Cougars Prepare For Pac-10 Contest Against Bears
Sept. 23, 2002
THE COACHES: WSU - Mike Price (Puget Sound '69) has a 76-76-0 (.500) record at WSU in 14 years and a career mark of 122-120-0 (.504) in 22 seasons at Weber State (1981-88; 46-44-0) and WSU (1989-present). CALIFORNIA - The Bears are coached by Jeff Tedford (Fresno State '83), in his first season as a head coach.
WSU VS. CALIFORNIA: The Cougars and Bears have played 64 times since the first game in 1919 - that's when WSU picked up the nickname 'Cougars'...WSU has won 23 times, California 36, with five ties...WSU has won the last three games, including 51-20 last year in Pullman...Cal's last win was 24-14 in Berkeley in 1998, while WSU's last win at Cal came two years ago 21-17...Mike Price is 8-3 against the Bears, but 2-3 in Memorial Stadium...WSU has never defeated California four straight games...twice WSU has run its streak to three games, the current streak and 1983-85.
GESSER MOVES UP LIST: Jason Gesser, who ranks fourth on WSU's all-time passing list with 6,273 yards and fifth on the total offense list with 6,545 yards, left the Montana State game last weekend in the third quarter with a bruised rib and dislocated rib cartilage under his right shoulder...Gesser was listed Sunday as questionable for Saturday's game with California, although head coach Mike Price said he had not ruled the senior out of the game...Gesser needs 146 yards in total offense to pass former NFL player Timm Rosenbach and then will set his sights on passing Drew Bledsoe, Ryan Leaf and Cougar record holder Jack Thompson on both the passing and total offense lists.
NO TO'S AGAINST MSU: Washington State did not have a turnover in defeating Montana State last Saturday...the last time the Cougars didn't have a turnover was against Oregon last season...WSU has turned the ball over six times this year and taken the ball away seven times...this week's opponent Cal has 14 take-a-ways against three turnovers.
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 yards...it 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: Thanks to Marcus Trufant's Pac-10 leading punt return average, the Cougs are tied for first as a team...Kyle Basler is third in punting, while Rien Long is tied for fourth in sacks and Jonathan Smith is fifth in scoring...Devard Darling ranks sixth in both receptions and in scoring, while Jason Gesser is sixth in passing yards and Long is sixth in TFLs.
WSU IN NCAA RANKINGS: The Cougars rank 13th nationally in punt returns and Marcus Trufant is 11th individually...WSU ranks 21st in pass efficiency and 24th in passing yards...Kyle Basler is 19th in punting and Jason Gesser 21st in passing efficiency...Devard Darling ranks 31st in scoring and tied for 32nd in receptions per game.
SUPPLEMENTAL NOTES (taken from WSU's supplemental release): WSU is 42-31 at home since Mike Price took over in 1989 and 34-45 on the road...the Cougars, since 1980, average 25.8 points per game and have scored 30 or more points 92 times in the last 253 games...the Cougs are +1 in turnover margin this year, and -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: WSU's string of not allowing a long run ended on the field at Ohio State, but the Cougars in four games have still only given up six rushing plays of 20 yards or more and just 12 plays between 10 and 19 yards...Maurice Clarett became just the fourth back in the last 10 seasons to top 200 yards rushing, finishing with 230 after being limited to 36 yards in the first half...Ohio State had five of the six runs 20 yards or longer.
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 Burns...one 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, then had three last season...he has returned his nine interceptions 106 yards.
EIGHT COUGS BOAST 20+ STARTS: Eight of WSU's top 22 players have started 20 or more games in their career, headed by Derrick Roche with 30...three of his teammates on the line are also on the list...Tyler Hunt has 25 starts, Josh Parrish 22 and Phil Locker 21...Marcus Trufant has the most starts among the Cougar defenders and is second to Roche with 29...Fred Shavies has made 27 starts for the Cougar defense...both receiver Collin Henderson and quarterback Jason Gesser have made 26 starts.
NEWCOMERS SCORE FOR WSU: The Cougars have scored 18 touchdowns this season, 16 offensively and two defensively...15 of those touchdowns have been scored by first-year players...on offense Devard Darling has scored six TD's, Jonathan Smith five and Jermain Green three...Will Derting has one of WSU's two defensive touchdowns.
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
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.
SUCCESS ON THE ROAD: Washington State has won four of its last five road games in Pac-10 action...last year the Cougars defeated Arizona, Stanford and ASU on the road before a loss at Washington, while at the end of the 2000 season WSU won at USC.
WSU GOES 30+ AGAINST NON-CONFERENCE FOES: In the last three years WSU has played 11 non-conference games and scored 30 or more points in 10 of those games - only Ohio State held WSU to less than 30 points (7-25).
WSU OPENERS: For five straight years WSU has opened its Pac-10 season against a California team, including twice against both California and Stanford and UCLA once.