Washington State to Draw Biggest-Ever Partisan Crowd

Aug 30, 2002

Associated Press Writer

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - Washington State expects a sellout Saturday when the12th-ranked Cougars open their season against Nevada at the new 67,000-seatSeahawks Stadium.

Fewer than 200 tickets for the game remained by Friday afternoon. They werefor single seats scattered around the stadium.

'We may have played in front of larger crowds, but never have we played infront of as many Cougar fans,' Washington State athletic director Jim Sterksaid. 'Just about everyone in that stadium Saturday will be there to see theCougars.'

The largest crowd Washington State has ever drawn to Martin Stadium inPullman was 40,306 on Nov. 15, 1997, against Stanford.

The new stadium, home to the NFL' Seattle Seahawks, also will be a fittingstage for Cougars quarterback Jason Gesser to show why he's on so many Heismanlists this summer.

Nevada, a 27-point underdog, is the first opponent - other than Pac-10 rivalWashington - that the Cougars have played in Seattle since 1976.

Gesser's likeness adorns a banner hanging from an old Seattle brewery, threwfor 2,729-yards and 25 touchdowns last year, leading the Cougars to a 33-27 winover Purdue in the Sun Bowl. Washington State finished 10-2, equaling itsrecord from 1997, when it played in the Rose Bowl.

Meanwhile, the Wolf Pack of the Western Athletic Conference are coming off a3-8 season.

Quarterback Zack Threadgill, a senior who started two games last season,leads Nevada, but the team's biggest star is Chance Kretschmer, who led thenation in rushing last season with 1,732 yards.

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