WSU Set For Ohio State Showdown In Columbus

Sept. 10, 2002

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WHO: #10 WSU Cougars (2-0 overall, 0-0 in Pac-10) vs. #6 Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0, 0-0 in Big Ten)
WHAT: Non-Conference Football
WHEN: Saturday, September 14; Kickoff 3:30 p.m. EDT; 12:30 p.m. PDT
WHERE: Ohio Stadium (101,568, Grass), Columbus, Ohio
TV: Live TV - ABC; FOX Sports Northwest will air the replay Sunday, 10:00 a.m., Sept. 15

THE COACHES: WSU - Mike Price (Puget Sound '69) has a 74-74-0 (.500) record at WSU in 14 years and a career mark of 121-119-0 (.504) in 22 seasons at Weber State (1981-88; 46-44-0) and WSU (1989-present). OHIO STATE - The Buckeyes are coached by Jim Tressel (Baldwin-Wallace '75)...Tressell is 9-5 in his two seasons at Ohio State and 144-62-2 in his 18-year career.

WSU VS. OHIO STATE: The Cougars and Buckeyes have met seven times since the first game in 1952, with OSU capturing all seven contests...the last meeting was in 1991, the only game played since Mike Price took over at WSU in 1989...the only game not played at Columbus was in 1974 when the two teams met in Seattle at Husky Stadium...the largest crowd to watch the two teams was 92,687 at the last meeting in Columbus...the last time WSU played its third game of the year on the road and lost was at Ohio State in 1991...since then WSU has won three road games played the third week of the season.

Most WSU Points: 32, 1985 (32-48)
Most OSU Points: 48, 1985 (48-32)
Widest WSU Victory: None
Widest OSU Victory: 44, 1984 (44-0)
Longest WSU Winning Streak: None
Longest OSU Winning Streak: +7
Last WSU Win: None
Last OSU Win: 1991 (31-19)
Last WSU Win Pullman: None
Last OSU Win Pullman: None
Last WSU Win Columbus: None
Last OSU Win Columbus: 1991 (31-19)
WSU at Home: 0-0
OSU at Home: 6-0
WSU at Columbus: 0-6
OSU at Pullman: 0-0
WSU at Seattle: 0-1
OSU at Seattle: 1-0
Mike Price vs. Ohio State: 0-1
Jim Tressell vs. WSU: 0-0
WSU Streak: -7
OSU Streak: +7

ABC TV/ESPN GAME DAY HEADED FOR COLUMBUS: The WSU-Ohio State football game will be telecast live by ABC Sports to more than half the country...the announcers include Brent Musberger, Gary Danielson and Jack addition, ESPN's College Game Day will originate from Columbus prior to Saturday's WSU-Ohio State game...Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler and Lee Corso will anchor the telecast...Herbstreit is no stranger to either Ohio State, where he played, nor to 1991 he quarterbacked the Buckeyes to a win over WSU and last year he touted WSU's success from the start of the season...this will be ESPN College Game Day's first appearance at a Cougar game.

2002 CAPTAINS: WSU - QB Jason Gesser (17), CB Marcus Trufant (45), RS Curtis Nettles (18). OSU - FS Donnie Nickie (25) and SS Michael Doss (2) offensive captain will be chosen later this week.

COUGS BOAST STARTING EXPERIENCE: WSU fields an experienced team in 2002, with 34 players having started at least one game...collectively they made 350 career starts...the Cougar defense boasts 146 career starts by 15 players, including 75 by six linemen, 16 by five linebackers, and 51 by four defensive backs...on offense eight linemen made 109 starts, five receivers made 45 starts, and four backfield players had 33 starts, a total of 187.

IT'S WHAT'S UP FRONT THAT COUNTS: WSU returns four of five starters on the offensive line and three of four on the defensive line, prompting many preseason publications to take notice. Tom Dienhart of The Sporting News ranked WSU's offensive line as the sixth best unit in the nation, and pegged the Cougars' defensive line as the ninth best group in the country. Individually, Dienhart rated guard Derrick Roche, center Tyler Hunt, and defensive tackle Rien Long among the top 20 at their respective positions nationally.

DERTING SETS WSU RECORDS: Will Derting, in the 2002 season opener, set a pair of WSU interception records when he stepped in front of a Nevada pass near the Cougar endzone and returned it 98 was the longest return in WSU history, breaking the mark of 93 by Lionel Thomas against UCLA in 1969...his 98 return yards in a game also bettered the previous mark of 96 yards by Frank Miyaki against Idaho in 1945.

WSU IN PAC-10 RANKINGS: Among Cougar leaders in the latest Pac-10 football rankings, Jason Gesser leads the league in passing efficiency...he also is ranked fourth in completions, sixth in total offense and seventh in passing yards...Jonathan Smith is first in scoring and fifth in rushing....Kyle Basler is third in punting...Will Derting is second in interceptions...Sammy Moore is second in kickoff returns.

WSU IN NCAA RANKINGS: Among the WSU players ranked nationally by the NCAA, Jason Gesser is ninth in pass efficiency...Jonathan Smith is fourth in scoring...Kyle Basler is 10th in punting...Will Derting is fourth in interceptions.

SUPPLEMENTAL NOTES (taken from WSU's supplemental release): WSU is 41-31 at home since Mike Price took over in 1989 and 34-44 on the road...the Cougars, since 1980, average 25.8 points per game and have scored 30 or more points 91 times in the last 251 games...the Cougs are +1 in turnover margin this year, but -32 during Mike Price's 14 seasons at WSU...the 1994 and 2001 Price teams are the only ones to finish the year ahead in turnovers.

WSU LIMITS LONG RUNS: For the second straight week WSU has not allowed a run of more than 18 yards...Nevada's longest rush was 15 yards, but they had six rushing play's between 10-15 yards...Idaho had just two runs 10 or longer, an 11 yarder and an 18 yarder...WSU has allowed eight runs 10-19 yards and none 20 or longer in the first two games.

SMITH GOES FOR 121 YARDS: Jonathan Smith rushed for 121 yards against Idaho, the first 100+ game since John Tippins went for 100 against Montana State 10/18 last year...his 121 yards is the most since Dave Minnich's 195 against Oregon State 10/6 last year. He also scored three touchdowns against Idaho...the last WSU back to rush for three touchdowns in a game was Deon Burnet with four rushing scores against Louisiana-Lafayette in 1999...Smith's five rushing touchdowns in two games is the most since James Matthews rushed for five in two consecutive games in 1982 - of course he had all five in one game to set the WSU record.

TRUFANT GRABS NINTH INTERCEPTION: Marcus Trufant intercepted one pass against Idaho to give him nine career thefts...he is now tied for eighth with Greg more would break the tie (no one else has 10) and two more picks would tie him for sixth with Don Paul and Torey Hunter...Trufant grabbed two interceptions his freshman year (1999), made three more picks as a sophomore, than had three last season...he has returned his nine interceptions 106 yards.

WATCH LISTS: Four Washington State players are on watch lists for postseason awards;

Drew Dunning - Lou Groza Award (Kicker)
Jason Gesser - Davey O'Brien Award (Quarterback)
Rien Long - Rotary Lombardi Award (Lineman)
Derrick Roche - Rotary Lombardi Award (Lineman); Outland Trophy (Interior Lineman)
Tyler Hunt - Dave Rimington Trophy (Center)

COUGS ENJOY PRE-SEASON NATIONAL RANKINGS: WSU has been ranked by Associated Press just twice in their pre-season poll. In 1952 WSU was ranked 15th. This year WSU entered the season ranked in just about everyone's top 15, including AP, where they are ranked 11th.

WSU'S PLAY AVERAGE OUTSTANDING: WSU opponents have run 81 (Nevada) and 83 (Idaho) scrimmage plays, but averaged 3.5 (Nevada) and 3.8 (Idaho) yards per play...WSU has run 60 (Nevada) and 55 (Idaho) plays that averaged 6.2 (Nevada) and 9.4 (Idaho) yards per play.

MIKE PRICE 4-3 vs. BIG TEN: WSU's Mike Price is 4-3 against Big Ten opponents...his four wins are the most by a Cougar head coach against the Big Ten...he has wins over Illinois three times (1994, 1997, 1998) and Purdue once (2001 Sun Bowl)...the losses have been to Ohio State (1991) and Michigan twice (1993, 1998 Rose Bowl)...the Cougs have also won four of their last five games against Big Ten foes, defeating Illinois in Chicago, Champaign and Pullman, plus Purdue last season in El Paso...the lone loss was to Michigan, the eventual national champion, in the 1998 Rose Bowl.

SCHEDULING NOTES: WSU has not opened the season with three straight non-conference opponents since 1998 when they started out 3-0...WSU has won six straight non-conference road games since a 1996 loss at Colorado.

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

* The Cougars have scored in 205 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 203 consecutive games since a 44-0 shutout at Ohio State in 1984;
* The Cougars have scored in 169 consecutive Martin Stadium home games since a 21-0 loss to Oregon State in Pullman in 1956.

BREAKING DOWN TOP 22-44: This week against Ohio State the WSU starting lineup of 22 players included 1 freshman, 3 sophomores, 9 juniors and 9 seniors, while the top 44 (two-deep) consisted of 10 freshmen, 8 sophomores, 17 juniors and 9 the two-deep, WSU listed 18 freshmen and sophomores and 26 juniors and seniors.

HENDERSON THE BEST QB?: Collin 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 2000 he was 4-for-4 for 154 yards and two 2001 he threw three passes for 71(td)-62(td)-63 yards.

COUGS IN THE POLLS: WSU opened the 2002 season ranked 11th and 12th in the pre-season polls, just the second time in school history the Cougs have been included in a pre-season 1952 WSU was 15th in the opening AP poll.

PRICE TO COACH 2003 EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME: Washington State Head Coach Mike Price will patrol one of the sidelines for the East-West Shrine Game January 11, 2003 at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco, Calif. Price, who has guided the Cougars to a pair of 10-win seasons over the last five years, was selected along with Tyrone Willingham of Notre Dame. Price served as an assistant in the same event in 1996. Quarterback Jason Gesser, cornerback Marcus Trufant, and offensive lineman Derrick Roche have committed to play in the 2003 game.

BUSH CATCHES 10 TD PASSES: Mike Bush, in his 14-game WSU football career, has averaged better than 20 yards a catch, hauling in 51 passes for 1,068 yards...last year he caught 10 TD passes in his first collegiate season...only Kevin McKenzie with 11 (1997) has more TD catches in a season.

RED ZONE SUCCESS: The Cougars scored all five times they reached the Red Zone against Idaho and have now scored seven times (all touchdowns) in 10 trips into the RT, a 70.0% success rate...last year WSU had a Red Zone percentage of 78.9%.

SUPPLEMENTAL RELEASE NOTES: WSU did not allow a play over 15 yards against Idaho last week and have not allowed a rushing play over 18 yards this year...last season WSU allowed just 17 running plays of 20 yards or longer...Nevada gained 108 yards rushing in WSU's 2002 opener, just the fifth team in the last two years to top 100 yards against the both 2000 and 2001, just six backs each year gained over 100 yards...Nevada's Chance Kretschmer, who led the nation in rushing last year, gained 67 yards against WSU...Idaho had two backs with 34 yards each, but as a team they rushed for just 51 yards...the Cougars are 1-4 in overtime games since 1996...Mike Price is the dean of Pac-10 coaches.

JASONGESSER.COM: Washington State and the Official College Sports Network launched July 30, a website that will promote and track the senior quarterback's bid for the prestigious Heisman Trophy. The site can be accessed through the WSU Athletics main page, or browsers can type in for the most direct route. Biographical information, career stats, including game-by-game breakdowns, recent news, and a photo gallery of the Honolulu, Hawaii, native are featured on the site. Gesser's weekly teleconferences will be included when the season begins, as will highlights from his first three seasons.

GESSER INCLUDED ON O'BRIEN WATCH LIST: Senior quarterback Jason Gesser was one of 32 signal callers included on the preseason Davey O'Brien Award watch list. The award has been given to the nation's top quarterback each of the last 26 seasons and is named after the Heisman Trophy-winning O'Brien, who led Texas Christian to the 1938 national championship. The list of 32 will be cut to three in late November and decided on by a committee of nationally-known sportswriters and commentators.

GESSER FIRST THREE-TIME CAPTAIN: Senior quarterback Jason Gesser was named one of three team captains for the 2002 season, along with cornerback Marcus Trufant and wide receiver Curtis Nettles. Gesser was also selected captain as a junior and sophomore, making him the first three-time captain in the 108-year history of Cougar football.

GESSER TELECONFERENCES: Senior Jason Gesser will participate in weekly teleconferences each Tuesday at 11:40 a.m. Each teleconference will last 20 access the teleconference, contact the WSU sports information office...his weekly teleconference will also be available on the Cougar web site at

GESSER ON FOX: Jason Gesser does a weekly 10 minute radio interview with FOX Sports Radio each Tuesday at 11:05 p.m. PT.

WSU AVERAGES 7.3 YPC: Washington State averaged 7.3 yards per carry against the Idaho Vandals, the best showing for WSU since the 1997 win over California...against the Bears WSU averaged 7.31 ypc with 256 yards and 35 rushing attempts...against Idaho the totals were 240 yards and 33 rushing attempts.

COUGS TALLY 80 IN TWO GAMES: WSU has scored 80 points in the first two games...the last team to score that many was the 1989 club that scored 87 in the first two games.

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...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 that loss Gesser threw for 348 yards, his best outing of the season...1999 season: poised to start before being sidelined with a thumb injury against Arizona...came back to play against Washington and start in WSU's win at Hawaii.

GESSER TOSSES TD PASSES: In 29 career games, Jason Gesser has thrown 46 touchdown passes, third on the Cougar list...ahead of him are Ryan Leaf 59 and Jack Thompson 53...Drew Bledsoe also had 46 TD 2001 Gesser had 26 TD passes, second only to Ryan Leaf's 34 in 1997...all of Gesser's TD passes have come in his last 22 games.

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 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.

FSNW-TV: FOX Sports Net (Northwest) will replay WSU's Sept. 14 game with Ohio State Sunday, Sept. 15, 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).

SATELLITE: The Pacific-10 office transmits a weekly 30-minute highlight package each Wednesday at 11:30 - 12:00 PT on GE 2, Transponder 11, C-Band (if trouble, call 310-543-1835 or the Pac-10 office).

AUDIO ON INTERNET: WSU's football broadcasts are available on the Internet through OCSN, WSU's Web provider, and also at address is:

WSU RADIO: Bob Robertson, Jim Walden and Bud Nameck combine talents on the 28-station Cougar Sports Network. Robertson is in his 36th year of broadcasting Cougar sports, while Walden, a former Cougar head coach (1978-86), is in his second season as a Cougar broadcaster. Broadcast time is 60 minutes prior to kickoff. Additionally, the one-hour 'Mike Price Show,' produced and distributed by the Cougar Sports Radio Network and KXLY, 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

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 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 each Wednesday. 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.

PRICE ON ESPN NEWS: National cable outlet ESPN News is showing Mike Price's weekly Tuesday press conferences portions of the teleconference are also used on ESPN Radio.

GESSER TAKES MEDIA CALLS EACH TUESDAY: Senior quarterback Jason Gesser conducts a weekly teleconference each Tuesday at 11:40 a.m. Media wishing to talk with Gesser must contact Asst. SID Jason Hickman. Gesser's media time is 11:00-noon each Tuesday, which includes the weekly teleconference call.

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