Cougars Defeat Bears In Conference Opener

Sept 22, 2001

Associated Press Writer

PULLMAN, Wash. - Jason Gesser threw for a career-high 432 yards andfour touchdowns as Washington State beat California 51-20 on Saturday in thePacific-10 opener for both teams Saturday.

Washington State (3-0, 1-0 Pac-10) started the season with three wins forthe first time since 1998. The Cougars passed for 513 passing yards, surpassedthe school record of 492 set in the 1992 Copper Bowl.

Gesser's favorite target was Nakoa McElrath, who caught nine passes for 163yards and two touchdowns.

Two other Cougars receivers caught passes for more than 100 yards. Mike Bushcaught five for 144 yards and a touchdown and Jerome Riley had 124 yards and atouchdown on three catches.

Gesser completed 19 of 43 passes and was intercepted once. Washington Statehad 605 yards of total offense, compared to Cal's 367 yards.

Dave Minnich scored on a 2-yard run and Alan Thompson ran 6 yards foranother score.

Drew Dunning hit field goals of 38, 23 and 37 yards as Washington State tooka 16-13 halftime lead.

The Bears (0-3, 0-1) lost 118 yards on 12 penalties, lost two fumbles andCal quarterbacks were intercepted twice.

Charon Arnold hauled in a 45 yard pass from Kyle Boller to put Cal up 7-3early.

Terrell Williams, starting in place of injured Cal running back Joe Igber,carried 17 times for 63 yards and caught a 15-yard scoring pass from Boller.

Eric Holtfreter took over for Cal starter Boller early in the second period,but Boller returned in the fourth quarter. Boller finished with 10 of 22 passattempts for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Holtfreter was 10-of-27 for 161yards.

Mark Jensen hit field goals of 45 and 20 yards for Cal.

Gesser's performance surpassed his previous best game total of 348 last yearagainst Arizona.

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