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The Washington State Cougars and the Stanford Cardinal entered the Oct.13, 2001 football game with undefeated records, however only one came out of the contest victorious.
Led by Jason Gesser's two touchdown passes, and 178 yards through the air, the Cougars won at Stanford for the first time since 1988 with a 45-39 come-from-behind victory over the 23rd-ranked Cardinal.
Washington State trailed 39-35 entering the fourth quarter before Gesser connected with Mike Bush, a starter for Washington State's basketball team, for an 11-yard touchdown pass to put the Cougars ahead with 8:22 to play. The score capped an 18-play, 86-yard march that chewed up 6:38 off the clock.
Washington State dominated time of possession in the fourth quarter and sealed the victory with a 26-yard field goal by Drew Dunning with 1:03 left to finish off a 13-play, 58-yard drive that consumed 5:38. John Tippins rushed for 75 yards, 39 in the final period. "We got into a huddle and said let's drive the ball down the field and end this," Tippins said. "We just wanted to go in and move the chains." Both teams set the tone by scoring on the first possession of the game. Stanford drove 71 yards in 11 plays from the opening kickoff, finishing with a 10-yard scoring pass from Cardinal quarterback Randy Fasani to tight end Darin Naatjes.
The Cougars came back scoring 21-straight points to give them a 21-7 lead. An eight-play, 75-yard drive tied the score 7-7, and then a 9-yard touchdown pass from Gesser to Mark Baldwin gave the Cougars a 14-7 lead.
Shortly thereafter, Washington State found the end zone again. Gesser threw a backward pass to wide receiver Collin Henderson who completed a 62-yard pass to Bush, giving the Cougars a 21-7 lead.
Stanford's Brian Allen ran for 75 yards in the first half and scored on a 17-yard run with 26 seconds to go in the first quarter. Allen finished the game with 133 yards and three touchdowns. Just 57 second later, Fasani connected again with Naatjes for an 18-yard touchdown pass tying the Cougars at 21.
The Cougars responded on special and defense to take a 35-24 lead at halftime. Josh Moen blocked a punt that Jeremy Bohannon picked up for a score with 11:35 left in the half. Future NFL safely Billy Newman picked off a Fasani pass and raced 54 yards for a touchdown with 4:21 remaining before intermission to give the Cougars a 35-21 lead. Mike Biselli's 35-yard field goal in the final minute of the half pulled the Cardinal within 11 points.
Allen brought the Cardinal within three of the Cougars halfway through the third quarter with a 1-yard run and a 2-point conversion run. He added a 17-yard touchdown run on the final play of the third quarter to give Stanford a 39-35 lead.
The Cougars went on to win the next four of its six games, including a 33-27 win over Purdue in the 2001 Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. Washington State finished 10-2, its first of three-consecutive 10-win seasons.
It was also a springboard to 2002 when the Cougars were co-champion in the Pac-10 and played in the Rose Bowl led by Gesser, who finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy balloting.
Washington State prepares for this Saturday's 2011 Homecoming Game where it will face off against No. 7 Stanford. This game will mark the 62nd time the two teams have met on the gridiron, with the Cougars trailing the series 35-25-1.
Official Website of Washington State University Athletics | Bohler Athletic Complex | PO Box 641602 Pullman, WA 99164-1602 | 1.800.GO.COUGS