Gesser Fires Three TD Passes

Aug. 16, 2001

PULLMAN, Wash. -- - Jason Gesser fired three touchdowns passes, two to junior Collin Henderson, as the Washington State Cougar offense came to life Wednesday in the second scrimmage since fall football camp opened last week.

Gesser, who hit scoring passes of 31 and 37 yards to Henderson and 13 yards to Scott Lunde, finished the evening scrimmage with 14 completions and 20 pass attempts for 209 yards. For the second straight scrimmage the junior signal caller did not throw an interception.

One area that has received a lot of attention this fall is field goal kicking and nothing head coach Mike Price has seen so far disappoints him.

'Our kicking game is not bad,' he commented Wednesday. 'We had some clutch field goals in the overtime sessions.'

While Price isn't ready to name a starter, sophomore Drew Dunning has put up the best numbers in WSU's two scrimmages. He went 9-for-10 in the opening scrimmage and came back with an 7-for-8 performance Wednesday. In two scrimmages senior Nick Lambert is 14-for-19 and freshman Graham Saderius is 10-for-16.

The Cougars are also taking a long look at five freshmen running backs in an attempt to find out who will join Jeremy Thielbahr and John Tippins behind senior starter Dave Minnich.

In two scrimmages Allen Thompson has rushed 17 times for 89 yards, while Jimmy Wilson has picked up 55 yards with his 13 carries.

'It was the freshman running back show,' offered Price. 'Allen Thompson and Jimmy Wilson look like they are in the lead, but right now I would not say there is an automatic redshirt for any of the five.'

Defensively the Cougars are also looking at a freshman or two, especially at linebacker.

'We started Will Derting at outside linebacker and he played well and they called Pat Bennett's name a lot on tackles,' Price said of two rookie backers.

For one of the few times WSU's number one offense was able to score on the top Cougar defensive unit. Scrimmage watchers think Gesser's first pass to Henderson for a touchdown might have been the first touchdown scored since a year ago when the top units faced off against each other in a spring or fall scrimmage.

'We made some more plays on offense than we have been doing,' commented Price. 'I was a little disappointed the number one offense scored on the number one defense. They got confused in the secondary and all it takes is one play. The offense executed the play perfectly when the defense was confused and it worked.'

'This was their fourteenth practice so we are halfway there,' said Price. 'They are a little tired, but our hustle and effort has been there from day one.'

WSU's next scrimmage will be Saturday morning in Martin Stadium. The team practice begins at 8:30 a.m. with the scrimmage to follow team drills.

INJURY UPDATE: WSU suffered another blow to its linebacker corp. Thursday when sophomore Al Genatone was placed on the inactive list for two to four weeks following an injury in Wednesday's scrimmage...Genatone underwent and MRI Thursday afternoon that showed a left knee sprain...the injury will not require surgery...receiver Jason White suffered a concussion and neck strain in the mid-week scrimmage and is expected to be out of action for about a week...Dave Minnich is currently sidelined with a groin strain and Price said he was in no hurry to rush him back to action...WSU's medical staff prepared a report for the Cougar coaches Wednesday that showed the number of injuries after the same number of practices over a three year 1999 WSU had 22 players on the injury report with 15 sidelined after 12 practices, while in 2000 there were 24 players on report and 23 out of action...this year there were 15 players on the report and 10 out of action...muscle strains were also down from a high of 15 in 1999 to four this fall...Price attributed the decline in injuries to the strength training and medical staff's summer program.


SCORING: Henderson 31 pass from Gesser, Newman 95 kickoff return, Henderson 37 pass from Gesser, Lunde 13 pass from Gesser, Trufant 53 field goal block return, Thompson 3 run.
RUSHING: Tippins 4/18, Gesser 5/-13, Patterson-Aumua 4/-2, Miller 2/-1, Wilson 6/21, Thompson 8/59, Bolton 1/-5, Anderson 2/-8, Kegel 1/-9, Ena 2/-10.
PASSING: Gesser 14/20/0/209/3/37, Ena 7/16/1/114/0/42, Kegel 4/10/0/49/0/17.
RECEIVING: McElrath 6/68, Thielbahr 1/10, Henderson 4/97, Martin 4/78, Bush 1/6, Lunde 4/44, Ostrander 1/12, Anderson 1/20, Thompson 1/18, Burnette 1/6, Riley 1/13.
SACKS: Newman, Brown 3, Acholonu, Derting, Dillon, Bennett, Williams.
FIELDGOALS: Dunning 7/8, Lambert 8/9, Siderius 5/7.


SCORING: Minnich 6 run.
RUSHING: Ena 3/-19, Minnich 6/46, Anderson 3/-4, Wilson 7/34, Patterson-Aumau 6/2, Bolton 2/2, Hurd 2/-8, Thompson 9/30, Gesser 5/-6, Miller 5/-2, Tippins 1/-3.
PASSING: Ena 1/5/0/5/0/5, Kegel 2/7/1/18/0/9, Gesser 5/12/0/87/0/45, Hurd 5/14/1/33/0/16.
RECEIVING: Bush 1/45, Ostrander 2/21, Henderson 1/9, Martin 1/6, Harvey 3/23, Cook 1/6, Douglas 2/6, Lunde 1/17, White 1/9.
INTERCEPTION: Price, Sheridan, Trufant.
SACKS: Tupai, Shavies 2, Cook, Acholonu 2, Long, Olson.
FIELDGOALS: Dunning 9/10, Lambert 6/10, Siderius 5/9.

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