Ticket Sales Hit 52,000 For Nevada

Aug. 15, 2002

PUILLMAN, Wash. - The Washington State University football team, ranked eleventh by Associated Press in its pre-season poll, and 14th by USA Today/ESPN in the coach's pre-season poll, has also caught the attention of the football fans in Washington, especially in the western portion of the state.

The Cougars open the 2002 season Aug. 31 against the Nevada Wolf Pack. The game will kickoff at noon in the newly constructed Seattle Seahawk Stadium. And to add interest to an already well-hyped Cougar football team is the fact the game in the NFL stadium is the first official contest to be played in the stadium and the first chance for many football fans to see the state-of-the-art facility.

All this has made tickets to the WSU-Nevada non-conference game a rather hot commodity. In all, 52,000 seats in the 67,000 seat stadium have already been spoken for, which will translate into a record home crowd for the Cougars. WSU's largest home crowds are 40, 306 for Stanford in Pullman in 1976 and 50,000 for Ohio State in Seattle in 1974.

'We have sold about 45,000 tickets to the general public, with more than two weeks to go before the game,' offered Jim Sterk, WSU's director of athletics. 'In addition we have reserved 7,000 seats for WSU students who will be purchasing their sports passes in the next two weeks. To say we are pleased with 52,000 right now would be an understatement. We are very confident the total will go much higher. I consider this a tremendous tribute to both our football program, and to the school. We know a lot of the interest is coming from Cougars who have been asking for a Seattle game where we are the host.'

No Cougar football team has ever enjoyed the pre-season attention this year's WSU team has garnered. Only once, in 1952, has Associated Press included WSU in its pre-season Top 25. Last year the Cougars finished 10-2, beat Purdue in the Sun Bowl and ended the year ranked 10th and 11th by the two national polls.

A year later and boasting quarterback Jason Gesser, who is getting a lot of attention in the national publications and is considered a serious Heisman Trophy candidate, WSU again finds itself highly ranked by the media and highly regarded by the fans throughout the state.

Sterk, while not making any wild predictions, said he thinks WSU fans may push the capacity of Seahawk Stadium when the season begins Aug. 31.

'It would not surprise me to hear from fans saying they couldn't get tickets to the game because they didn't order them soon enough,' Sterk said. 'My response, if that happens, is to remind them we do have season packages still on sale for our six games in Martin Stadium.'

MEDIA-------------------------NATIONAL RANKING----PAC-10 RANKING
The Sporting News--------------------------6th-----------------------1st
Atlanta Constitution------------------------6th------------------------na
Blue Ribbon Sports Magazine------------6th------------------------na
Sports Illustrated-----------------------------7th----------------------1st
Football News---------------------------------7th-----------------------na
FOX Sports Net - Darryl Richards--------8th----------------------na
Associated Press pre-season poll---**11th---------------------2nd
CNN/SI - Stewart Mandel-----------------11th-----------------------na
Lindy's Magazine---------------------------13th----------------------2nd
USA Today/ESPN pre-season poll-**14th-----------------------3rd
Athlon Magazine---------------------------15th-----------------------3rd
Street and Smith Magazine---------------15th-----------------------3rd
Pacific-10 Conference Media Poll----------------------------------*1st

* = WSU was ranked first in the Pac-10 poll for the first time in 41 years...the media correctly predicted the winners in 2000 and 2001 and three times in the last four years...they have also been accurate 19 times in the 40 previous polls.

** = While no records are available for the pre-season national Coaches Poll, this year's pre-season ranking is believed to be the highest every for the Cougars...in the AP pre-season poll, WSU has only been ranked once, 15th in the 1952 poll.

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