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Leading up to the Nov. 2, 2002 contest, Washington State had quite the record. Since the start of the 2001 season, the Cougars had won 17 of 20 games marking the best record for a 20-game stretch since the 1929-30 seasons.
Against No. 16 Arizona State, No. 8 Washington State improved its record with a 44-22 win.
Washington State quarterback Jason Gesser threw for three touchdowns and broke Jack Thompson's school mark for career passing yards. Gesser was 18-of-32 for 250 yards which gave him 7,823 career passing yards. This surpassed Thompson's mark of 7,818 which was set from 1975-78.
Jermaine Green executed two key plays in the third and fourth quarter to secure the Cougar win. Green rushed for 13-yards with 1:06 to go in the third quarter for a touchdown, giving Washington State a 37-8 lead. Green's second touchdown came with 9:47 to go in the fourth where he ran the ball 10-yards into the end zone.
Arizona State quarterback Andrew Walter completed 31-of-52 passes for 328 yards, connecting with Mike Pinkard twice in the fourth quarter for touchdown passes. Pinkard received a 35-yard pass from Walter in the first minute and a half of the fourth for a score as well as a 23-yard pass with 6:19 to go in the game.
Arizona State tried stopping Washington State, but the gap was too big. The Cougars ran for 135 yards while holding the Sun Devils to 37 rushing yards.
Washington State started the game with intensity as it scored on its first possession with a 31-yard pass from Gesser to Jerome Riley. A 1-yard pass to Troy Bienemann with 8:49 left in the first quarter gave the Cougars a 14-0 lead. Washington State kicker Drew Dunning increased the lead to 17-0 after hitting a 31-yard field goal after a fumble by Arizona State.
Mike Barth was the only member of the Sun Devil team to score for Arizona State. Barth got points on the scoreboard with 59 seconds left in the first quarter with a 36-yard field goal. He added a 22-yard field goal with 6:45 left in the second half.
A 47-yard field goal by Dunning and a 39-yard pass from Gesser to Riley ended the first half for the Cougars giving Washington State a 27-6 lead going into the halftime. Gesser surpassed former Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf's career record by throwing 62 touchdown passes. Leaf threw 60 from 1995-97.
Gesser capped his Cougar career by throwing for 3,408 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2002. He led the Cougars to the conference title and a shot at the Rose Bowl where Washington State lost 34-14 against eighth-ranked Oklahoma.