, WSU's top basketball player who averaged 15.9 points and 5.2 rebounds last winter, has now made a name for himself on the football field...Bush joined the Cougar receiver corps last spring and has started all five games...against Idaho Bush went 4/97, followed by Boise State 2/69 and one TD, California 5/144 and one TD, Arizona 7/110 and one TD and OSU 2/21 and one TD...Bush currently ranks 21st nationally and is fourth in the Pac-10, averaging 80.20 receiving yards per game...the last significant football-basketball player for the Cougars was Kitrick Taylor, who started with the football team (1982-83-85-86) and then joined the basketball team (1985-87)...Paul Mencke also played both sports in 2000-01, although he never started a basketball game.

COUGS SHUT DOWN THE RUN:
WSU has allowed just 299 net rushing yards in the first five games, 74 yards by Idaho, 54 yards by Boise State, 71 by California, 76 by Arizona and 24 by Oregon State...WSU currently ranks seventh nationally allowing 59.80 yards per game...in 1994 WSU had a string of five mid-season games when the opponents each had less than 100 yards rushing, but WSU has not, in modern times, held the first five opponents of the season to less than 100 yards.

RECORDS FALL IN CAL GAME:
Two one-game records and one career mark fell during WSU's 51-20 win over California Sept. 22...they were:

  • Lamont Thompson picks off one Cal pass, the 15th interception of his career and a WSU record,
  • A school record three receivers each tally over 100 yards receiving, Nakoa McElrath 163, Mike Bush 144 and Jerome Riley 124,
  • WSU quarterbacks throw for a school record 513 yards - Jason Gesser 432, Matt Kegel 53 and Tali Ena 28.

    WSU EXPLODES IN FIRST FIVE GAMES:
    WSU has scored 210 points in the first five games of the 2001 season, second to the 1907 team's 244 points in five games...in 1988 WSU scored 209 points in the first five games, while in 1996 the Cougars scored 190 points and in 1997 it was 182 points...WSU's point margin through five games is 115 points, or 23 points per game...the Cougars are also averaging 488 yards per game with a total of 2,440 yards, the second most ever by WSU in the first five games...WSU's 1988 team holds the record with 2,837.

    HOLIDAY SHINES:
    Junior transfer Adam Holiday only sees action in about 7-10 plays a game, but he has made a huge difference for the Cougs...the kickoff specialist has booted 25 of his 40 kickoffs into the endzone and has 19 touchbacks, with only six of his endzone kicks returned.

    WSU'S OVERTIME EXPERIENCE:
    The Cougars are 1-4 in overtime games...WSU played three overtime games last year and lost all three, including back-to-back OT losses at Arizona (3 OT) and at home against ASU (1 OT), plus a 1-OT loss to Oregon...in 1996, Washington beat WSU 31-24 in overtime in Pullman...WSU's other OT game was a 35-34 win over Arizona in 1997 in Pullman.

    INJURY UPDATES:
    Information as of Oct. 8 - PROBABLE: RB Dave Minnich (knee bruise), QB Jason Gesser (chest bruise). QUESTIONABLE: LB Alex Nguae (ankle sprain), DB Josh Moen (knee strain). OUT: LB Will Derting (ACL, right knee), OL Gerald Cook (LEFT knee), CB Marcus Trufant (broken wrist).

    LONG DRIVES:
    WSU has had 23 scoring drives of 50 yards or longer, including seven in a win over California...six of those 21 drives have been 80 or longer, 13 were 70 or longer and 17 were 60 yards or longer...One drive at Arizona covered 87 yards in 18 plays and lasted 8:06, the longest time consuming drive in Mike Price's WSU tenure.

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

  • The Cougars have scored in 200 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 194 consecutive games since a 44-0 shutout at Ohio State in 1984,

  • The Cougars have scored in 165 consecutive home games since a 21-0 loss to Oregon State in Pullman in 1956.

    DUNNING HOT:
    Sophomore Drew Dunning has hit 10 of his 12 field goal attempts, with a long of 49...he has tried 26 PATs and the only two not successful were long range boots after WSU penalties...he has scored 54 points.

    WSU'S EXPERIENCED SECONDARY:
    WSU's starting secondary for Stanford has a collective 62 starts and 26 interceptions - seniors Lamont Thompson (27 starts, 16 interceptions) and Billy Newman (28, 7), and sophomores Jason David (4, 1) and Eric Coleman (2, 2)...the injured Marcus Trufant (21, 7) is currently sidelined.

    WSU'S SACK ATTACK:
    WSU's defense has racked up 19 sacks this season, including seven sacks at Boise State...the seven sacks against BSU is the most since the 1994 club recorded 10 in a 21-7 win over Oregon in Pullman...the school record is 48 sacks in 1989....WSU needs to average 4.4 sacks per outing to break the current record.

    NEWMAN COLLECTS 277 TACKLES:
    Billy Newman, WSU's senior safety has 277 career tackles to rank 12th on WSU's single season list...Newman is only five tackles away from Steve Gleason, ninth on the list with his 282 tackles, 1973-77...Newman made 45 tackles as a freshman, led WSU in 1999 with 105, then tacked on 100 more last year to again lead the Cougars...he also has six career interceptions...if he records 100 tackles this season he will finish with 350 career tackles and rank fourth...the school record holder is Lee Blakeney with 524...Newman could have more tackles than any non-linebacker in WSU history.

    WSU INCHES UP NATIONAL POLLS:
    WSU's 5-0 start is beginning to catch the attention of voters in the national polls...WSU is 27th in the Associated Press poll of writers, while the Cougars are 28th in the USA Today poll of coaches...The Cougs are the only unranked 5-0 team...WSU was last ranked in 1997.

    MINNICH TOPS 100 YARDS FOR A SIXTH TIME:
    Senior Dave Minnich topped the 100-yard rushing total four times last season and three this season, including 34 carries for 195 yards, both career highs, last week against OSU...Minnich transferred from Mt. San Jacinto College last August to shore up WSU's thin running back stable and now is the starter with six starts under his belt.

    MINNICH RUNS, THROWS & CATCHES TD PASSES:
    Dave Minnich had quite a day against OSU, rushing 34 times for 195 yards, both career highs...he also threw a 22-yard TD pass to Nakoa McElrath and caught a seven yard TD pass from Jason Gesser, plus he made two tackles and forced a fumble after Jason Gesser threw an interception.

    JASON GESSER NOTES:
    2001 season: Jason Gesser's 432 yards passing against California was the third best performance ever by a Cougar QB...Drew Bledsoe's 476 yards against Utah in the 1992 Copper Bowl is the WSU record, while Ryan Leaf threw for 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...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.

    GESSER'S NATIONAL RANKING:
    Jason Gesser, through five games, ranks 18th nationally in total offense at 265.20 yards per game, 14th in pass efficiency at 155.72 and tenth in points responsible for at 16.80.

    GESSER PUSHES CAREER TOTALS:
    Jason Gesser now ranks ninth on WSU's career lists for passing, 3,718 yards, and eighth in total offense, 3,930 yards...Gesser needs 217 passing yards to pass Steve Birnbaum and 238 total offense yards to pass Chad Davis.

    COUGS AGAINST RANKED TEAMS SINCE 1995:
    In 2000 WSU was 0-4 against ranked teams, losing to #22 Arizona (47-53, triple OT), #18 OSU (9-38), #7 Oregon (24-27, OT) and #6 Washington (3-51)... in 1999 WSU did not meet a ranked team...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: at No. 2 Nebraska, at No. 5 USC and at No. 12 Oregon.

    COUGS GO MARINES:
    While looking for a few good men, 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 in the fall of 1999 as a freshman after four years in the service...last 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.

    COUG O-LINE AVERAGES 286:
    WSU's offensive line weighs in at a collective 1,430 pounds, or an average of 286 pounds...the heavyweight of the group is Phil Locker at 305 pounds, followed by Josh Parrish at 296 pounds...next is Derrick Roche at 281, followed by Joey Hollenbeck at 277...center Tyler Hunt weighs in at 271, the lightest of the group...last year's O-Line averaged 288 for much of the season.

    PRICE DEAN OF PAC-10 COACHES:
    WSU coach Mike Price is the dean of Pac-10 coaches with 13 seasons at WSU and with 114 career wins...he is also number three in wins at WSU with a 68-73-0 (.482) record...Babe Hollingberry was 93-53-14 (.625) during his 17-year tenure with the Cougars, 1926-42...Jim Walden, 1978-86, is third in victories with 44...Walden is now part of WSU's radio broadcast team...among WSU head coaches who served five or more years, only Hollingbery and Jim Sutherland, 37-39-4 (.488) have better records than Price

    WSU ON THE ROAD AT HOME:
    In years to come it may be a trivia question - When did the Cougars play on the road at home?...Sept. 18, 1999 Idaho was officially the home team and the Cougars were the visiting team, complete with white uniforms...and ditto Aug. 30, 2001...Idaho currently uses WSU's Martin Stadium as their home field in an effort to qualify for NCAA D-I status.

    ROAD WINS:
    In Mike Price's 12-year WSU career, the Cougar road record of 3-2 in 2000 marked the first time the Cougs had a winning record on the road and did not go to a bowl game...WSU was 4-2 on the road in 1992 and played in the Copper Bowl...in 1994 WSU was 5-2 on the road and played in the Alamo Bowl...and in 1997, the year of the Cougs' Pac-10 title, the team was 4-2 on the road.

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