High Stakes For Cougars In 2001 Apple Cup

Nov. 12, 2001

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THE COACHES: WSU - Mike Price (Puget Sound '69) has a 72-74-0 (.493) record at WSU in 13 years and a career mark of 118-118-0 (.500) in 22 seasons at Weber State (1981-88, 46-44-0) and WSU (1989-present). WASHINGTON - The Huskies are coached by Rick Neuheisel (UCLA '84), who is 25-8 at UW in three years and 58-22 career in seven seasons.

WSU VS. WASHINGTON: The WSU-Washington series goes back to 1900...this year's game is the 94th in the series, with Washington winning 60, WSU 27...there have been six ties...WSU's last win in Husky Stadium was 41-35 in 1997...the Huskies have won the last three games, 16-9 in 1998, 24-14 in 1999 and 51-3 last year in Pullman.

COUGS MOVE UP IN RANKINGS: WSU, picked to finish last at the August Pac-10 Media Day gathering, has surprised the college football world with an 9-1 start... prior to this season, the last time WSU was nationally ranked was in 1997, when the Cougars finished ninth in both season-ending polls.

COUGS BOAST STARTING EXPERIENCE: WSU returns 17 starters from last year and now boasts 42 players who have made 486 career starts, including games this year...defensively seven players have made 83 starts on the defensive front, six linebackers have made 71 starts and five defensive backs have made 104 starts in the secondary...offensively there are 104 starts by 10 O-linemen, 46 by five receivers, 22 by two quarterbacks and 21 by four running backs.

McELRATH AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS: Nakoa McElrath, WSU's senior receiver is now ranked 25th (tie) nationally in receptions, 6.60 per game, and 17th in reception yards, 94.20 per game.

McELRATH CHALLENGING WSU RECORDS: Nakoa McElrath, averaging 6.60 receptions per game and 94.20 yards per game, could set two Cougar single-season records...he needs six receptions and 202 receiving yards to break the records...the WSU records are 67 receptions by current WSU receiver coach and offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller, and 1,151 receiving yards by Tim Stallworth.

COUGAR RECEIVERS STEP UP: Nakoa McElrath and Mike Bush have turned into an Awesome Twosome for the Cougars, pulling in 102 passes between them for 1,819 yards through the first 10 games...together they rank fourth nationally in touchdowns, 1.60 per game, fifth in receiving yards, 181.9 per game, and 11th in receptions per game, 10.20 per game.

FOOTBALL NEWS TABS McELRATH: Senior wide receiver Nakoa McElrath has been picked by Football News as one of 15 semifinalists for Offensive Player of the Year...other Pac-10 players in the list of 15 are UCLA's DeShaun Foster and Oregon's Joey Harrington.

WSU ROAD WIN STREAK: WSU's longest string of consecutive road wins is seven during the 1929 and 1930 seasons...this year the Cougars have won all five road games and six in a row, including last year's game at USC.

NATIONAL HONORS: Four Cougars have been named to national semifinal award lists during the past week:

  • Jason Gesser - Davey O'Brien Award - Quarterbacks (one of 12)
  • Drew Dunning - Lou Groza Award - Kickers (one of 20)
  • Lamont Thompson - Jim Thorpe Award - Defensive Backs (one of 12)
  • Nakoa McElrath - Fred Biletnikoff Award - Receivers (one of 11)

    MINNICH TOPS 100 YARDS SEVEN TIMES: Senior Dave Minnich has registered seven 100-yard rushing games in his career, including 34 carries for 195 yards, both career highs, against Oregon State this season...Minnich had arthroscopic knee surgery Oct. 10, missing the Stanford and MSU games...he played against Oregon, but sat out the UCLA game last weekend

    SCORING STREAKS: WSU currently has three significant scoring streaks on the line:

  • The Cougars have scored in 204 consecutive Pacific-10 games, the longest active streak for any league team...the last time WSU was shut out in Pac-10 play was at Oregon State in 1975,

  • WSU has scored in 199 consecutive games since a 44-0 shutout at Ohio State in 1984,

  • The Cougars have scored in 168 consecutive home games since a 21-0 loss to Oregon State in Pullman in 1956.

    LAMONT THOMPSON HOLDS RECORD: Senior Lamont Thompson is in the record books with his 22 career interceptions, eight in 2001 and four in one game against UCLA....his career highlights include:

  • 22 Career Interceptions (returned 222 yards...10.1 average, one touchdown) - WSU record, Pac-10 record,
  • 8 Interceptions in 2001 - equals WSU record set by Rick Reed, 1968,
  • 4 Interceptions vs. UCLA, 11/3/01 - WSU record, equals the Pac-10 record shared by seven other defenders.

    DUNNING HOT: Sophomore Drew Dunning has hit 14 of his 18 field goal attempts, with a long of 49...he is 42 of 46 on PATs...two of his misses were blocked against MSU and the other two misses were long range boots after WSU penalties...he has scored 84 points and is nine points short of Rian Lindell, third on WSU's single season Top 10 list...Dunning is making a strong case for Pac-10 honors in his sophomore season...he is third in Pac-10 scoring and the top kicker in the group, first in field goals per game (1.40) and second in field goal percentage (80.0%)...Dunning is one of 20 Groza Award semifinalists.

    COUGS'S RUN DEFENSE: WSU allowed just 299 rushing yards in the opening five games, 799 in the next three when decimated by injuries, then just 85 by UCLA and 130 by ASU...none of WSU's first five opponents topped 100 yards rushing, a Cougar first in the modern era of football statistics...not since 1995 has WSU held six of the first nine opponents to less than 100 yards rushing.

    OFFENSE AMONG WSU'S BEST: The Cougars' offense has generated 4,503 yards (450.3 yard average), the third most ever by WSU in the first 10 games...WSU's 1997 team holds the record with 5,004, while the 1988 team had 4,983 yards in the first 10 games.

    WSU'S EXPERIENCED SECONDARY: WSU's starting secondary for ASU has a collective 98 starts and 39 interceptions - seniors Lamont Thompson (32 starts, 22 interceptions) and Billy Newman (33, 8), junior Marcus Trufant (23, 8) and sophomore Jason David (10, 1) with Eric Coleman (5, 3) waiting in the wings.

    WSU'S SACK ATTACK: WSU's defense has racked up 33 sacks this season, including seven sacks against BSU and Stanford, the most in one game since the 1994 club recorded 10 in a 21-7 win over Oregon in Pullman...the school record is 48 sacks in 1989.

    MISC. NOTES: Pac-10 Player of the Week winners: Nakoa McElrath for his play against Boise State when he caught eight passes for 210 yards and three scores, walk-on Josh Moen after blocking a punt at Stanford that was returned for a TD, Lamont Thompson for his four-interception game against UCLA...WSU set three school records against California: 513 passing yards by Jason Gesser (432), Matt Kegel (53) and Tali Ena (28), three receivers with over 100 receiving yards, Nakoa McElrath 163, Mike Bush 144 and Jerome Riley 124, for the first time in school history, Lamont Thompson's 15 career interception...against Oregon State Dave Minnich rushed for a career high 195 yards, threw a 22-yard TD pass to Nakoa McElrath, caught a seven-yard TD pass from Jason Gesser, made two tackles and forced one fumble after Gesser threw an interception.

    NEWMAN SEVENTH IN CAREER TACKLES: Billy Newman, WSU's senior safety has 305 career tackles to rank seventh on WSU's single season list...Newman is seven tackles away from Gary Larson, sixth on the list with his 317 tackles, 1971-74...Newman made 45 tackles as a freshman, led WSU in 1999 with 105, then tacked on 100 more last year to again lead the Cougars...he also has eight career interceptions...John Rushing (344 tackles) is the only Cougar ahead of Newman who did not play linebacker.

    COUGS COLLECT FIVE PAC-10 WINS: For the seventh time in the 24 years since Pac-10 play began in 1978, WSU has won five or more conference games...the 2001 team, with a win in the Apple Cup, will finish with a 7-1 Pac-10 record, equaling the best league mark set by the 1997 team.

    LONG DRIVES: WSU has had 41 scoring drives of 50 yards or longer, including seven in a win over California...nine of those 41 drives have been 80 or longer, 23 were 70 or longer and 32 were 60 yards or longer...one drive at Arizona covered 87 yards in 18 plays and lasted 8:06, the longest time consuming drive in Mike Price's WSU tenure...at Stanford WSU had drives of 18 and 13 plays in the fourth quarter that consumed 12:16.

    GESSER'S NATIONAL RANKING: Jason Gesser, through 10 games, ranks 22nd nationally in total offense at 259.50 yards per game, 22nd in pass efficiency at 142.22 and 15th in points-responsible-for at 14.40.

    JASON GESSER NOTES: 2001 season: Gesser's 432 yards passing against California was the third best performance ever by a Cougar QB...the top two are Drew Bledsoe's 476 yards against Utah in the 1992 Copper Bowl and Ryan Leaf's 447 yards against ASU in 1997...Gesser's 374 passing yards against Montana State is his second best outing...he had a streak of 64 passes without an interception before a pick against California when the receiver fell down...2000 season: Gesser threw six touchdown passes at Arizona, the most ever by a Cougar quarterback...his record setter was a 19-yard pass to Nakoa McElrath...Gesser threw 130 passes without an interception before Arizona picked off a pass in their 3-OT win...in that loss Gesser threw for 348 yards, his best outing of the season.

    GESSER NINTH ON TOTAL OFFENSE LIST: Jason Gesser now ranks seventh on WSU's single season passing list with 2,502 yards, and he is eighth on the total offense list with 2,595 yards in 10 games this season...he needs 260 yards to move into fifth on the passing list and 148 yards to move into fourth on the total offense list.

    GESSER PUSHES CAREER TOTALS: Jason Gesser now ranks fifth on WSU's career lists for passing, 4,706 yards, and seventh in total offense, 4,512 yards...in passing Gesser needs 1,081 yards to pass Timm Rosenbach (4th)...in total offense he needs 1,491 yards to pass Rosenbach (4th).

    GESSER PLAYS IN JUST 25 GAMES: WSU junior quarterback Jason Gesser has played in just 25 games, starting 20.

    TURNOVERS: WSU is +13 in turnovers after nine games and ranks third (tie) nationally...1994 is the only season in the last 13 when the Cougars finished on the plus side in turnovers.

    PRICE ON COACH-OF-THE-YEAR LIST: WSU head coach Mike Price has been picked by Football News as one of 10 semifinalists for national coach of the year honors...Price was also a FN semifinalist in 1997 and went on to win the award...the other coaches picked last week are John Bunting, N. Carolina, Larry Coker, Miami, Gary Crowton, BYU, Ralph Friedgen, Maryland, Ken Hatfield, Rice, Paul Pasqualoni, Syracuse, Frank Solich, Nebraska, Tommy Tuberville, Auburn, and Tyrone Willingham, Stanford.

    BREAKING DOWN TOP 22-44: Against ASU, the Cougars' expected starting lineup of 22 players will include 1 freshman, 5 sophomores, 9 juniors and 7 seniors, while the top 44 (two-deep) consisted of 8 freshmen, 12 sophomores, 14 juniors and 11 seniors...in the two-deep, WSU lists 19 freshmen and sophomores and 25 juniors and seniors.

    NOTHING LIKE HOME: The Washington State Cougars perform much better at home than on the road during Mike Price's 12 year tenure...at home the Cougars are 39-31 (55.7%) and on the road the team is 33-43 (43.4%)...this year, however, WSU is 5-0 on the road and 4-1 at home...the Cougs have won six straight road games.

    HENDERSON THE BEST QB?: Receiver Nakoa McElrath recently joked, when asked if Jason Gesser or Matt Kegel threw the best pass, 'Collin Henderson'...small wonder...Henderson has completed all eight passes in his three-year career for an amazing five touchdowns and 374 yards...that's a QB rating of 698.95...he completed one as a freshman in 1999 for 24 yards and a TD...last year he was 4-for-4 for 154 yards and two scores...this year he has thrown three passes for 71-62-63 yards, plus two TDs...in has been on the receiving end of one TD pass from Dave Minnich (at ASU).

    APPLE CUP TRIVIA: WSU has won the last three Apple Cups in Seattle when the Cougars were coming off a win...in 1983 WSU beat California the previous week...in 1985 the Cougs downed Montana State before meeting the Huskies...in 1997 WSU beat Stanford the week before playing Washington...last week WSU won at Arizona State.

    SCHEDULING: Coaches often talk about whom an upcoming opponent faces the week before or the week after the two teams collide.

    COUGS AGAINST RANKED TEAMS SINCE 1995: In 2001, WSU is 2-1 against ranked teams, beating #9 UCLA and #23 Stanford, while losing to #11 Oregon...in 2000 WSU was 0-4 against ranked teams, losing to #22 Arizona (47-53, triple OT), #18 OSU (9-38), #7 Oregon (24-27, OT) and #6 Washington (3-51)... in 1999 WSU did not meet a ranked team...in 1998 WSU lost to No. 4 UCLA, No. 15 Oregon and No. 10 Arizona...in 1997 WSU defeated No. 22 USC and lost to 21st ranked ASU...unranked at the start of the season when WSU won, UCLA finished the year ranked seventh...in the final game of the year, WSU lost to co-national champion Michigan...in 1996 WSU lost at No. 5 Colorado, defeated No. 25 Oregon and No. 19 California and lost to No. 12 Washington...WSU, in 1995, suffered losses to three nationally ranked teams: at No. 2 Nebraska, at No. 5 USC and at No. 12 Oregon.

    PRICE DEAN OF PAC-10 COACHES: WSU coach Mike Price is the dean of Pac-10 coaches with 13 seasons and 118 career wins...he is number two in wins at WSU with a 72-74-0 (.493) record...Babe Hollingbery was 93-53-14 (.625) during his 17-year tenure with the Cougars, 1926-42...Jim Walden, 1978-86, is third in victories with 44...Walden is now part of WSU's radio broadcast team...among WSU head coaches who served five or more years, only Hollingbery had a better record than Price...Jim Sutherland was 37-39-4 (.488) in eight years.

    COUG ROAD STREAK: WSU has won all four official road games this year (Idaho counts as a road game since the Vandals use WSU's Martin Stadium and Idaho was the home team) and counting last year's win at USC, the road win streak is five...the last time WSU won five road games in a season was 1988...WSU has won five road games in a season three times, 1988, 1959 and 1930...the last time WSU won five straight road games was during the 1958 and 1959 seasons.

    HOLIDAY SHINES: Junior Adam Holiday only sees action in about 7-10 plays a game, but he has made a huge difference for the Cougs...the kickoff specialist has booted 44 of his 70 kickoffs into the endzone and has 28 touchbacks, with 16 of his endzone kicks returned...in 2000 WSU had just five kickoffs into the endzone and just two of them touchbacks.

    COUGS SCORE OFTEN: Since 1980 WSU has averaged more than three touchdowns a game, currently boasting an average of 25.7 points per outing.

    WSU ON THE ROAD AT HOME: In years to come it may be a trivia question - When did the Cougars play on the road at home?...Sept. 18, 1999 Idaho was officially the home team and the Cougars were the visiting team, complete with white uniforms...and ditto Aug. 30, 2001...Idaho currently uses WSU's Martin Stadium as their home field in an effort to qualify for NCAA D-I status.

    WSU'S OVERTIME EXPERIENCE: The Cougars are 1-4 in overtime games...WSU played three overtime games last year and lost all three, including back-to-back OT losses at Arizona (3 OT) and at home against ASU (1 OT), plus a 1-OT loss to Oregon...in 1996, Washington beat WSU 31-24 in overtime in Pullman...WSU's other OT game was a 35-34 win over Arizona in 1997 in Pullman.

    WSU SECOND IN PAC-10 DEFENSE: Since 1992 WSU has been in the top half of the conference in defense all but twice (1992, 2000)...the Cougs won the defensive title in 1994, allowing 229 yards a game, the best average in the league since 1982 and the second best since 1971...in 1993 and 1997 WSU's defense was ranked second in the Pac-10.

    RUSHING TOTALS UNDER 100: In the last nine years WSU has held 40 of 101 opponents to less than 101 yards rushing...the lows include Montana State's -35 and Pacific's -6 in 1993 and Montana's -6 in 1995.

    WASHINGTON STATE SINCE '89: The Washington State Cougars have won 72 games since the start of the 1989 season, the year Mike Price took over the coaching reins at WSU.

    100-YARD RUSHERS FEW: Only 39 running backs have been able to crack the 100-yard mark in the last nine years and 101 games against WSU's defense...UCLA's Skip Hicks and Reuben Droughns from Oregon are the only backs to have done so in back-to-back seasons.

    MIKE PRICE TV SHOWS: 'KXLY Cougar Football Saturday' airs each Saturday during the football season at 12:00 p.m. PT, leading into ABC's Pac-10 Game of the Week...Rick Lukens, Dennis Patchin, Mike Boyle and Bud Nameck host the shows...FOX Sports Net Northwest's nightly (7:00 p.m.) Northwest Tonight program also gives extensive coverage to Price and Cougar football.

    WEEKLY WSU PRESS CONFERENCES: WSU hosts a weekly press conference each Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. in the Media Information Conference Room, Bohler Addition 195. All in-season head coaches and selected players (when available) will be available for the phone conference and in-person interviews. Contact the WSU Media Information Office for more information. Members of the media may attend in person or participate by use of the telephone.

    LISTEN TO COUGAR GAMES ANYWHERE: Cougar football fans can listen to the Voice of the Cougars Bob Robertson's broadcasts, even if a network station is not in your locale. TRZ Sports Service Inc.'s 'Teamline' provides the hookup directly into the Cougar Sports Network. Call 1-800-846-4700 and punch in the Cougar access code 5938. The cost is charged to your VISA or Mastercard.

    LIVE TELEVISION: Pac-10 television action Saturday, Nov. 17, will include ABC's regional coverage of Washington State at Washington at 12:30 p.m., and FOX Sports Net's coverage of UCLA at USC at 3:30 p.m.

    FSNW-TV: FOX Sports Net (Northwest) will replay WSU's Nov. 17 game with Washington Sunday, Nov. 18, at 10:00 a.m.

    TICKETS: Tickets for all Cougar home and away games are available through the WSU Ticket Office, North 225 Grand, Pullman, Wash. 99164-1910, or by calling 800-GO-COUGS (available toll free from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands).

    AUDIO ON INTERNET: WSU's football broadcasts are now available on the Internet through FansOnly, WSU's Web provider...the address is: http://www.wsucougars.com.

    WSU RADIO: Bob Robertson, Jim Walden, Jeff Aaron, and Bud Nameck combine talents on the 24-station Cougar Sports Network. Robertson is in his 35th year of broadcasting Cougar sports, while Walden, a former Cougar head coach (1978-86), is in his first season as a Cougar broadcaster. Broadcast time is 60 minutes prior to kickoff. Additionally, the one-hour 'Mike Price Show,' produced and distributed by Learfield Communications, airs weekly on most network stations live Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m.. Robertson is the show's regular host...all broadcasts are available via the internet. To listen, and for complete broadcast schedules, connect to wsucougars.com.

    SATELLITE: The Pacific-10 office transmits a weekly 30-minute highlight package each Wednesday at 11:30 - 12:00 PT on Telstar 6, Transponder 9, C-Band (if trouble, call 310-543-1835 or the Pac-10 office).

    PAC-10 TELECONFERENCE: The Pacific-10 Conference hosts a weekly teleconference call each Tuesday during the football season...the teleconference call begins at 10 a.m....Mike Price participates at 11:10 a.m....contact the Pac-10 media relations office for details, 925-932-4411.

    PRICE AND PLAYERS AVAILABLE: WSU head football coach Mike Price is available for individual media interviews 11:00 a.m.-Noon Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (except prior to road games). Arrangements for Price interviews must be made through his office, 509-335-0250. WSU players are available for interviews before and after practice each Tuesday and Wednesday and before practice each Thursday. Contact Jason Hickman at the WSU Media Information Office.

    PRICE PHONE CONFERENCES: Mike Price is available for media interviews three times weekly via a conference phone hookup, Sunday at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. and Thursday at 2:30 p.m. For access information contact the WSU Media Information Office.

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