WSU Cougars To Face Oklahoma In Rose Bowl

Dec. 25, 2002

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WHO: #7/7/6 WSU Cougars (10-2 overall, 7-1 in Pac-10) vs. #8/8/7 Oklahoma Sooners (11-2, 6-2 Big 12)
WHAT: 2003 Rose Bowl
WHEN: Wednesday, January 1; Kickoff 2:00 p.m. PST
WHERE: Rose Bowl (92,000, grass), Pasadena, Calif.
TV: ABC Sports live; No WSU replay will be available.

THE COACHES: WSU - Mike Price (Puget Sound '69) has an 83-77-0 (.519) recordat WSU in 14 years and a career mark of 129-121-0 (.518) in 22 seasons at WeberState (1981-88; 46-44-0) and WSU (1989-present). OKLAHOMA - The Soonersare coached by Bob Stoops, who has an Oklahoma and career mark of 41-9 in fourseasons since taking over the head coaching reins in 1999.

WSU VS. OKLAHOMA: WSU and the Oklahoma Sooners have met two times on thegridiron, with Oklahoma winning both times, with both contests played in Norman,Oklahoma...the Sooners won the first game 28-0 in 1938 and the second meetingresulted in a 21-0 Oklahoma win in 1967...as head coaches, Oklahoma's BobStoops has not coached against WSU and the Cougars' Mike Price has not coachedagainst Oklahoma...Price did face Oklahoma while at Missouri, 1978-79-80.

LONG CAPTURES OUTLAND TROPHY: WSU defensive tackle Rien Long, ajunior from Anacortes, Wash., was named winner of the 2002 Outland Trophy,which is presented each year by the Football Writers Association of America to thenation's best interior lineman...Long was one of three finalists and received theaward Dec. 12 during the ESPN Football Awards Show from Orlando, Florida...heis the first Cougar football player to win a national position award.

GESSER MAKES TWO SEMIFINAL LISTS: WSU record setting quarterbackJason Gesser was named a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien Quarterback Awardand was one of 10 players selected by the Walter Camp Foundation for their playerof the year award...Gesser now owns WSU quarterback records for passing yards(8,591), total offense yards (8,815), touchdown passes (69), TD passes inconsecutive games (24), career games with TD passes (30), and career games withmultiple TD passes (21)...he is also the winningest starting quarterback in Cougarhistory, 24-10...in the past two seasons he has directed WSU to a 20-4 mark, thefifth best record by any D-I team. . (For details see Gesser pages 3-5)

COUGAR ALL-AMERICANS IN 2002: Four Cougar football players have beennamed to post-season All-America teams:Jason Gesser, quarterback - College Football News first team; CNNSI honorablementionRien Long, defensive tackle - AP, FWAA, CNNSI, TSN and ESPN.com first teamDerrick Roche, offensive guard - AFCA first team, AP, TSN and CNNSI secondteamMarcus Trufant, cornerback - ESPN.com first team, AP Second team, CNNSIhonorable mention

PRICE AFCA REGIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR: For the fourth time in hiscareer and for the second straight year, WSU head coach Mike Price has beennamed regional coach of the year by the American Football CoachesAssociation...he also received the award in 1987, 1997 and 2001 (WSU).

2002 CAPTAINS: WSU - QB Jason Gesser (17), CB Marcus Trufant (45), RS CurtisNettles (18). OU: RB Quentin Griffin (22), QB Nate Hybl (8), LB Teddy Lehman(11), TE Trent Smith (88), QB Jason White (18), WR Andre Woolfolk (17).

TRUFANT GRABS 11TH INTERCEPTION: MarcusTrufant intercepted one pass against Oregon to give him 11career thefts...he is now sixth on WSU's career list, tiedwith Don Paul and Torey Hunter...Trufant grabbed twointerceptions as a freshman (1999), then three each of thelast three years...he has 139 interception return yards.

TRUFANT MOVES UP PUNT RETURN LISTS: MarcusTrufant returned four punts 110 yards against Montana Stateearlier this season, including returns of 52 and 47yards...only two players have returned punts for more yardsin a game than Trufant...Shawn Tims, in 1997 against USL,and Kitrick Taylor against Oregon in 1983...Trufant hasalso moved into second on the single season list with 392punt return yards this season...in addition, he is nowseventh on the career list with 439 return yards.

DUNNING SETS RECORD: Junior Drew Dunning, who set aWSU record for kickers with 101 points last year, hasbroken his own record and the overall WSU scoring recordwith 111 points this year...in addition he has moved into atie for fourth on the WSU career list...with one game to playthis year and another full season, he is on track to top JasonHanson's school record 328 points.

SCORING STREAKS:

  • The Cougars have scored in 212 consecutive Pacific-10games, the longest active streak for any league team...thelast time WSU was shut out in Pac-10 play was at OregonState in 1975;
  • WSU has scored in 213 consecutive games since a 44-0shutout at Ohio State in 1984...the streak is the fifth longestamong D-I schools.
  • The Cougars have scored in 174 consecutive MartinStadium home games since a 21-0 loss to Oregon State inPullman in 1956.

    COUGS IN THE POLLS: In the latest national polls, WSUremained seventh in both the Associated Press and USAToday/ESPN polls and sixth in the BCS poll...WSU hasnow been included in 26 consecutive rankings over twoseasons, the most ever for the Cougars

    NEWCOMERS SCORE FOR WSU: The Cougars havescored 50 touchdowns this season, 46 offensively and fourdefensively...31 of those touchdowns have been scored byfirst-year players...on offense Devard Darling has scored 12TD's, Jermaine Green 10, Jonathan Smith seven, TroyBienemann and Sammy Moore one each...redshirt freshmanWill Derting has one of WSU's three defensive touchdowns.

    DARLING EQUALS RECORD: Devard Darling has caught11 touchdown passes this year, equaling the Cougar recordfor TD receptions...Chris Jackson and Kevin McKenzieeach caught 11 TD receptions during the 1997 season.

    JASON DAVID'S RECORD STREAK: WSU's juniorcornerback Jason David picked off opponent passes in fivestraight games before being sidelined with a brokencheekbone, then resumed the streak at UCLA...he startedthe streak against Montana State with oneinterception...then, in order, he had interceptions againstCalifornia (1), USC (1), Stanford (2) and Arizona (1), thenUCLA (1) after returning from the injury...no other WSUplayer has ever had interceptions in six straightgames...David is now ninth on the Cougar career list with10 career interceptions.

    COUGS OVERCOME OPPONENT LEADS: WSU has hadto come from behind in all but the Idaho (WSU led 21-0),Stanford (23-0) and ASU (17-0) games...Nevada led 7-0,Ohio State 3-0, Montana State 7-0, California 14-0, USC 7-0, Arizona 10-5, Oregon 21-17, Washington 7-0 and UCLA14-7...the Cougars came back to take the lead in everygame, including the losses at Ohio State and to Washington.

    6-0 START MEANS THE ROSE BOWL: WSU has startedleague play 6-0 twice, 1930 and 2002, and in each season theCougars won the conference title and earned a berth in theRose Bowl...no other WSU team has started 6-0 in league.

    COUGS HALT PAC-10 RUSHERS: WSU has allowed just152 rushing yards in the last five games, Arizona -17, ASU37, Oregon 60, Washington 19 and UCLA 53...in eight Pac-10 games, WSU allowed 475 rushing yards, a league gameschool record average of 59.4 yards per game...WSU's 1994defense allowed just 78.0 rushing yards per league game, thebest ever for a Cougar defense until now...California's JoeIgber, with 111 rushing yards, is the only Pac-10 runningback this year to go over the century mark...the only otherrunning back to do so against WSU's defense is Ohio State'sMaurice Clarett with 230 yards.

    HENDERSON THE BEST QB?: Collin Henderson hascompleted all but one of his 12 passes in his four-year careerfor an amazing six touchdowns and 499 yards...that's a QBrating of 605.97...he completed one as a freshman in 1999for 24 yards and a TD...in 2000 he was 4-for-4 for 154yards and two scores...in 2001 he threw three passes for71(td)-62(td)-63 yards...this year he is 3-for-4 for 125 yardsand one TD pass...his only incomplete pass was againstWashington following a bobbled center snap.

    BACK-TO-BACK 10-WIN SEASONS RARE IN PAC-10:WSU is one of just five Pac-10 teams to post back-to-back10-win seasons since the 10-team league was formed: WSU2001-02, Oregon 2000-01, UCLA twice, 1997-98 and 1987-88, Washington twice, 1990-91 and 1981-82, and USC,1978-79.

    PREVIOUS PAC-10 VS. BIG XII IN ROSE BOWL: Theonly previous Rose Bowl match-up between the Pac-10 andBig XII (formerly Big 8) was 1941 when Stanford defeatedNebraska 21-13.

    FIRST 13-GAME SEASON FOR WSU: WSU has neverplayed more than 12 games in a season until this year.

    GESSER ON WSU SINGLE-SEASON LISTS: Jason Gesseris the first WSU player to record two seasons with over3,000 yards passing and total offense

    GREEN OVER CENTURY MARK: Jermaine Green hasrushed for more than 100 yards four times this year,including a career-best 180 yards against Oregon...in his lastouting he gained 112 yards against UCLA, 111 of them inthe first half before he retired because of the flu...he alsohad 123 yards against Montana State and 119 againstArizona in his first start of the year.

    SUCCESS ON THE ROAD: WSU has won eight of its lastnine Pac-10 road games...WSU closed out the end of the2000 season with a win at USC...last year the Cougarsdefeated Arizona, Stanford and ASU on the road before aloss at Washington, while this year WSU has defeatedCalifornia, Stanford, Arizona and UCLA in Pac-10 action.

    COUGS 10-WIN SEASONS AMONG BEST: WSU is theonly Pac-10 school with three 10-win seasons in the last 10years (actually accomplished in the last six years)...WSUwas 10-2 in 1997, 10-2 in 2001 and is currently 10-2...WSUis also making its second Rose Bowl appearance in the lastsix years...UCLA is the only other Pac-10 team with twoRose Bowl appearances in the last 10 years...WSU andWashington (1981-82-84) are the only Pac-10 teams to everpost three 10-win seasons in a six-year span.

    ROSE BOWL FACTS: The WSU-Oklahoma matchup in theRose Bowl is the first time since 1946 the RB matched aPac-10 team against a team from a conference other than theBig Ten...in 1946 USC lost to Alabama 34-14.

    GESSER CLIMBS PAC-10 LISTS: Jason Gesser's careertotals in touchdown passes, passing yards and total offenserank among the all-time best for players from the Pacific-10Conference...he is fourth in career TD passes, needing eightto catch Stanford's John Elway at 77...Gesser's career totalsnow rank him eighth in passing and seventh in totaloffense...he needs 74 yards to move into seventh on thepassing list and is 758 yards short of sixth...in total offense,he is 248 yards short of sixth, 256 out of fifth and 735 yardsout of fourth place.

    GESSER WINNINGEST COUG QB: Jason Gesser is 24-10as a starting quarterback for WSU, the most wins ever by astarting signal caller...during his 1999-2002 career, WSU is27-19...Mark Rypien was 11-13 as a starter, Ryan Leaf 15-9, Jack Thompson 14-15-1, Drew Bledsoe 14-14 and TimmRosenbach 12-11-1...Rypien was a member of four WSUteams with a combined record of 25-19-1.

    GESSER FIRST THREE-TIME CAPTAIN: Seniorquarterback Jason Gesser was named one of three teamcaptains for the 2002 season, along with cornerback MarcusTrufant and wide receiver Curtis Nettles. Gesser was alsoselected captain as a junior and sophomore, making him thefirst three-time captain in the 108-year history of Cougarfootball.

  • Set WSU passing record (now 8,591 yards) with a five-yardpass to Jerome Riley against ASU Nov. 2, 2002, in Pullman;broke Jack Thompson's mark of 7,818, 1975-78;
  • Set WSU total offense record (now 8,815) with a 37-yardpass to Jerome Riley in the third quarter at Arizona Oct. 26,2002; broke Jack Thompson's mark of 7,698, 1975-78;
  • Set WSU touchdown pass record (now 69) with a 31-yardpass to Jerome Riley against ASU Nov. 2, 2002; broke theold mark of 59 by Ryan Leaf, 1995-97;
  • Holds WSU touchdown passing records with TD passes in24 consecutive games and multiple TD passes in 21 gamesand career games with at least one TD pass, 30;
  • Has thrown all 69 career TD passes in his last 32 games;
  • Six career games over 300 yards passing (2nd WSU career);
  • Has tallied 26 games passing for 200 or more yards,breaking the WSU record of 23 by Ryan Leaf.2002 SEASON (Senior) -
  • Threw for 431 yards against California, the fourth best onegamepassing mark in WSU history;
  • With 250 passing yards and 245 yards of total offense,moved into WSU's single-season Top 10 list with 2,419passing yards and 2,360 yards in total offense.
  • Threw three TD passes in games against Idaho, Stanford andASU and four against California;
  • Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week for performance atCalifornia.2001 SEASON (Junior) -
  • Gesser's 432 yards passing against California was the thirdbest performance ever by a Cougar QB...the top two areDrew Bledsoe's 476 yards against Utah in the 1992 CopperBowl and Ryan Leaf's 447 yards against ASU in 1997;
  • Gesser had a streak of 64 passes without an interceptionbefore a pick against California when the receiver fell down;
  • All-Pac-10 second team and Pac-10 All-Academic honorablemention;
  • Led the Pac-10 in passing and total offense and third in passefficiency;
  • Nationally 15th in points responsible for, 24th in passefficiency, 21st in total offense.
  • Moved into fourth on WSU's single season Top 10 list forpassing yards (3,010) and total offense (3,111);
  • Threw 26 TD passes, the second best one-season total inWSU history.2000 SEASON (Sophomore) -
  • Gesser threw six touchdown passes at Arizona, the most everby a Cougar quarterback...his record setter was a 19-yardpass to Nakoa McElrath;
  • Gesser threw 130 passes without an interception beforeArizona picked off a pass in their 3-OT win...in that lossGesser threw for 348 yards, his best outing of the season.1999 SEASON (Freshman) -
  • Gesser was poised to start before being sidelined with athumb injury against Arizona in the fourth game of the year;
  • Gesser came back to play against Washington and start inWSU's win at Hawaii.

    GESSER HOLDS MOST WSU CAREER QB RECORDS:Jason Gesser is WSU's career passing leader...this year hehas surpassed WSU career records held by Jack Thompsonand Ryan Leaf, including total offense yards, passing yards,consecutive games with at least one TD pass, total TDpasses and games with two or more TD passes.

    GESSER TOSSES TD PASSES: In 2001 Jason Gesser had 26TD passes, second only to Ryan Leaf's 34 in 1997, whilethis year he has 27, now second on the Cougar single-seasonlist...all of Gesser's 69 TD passes have come in his last 32games.

    BASLER DOING THE JOB: Kyle Basler, WSU's redshirt freshman punter, was named Pac-10 Special Teams POW following theOregon game when he hit six punts for a 40.3 average...four of his punts were downed inside the Oregon 20...WSU has allowedjust one punt return in the last five games, two in the last six games...the lone returns were one for minus one yard by Stanford andone for 26 yards at UCLA...in WSU's first six games opponents returned 13 punts 173 yards (13.3 yard return average).

    WSU SACK/TFL RECORDS: The Cougars currently have a school record 52 (-350 yards) sacks and 98 (-470 yards) TFL's, whichranks second on WSU's Top 10 list...the TFL record is 100/-432...WSU currently leads the Pac-10 in sacks.

    FOUR COUGS AMONG SACK LEADERS: Four Cougar linemen, including three juniors, are ranked among WSU's career sackleaders...Isaac Brown currently ranks 3rd (19.5), Rien Long 6th (17.0), D.D. Acholonu 7th (-16.0), while senior Fred Shavies istied for 10th (12.0)...in addition they are among the sack yardage leaders: Brown 5th (-126), Long 6th (-119), Acholonu 9th (-109)and Shavies 10th (-94)...in the last four games WSU has registered 26 sacks, 22 by linemen.

    LONG MOVES INTO SINGLE-SEASON SACK/TFL LIST: Junior Rien Long, with 20.5 TFLs for -105 yards and 13.0 sacks for-85 yards this year, has jumped near the front of WSU's single season lists...the Outland Trohy winner ranks second in TFLs andthird in TFL yardage...he also is third in both single season sacks and sack yardage...Isaac Brown's eight sacks this year rankshim tenth on the WSU single-season list...Long is currently third nationally in sacks and fourth in TFL.

    2002 WASHINGTON STATE FOOTBALL SENIORSSENIORS TO PLAY FINAL GAME: Washington State will send 19 seniors to their last game when the Cougars and Oklahomasquare off in the Jan. 1, 2003, Rose Bowl...the list of 19 includes 15 players on scholarship and nine current starters, five onoffense, three on defense and one kicker...the offensive starters are WR Mike Bush, QB Jason Gesser, C Tyler Hunt, WR JeromeRiley and OL Derrick Roche...defensively, the starters are LB Mawuli Davis, DE Fred Shavies and CB Marcus Trufant, whileAdam Holiday is WSU's regular kickoff artist on special teams.

    EIGHT COUGS PAC-10 ACADEMIC PICKS: Eight WSUfootball players have been named to the 2002 Pacific-10Conference all-academic team, including three to the firstteam - Collin Henderson, Jeremey Williams and PatBennett...Henderson and Williams were named to the teamfor the third time

    FIVE COUGS PICKED ALL-PAC-10 FIRST TEAM: JasonGesser has been named Co-Offensive Player of the Year inthe Pacific-10 Conference and four of his teammates havebeen named to the all-league first team by the Pac-10's 10coaches...11 other Cougars received honorable mentionrecognition...Gesser and USC's Carson Palmer shared theleague's top offensive award...Derrick Roche was named tothe team for the second straight year, while Marcus Trufantwas one of three unanimous first-teamhonorees...Washington State has never before had five firstteam all-conference picks...the Cougs have had four first teamselections six times, the last in 1994 when all four wereon the defensive side of the ball.

    WSU DEFENSE HALTS LONG RUSHES: In the last 14years WSU has allowed just 163 runs of 20 yards or longerin 160 games...this year the Cougars have allowed nine runsof 20 or more yards and 35 runs of 10-19 yards.

    COUGS AGAINST RANKED TEAMS SINCE 1995: WSUis 9-17 against ranked teams since 1995...when WSU hasalso been ranked, the Cougars are 4-5.

    COUGS SCORE OFTEN: Since 1980 WSU has averagedmore than three touchdowns a game, currently boasting anaverage of 261 points per outing, including 34.8 points pergame this year.

    NOTHING LIKE HOME: WSU performs better at home thanon the road during Mike Price's 14 year tenure...at home theCougars are 45-32 (58.4%) and on the road the team is 38-45 (45.8%)...WSU's 6-0 Pullman record in 1997 is the bestever for the Cougars, while the 2001 record of 6-1 is the beston the road since the 1988 team also went 6-1.

    RUSHING TOTALS UNDER 100: In the last 14 years WSUhas held 61 of 160 opponents to less than 100 yardsrushing...the lows include Montana State -35 (1993),Arizona -17 (2002), Pacific -6 (1993) and Montana's -6(1995)...in those 160 games, WSU held opponents to 50 orless yards 17 times.

    100-YARD RUSHERS FEW: Only 60 running backs havebeen able to crack the 100-yard mark in the last 14 years and160 games against WSU's defense...USC's Mazio Royster,Washington's Beno Bryant, UCLA's Skip Hicks andReuben Droughns from Oregon are the only backs to havedone so in back-to-back seasons.

    COUGS BOAST STARTING EXPERIENCE: WSU fieldsan experienced team in 2002, with 43 players having startedat least one game...this season alone 40 players have startedat least one game...in all, the Cougars boast a collective 590starts, 256 by defensive players, 297 by offensive playersand 37 by kickers.

    RED ZONE: WSU has scored 45 times in 61 trips into the RedZone, 28 touchdowns and 13 field goals...the failures havebeen six missed field goals, three lost fumbles, twointerceptions, four on downs and four at the end of ahalf...opponents have scored 17 touchdowns and nine fieldgoals in 35 Red Zone appearances and failed three times byinterceptions, missed three field goals and failed on downsthree times.

    MIKE PRICE NOTES: WSU head coach Mike Price, the deanof Pac-10 coaches, will serve as head coach at this year'sEast-West Shrine Game January 11...Price is the secondwinningest coach in WSU history...his 83-77 record atWSU is second only to Babe Hollingbery, who was 93-53 in17 years as WSU's head coach (1926-42).

    TURNOVERS: WSU is -2 in turnovers for 2002...the Cougshave turned the ball over 26 times (14 fumbles, 12interceptions) and taken the ball away 24 times (7 fumbles,17 interceptions)...WSU didn't have a turnover againstMSU, the Cougs' first no-turnover game since playingOregon last season...WSU had one zero-fumble game,UCLA...in Mike Price's 14 seasons at WSU, only the 1994and 2001 teams finished on the plus side in turnovers.

    BREAKING DOWN TOP 22-44: WSU's starting lineupagainst UCLA of 22 players included 2 freshmen, 3sophomores, 8 juniors and 9 seniors, while the top 44 (twodeep)consists of 6 freshmen, 9 sophomores, 16 juniors and13 seniors...in the two-deep, WSU lists 15 freshmen andsophomores and 29 juniors and seniors.

    BUSH HAS A CATCH IN EVERY GAME: Mike Bush hascaught at least one pass in each of his 24 games as aCougar...he averages 17.6 yards a catch, hauling in 94career passes for 1,650 yards...last year he caught 10 TDpasses in his first collegiate season...only Kevin McKenziewith 11 (1997) had more TD catches in a season...Bush hasstarted every game of his WSU football career, havingjoined the team following his third year with the Cougarbasketball team...he completed his fourth varsity basketballseason in 2001-02.

    WSU IN PAC-10 RANKINGS: WSU ranks second in passingefficiency and rushing defense and third total offense,scoring offense, total defense and scoringdefense...individually Drew Dunning leads the league inscoring, kick scoring and field goals, while Jason Gesser istops in passing efficiency, fourth in total offense and fifth inpassing yards...Rien Long is tied for second in sacks andthird in TFL, while Jason David is first in interceptions andthird in total passes defended.

    WSU IN NCAA RANKINGS: WSU ranks seventh nationallyin rushing defense, ninth in passing efficiency, 12th inpassing offense, 11th in total offense and 15th in scoringoffense...individually Drew Dunning is third in field goalsand Rien Long is third in sacks and fourth in TFL...JasonGesser is fifth in passing efficiency and 19th in total offense,while Jason David leads the nation in interceptions.COUGS 20-4 IN LAST TWO SEASONS: Since the start ofthe 2001 season, WSU has won 20 of 24 games...in the1929-1930-1931 seasons WSU went 21-3, including 10-2(1929) and 9-1 (1930) seasons...WSU is currently fifthamong D-I teams the past two years: Miami is 24-0,Oklahoma 22-4, Marshall and Texas 21-4, and WSU 20-4.

    WSU TOPS 400 YARDS SIX TIMES: WSU notched fourstraight games with over 400 yards in total offense thisyear...in consecutive games, WSU ran and passed for 400-plus against: Montana State 405, California 578, USC 516and Arizona 410...after falling below the 400-yard markagainst Arizona State, the Cougars came back againstOregon with 467 yards and 541 yards at UCLA.

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