Football To Take On Ducks

Nov. 2, 2000

SPOKANE, Wash. - For Oregon coach Mike Bellotti and WashingtonStatecoach Mike Price, it's a three-game season.

No. 7 Oregon is a leading contender for the Rose Bowl, but the Ducks(7-1,5-0 Pac-10) must get past Washington State and California before closing theregular season at No. 14 Oregon State, tied with No. 8 Washington for secondplace in the Pacific-10.

To qualify for a bowl appearance, the Cougars (3-5, 1-4) must beatOregon, Southern California and Washington.

The Ducks are off to their best start since 1959 and enter Saturday'sgameat Martin Stadium in Pullman with their highest ranking since 1964.

'That's exactly what it is for them as well as for us. I don't knowthatanything we've done in the past, or anything they've done, really matters,'Bellotti said. 'I think every game is a new opportunity.'

The Ducks beat Arizona State 56-55 in double overtime last weekend,exposinga defense that allowed 667 yards of total offense. The Ducks still lead theconference in total defense, allowing an average of 262.4 yards per game.

Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington threw for 434 yards and tied aschoolrecord with six touchdown passes.

Washington State has had its own problems stopping the opposition, buttheCougars can move the football. Sophomore quarterback Jason Gesser has thrownfor 1,932 yards and 16 touchdowns this season, including a record six in atriple-overtime loss to Arizona.

The loss to Oregon State was only the second time this season theCougarsfailed to score 20 or more points.

'I have grave concerns about Washington State in terms of trying todefendJason Gesser,' Bellotti said. 'He's the leading passer in the conference. Hehas great scrambling ability ... ability to create.'

Although his team has had three consecutive losses, Price won't havedifficulty getting players ready for Oregon.

'For us, maybe last week was a wakeup call, in a sense,' Bellotti said.'We have to realize that every week you have to come ready to play in thisconference, especially when you go on the road and especially when you'reranked. I think it obviously gives added impetus or motivation for teams toplay their best games against us.'

Associated Press Writer

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