Cougars Make Final Preparations For Crimson & Gray

April 20, 2002

PULLMAN, Wash. --- Quarterback Jason Gesser completed 15 of 24 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns as Washington State held its final scrimmage before next Saturday's annual Crimson & Gray game.

'I was happy with the scrimmage. I think this was the best practice we have had this spring because of the intensity,' WSU Head Coach Mike Price said. 'We ran 45 plays with the number one offense against the number one defense.'

Gesser's touchdowns were distributed to sophomore Devard Darling on an 11-yard route to the corner of the endzone, and Trandon Harvey, who scored on a 20-yard strike. Senior Jerome Riley was kept out of the endzone, but still finished with 129 yards on four catches, including plays of 53 and 45 yards. Despite big numbers for the receiving corps, Price believes the unit can be even better.

'Devard caught the ball well in traffic today, which was nice to see,' Price said. 'But we can catch even better than that. Kegel's unit dropped a couple and that was frustrating for him.'

Junior signal caller Matt Kegel received a good look from the WSU coaching staff Saturday and responded by connecting on seven of 15 passes for 146 yards. The Havre, Mont., native threw two touchdown passes, a 28-yard toss to tight end Mark Ahlberg and a 29-yarder to Thomas Ostrander.

Price feels the offensive line deserves some of the credit for Saturday's big numbers.

'I think the offensive line is coming a long,' Price said of the unit, which is still missing seniors Derrick Roche and Phil Locker, and junior Josh Parrish. 'It was all the way towards the end of the scrimmage before Isaac Brown got a sack.'

On the ground, diminutive sophomore running back Lavell Anderson led the Cougars with 63 yards on six carries, including a 20-yard touchdown run. Senior Antonio Ryan, a transfer from Santa Monica Junior College, rushed five times for 44 yards.

Senior John Tippins and junior Jermaine Green, who are currently battling for the number one spot at running back, combined for 51 yards on 20 carries.

Defensively, the day belonged to junior safety Erik Coleman. The Spokane native picked off a Jason Gesser pass on the third drive and raced 68 yards for a touchdown, but he wasn't done yet. Coleman heisted another Gesser pass later in the scrimmage and made a return of 23 yards. Cole Sheridan picked a third pass from Matt Kegel.

'We are coming together in the secondary have three safeties that can play,' Price said. 'Erik Coleman with two interceptions showed that he can really play. Virgil Williams is also doing a good job and so is Jeremy Bohannon.'

On special teams, freshman punter Kyle Basler averaged 44.4 yards on five punts, while kicker Drew Dunning struggled without holder Collin Henderson, hitting only five of 13 attepmpts.

The Cougars' annual Crimson & Gray game will be played Saturday, April 27 at 2 p.m.

Passing: Gesser 24/15/2/234/2/53, Kegel 15/7/1/146/2/39, Hurd 8/6/0/73/1/19, Swogger 3/1/0/4/0/4Rushing: Anderson 6/63, Ryan 5/44, Green 12/37, Tippins 8/14, Hawkins 3/3Receiving: Riley 4/129/53, Ostrander 4/65/29, Darling 4/54/19, Henderson 4/50/27,
Green 1/39/39, Harvey 3/31/20, Ahlberg 1/28/18, Faries 2/22, Bienemann 2/16/10, Wilson
1/15/15, Tippins 1/4, Wilson 1/4.Sacks: Acholonu, Genatone, Brown, Whitson

Scoring Summary
Erik Coleman 68-yard interception return,
Lavell Anderson 20-yard run,
Devard Darling 11-yard pass from Jason Gesser,
Mark Ahlberg 28-yard pass from Matt Kegel,
Thomas Ostrander29-yard pass from Matt Kegel,
Trandon Harvey 20-yard pass from Jason Gesser,
Scott Faries 19-yard pass from Chris Hurd,

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