Cougars Get Ready For Game Against Trojans

Sept. 30, 2002

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THE COACHES: WSU - Mike Price (Puget Sound '69) has a 77-76-0 (.502) record at WSU in 14 years and a career mark of 123-120-0 (.506) in 22 seasons at Weber State (1981-88; 46-44-0) and WSU (1989-present). USC - The Trojans are coached by Pete Carroll (Pacific '73), who boasts a 10-7 USC and career record.

WSU VS. USC: The Cougars and Trojans have played 61 times, with USC winning 50 and WSU seven...there have been four ties...the two teams last played in 2000, with WSU winning 33-27 in the LA Coliseum...the two teams have split the last four games, with WSU winning at LA in 2000 and 1997 and losing in Pullman in 1998 and 1999...the two teams did not play each other in 2001.

GESSER SETS SIGHTS ON DREW BLEDSOE AND RYAN LEAF: Jason Gesser, this week's Pac-10 Offensive POW for his performance at California, now ranks fourth in both career passing and total offense at WSU and after throwing for 431 yards at California last weekend, is within striking distance of two NFL quarterbacks on WSU's list...Gesser needs 190 yards in total offense to pass Drew Bledsoe and 301 yards to move past Ryan Leaf into second on the all-time list behind Jack career passing, Gesser passed Timm Rosenbach last week, but is 669 yards behind Bledsoe, who is third...Gesser's four touchdown passes last week tied him with Thompson for second on the career list at 53...all 53 of his TD passes have come in his last 25 three career games against California, Gesser completed 62 of 109 passes for nine touchdowns, one interception and 1,101 yards (QB rating 167.14). (For details see Gesser page)

WSU DEFENSE HALTS LONG RUSHES: In the last 10 years WSU has allowed just 110 runs of 20 yards or longer in 109 games...this year in five games the Cougars have allowed seven runs of 20 or more yards and 16 runs of 10-19 yards.

COUGS AGAINST RANKED TEAMS SINCE 1995: WSU is 6-17 against ranked teams since 1995...when WSU has also been ranked, the Cougars are 1-5.

COUGS SCORE OFTEN: Since 1980 WSU has averaged more than three touchdowns a game, currently boasting an average of 25.9 points per outing, including 36.0 points per game this year.

NOTHING LIKE HOME: The Washington State Cougars perform much better at home than on the road during Mike Price's 14 year home the Cougars are 42-31 (57.5%) and on the road the team is 35-45 (43.8%)...WSU's 6-0 home record in 1997 is the best ever for the Cougars, while the 2001 record of 6-1 is the best on the road since the 1988 team also went 6-1.

RUSHING TOTALS UNDER 100: In the last 10 years WSU has held 44 of 108 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing...the lows include Montana State's -35 and Pacific's -6 in 1993 and Montana's -6 in those 108 games, WSU held opponents to 50 or less yards 13 times:

100-YARD RUSHERS FEW: Only 41 running backs have been able to crack the 100-yard mark in the last 10 years and 108 games against WSU's defense...UCLA's Skip Hicks and Reuben Droughns from Oregon are the only backs to have done so in back-to-back seasons :

COUGS BOAST STARTING EXPERIENCE: WSU fields an experienced team in 2002, with 38 players having started at least one game...collectively they made 424 career starts...the Cougar defense boasts 179 career starts by 16 players, including 91 by six linemen, 25 by five linebackers, and 63 by four defensive backs...on offense nine linemen made 124 starts, six receivers made 56 starts, and four backfield players had 41 starts, a total of 220.

RED ZONE SUCCESS: WSU has scored 15 times in 22 trips into the Red Zone...the failures have been a missed field goal, two lost fumbles, an interception, twice on downs and one end of half...opponents have scored 10 touchdowns and two field goals in 15 Red Zone appearances and failed twice by interceptions and once on downs.

TURNOVERS: WSU is +1 in turnovers for 2002...the Cougs have turned the ball over eight times (five fumbles, three interceptions) and taken the ball away nine times (two fumbles, seven interceptions)...WSU didn't have a turnover against MSU, the Cougs first no-turnover game since playing Oregon last Mike Price's 14 seasons at WSU, only the 1994 and 2001 teams finished on the plus side in turnovers.

MIKE PRICE NOTES: WSU head coach Mike Price, the dean of Pac-10 coaches, will serve as head coach at this year's East-West Shrine Game January 11...Price is the second winningest coach in WSU history...his 77 wins and 77-76 record at WSU is second only to Babe Hollingberry, who was 93-53 in 17 years as WSU's head coach (1926-42).

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: The Cougars lead the Pac-10 in Punt Returns and are second in Passing Offense and Passing Efficiency and third in Total Offense...Marcus Trufant is second in Punt Returns...Jason Gesser is third in Passing Yards and Total Offense and fifth in Passing Efficiency...Jason David is tied for third in Passes Defended...Devard Darling ranks fourth in Scoring by TD and fifth in Receptions...Kyle Basler is fourth in Punting.

WSU IN NCAA RANKINGS: The Cougars rank seventh in Passing Offense and eighth in Passing Efficiency and 16th in Punt Returns...Jason Gesser has moved up to 10th in Passing Efficiency and 27th in Total Offense...Marcus Trufant is ranked 18th in Punt Returns...Kyle Basler is 39th in Punting...Devard Darling is ranked 32nd in Receptions, 39th in Scoring and 42nd in Receiving Yards.

NINE COUGS BOAST 20+ STARTS: Nine of WSU's top 22 players have started 20 or more games in their career, headed by Derrick Roche with 31...three of his teammates on the line are also on the list...Tyler Hunt has 26 starts, Josh Parrish 23 and Phil Locker 22...Marcus Trufant has the most starts among the Cougar defenders and is second to Roche with 30...Fred Shavies has made 28 starts for the Cougar defense...both receiver Collin Henderson and quarterback Jason Gesser have made 27 starts.

THREE COUGS HEADED TO EAST-WEST GAME: Three Cougar players will join head coach Mike Price at the January 11 East-West Shrine Game - quarterback Jason Gesser, cornerback Marcus Trufant and offensive lineman Derrick Roche.

SCOTT LUNDE DOING HIS PART: Scott Lunde, a redshirt junior wide receiver who wasn't listed on the depth chart at the start of fall camp, is now WSU's second leading receiver...he has caught 21 passes in WSU's first five games for 239 yards...Lunde hails from Vancouver, Wash., and Hudson's Bay High.

TBS VISITS WSU: Turner Sports makes its first visit to WSU since 1985 when they arrive to telecast this week's WSU-USC football game at 4 p.m...the broadcast team includes Ron Thulin, Charles Davis, Craig Sager and Erin Andrews.

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