Cougars Prepare to Face No. 1 USC Saturday

Sept. 18, 2007

PULLMAN, Wash. -

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Washington State (2-1) at No. 1 USC (2-0)
Los Angeles Coliseum (92,000) • Los Angeles, Calif.
September 22, 2007 • 5 p.m. PT
Television: ABC

WSU vs. USC: The Cougars open Pacific-10 Conference play this Saturday when they travel to Los Angeles to take on the No. 1-ranked USC Trojans in a game televised by ABC with a 5 p.m. start. The Cougars enter the contest riding a modest two-game winning streak, having earned wins over Idaho and San Diego State after dropping the season-opener at No. 5 Wisconsin. The Trojans will bring a 2-0 record into Saturday's contest after a 49-31 victory at Nebraska last Saturday. USC opened the season with a 38-10 home win over Idaho.

WSU-USC - THE SERIES: The Cougars have a record of 8-54-4 against the Trojans dating back to 1921. In games played in Los Angeles the Cougars are 4-36-2, though Washington State has won two of the last four games played at the Los Angeles Coliseum, 33-27 in 2000 and 28-21 in 1997. The Cougars have lost each of the last four games to USC, the most recent loss coming last season by a score of 22-28 at Martin Stadium. In that game Alex Brink went 26-of-46 for 287 yards and two touchdowns, with Michael Bumpus catching a career-high 11 passes for 112 yards.

LAST WEEK: Alex Brink threw for 307 yards and four touchdowns on 26-of-36 passing as Washington State beat Idaho 45-28 Saturday evening in front of 32,064 in the 90th Battle of the Palouse. Brink finished the game completing 26 of 36 passes and moved into the top spot on WSU's career completions list, passing Jason Gesser. After Idaho scored on its opening drive, Brink marched the Cougars down field and hit Brandon Gibson for a 21-yard scoring pass to tie the game. The Vandals took a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter but WSU scored 31 of the next 38 points to put the game away. Michael Bumpus caught eight passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns as he moved into fourth place on the career receptions list with 147. Dwight Tardy also rushed 22 times for 108 yards and two touchdowns, the first time this season he has eclipsed the century mark after coming within yards in each of the first two games. The win was the seventh straight by WSU over the Vandals.

COUGARS OPENS PAC-10 ON THE ROAD FOR SIXTH-STRAIGHT YEAR: WSU opens Pac-10 Conference play on the road for the sixth straight year. Last year the Cougars posted a 36-10 win at Stanford to begin Pacific-10 Conference play, increasing their record to 5-1 over the last six years in conference openers. The lone setback came at Oregon State in 2005. WSU enters Pac-10 play with a winning record for the seventh straight year.

WSU-ARIZONA GAME TO BE TELEVISED BY FSN NW: Washington State University and FSN Northwest announced today an agreement has been reached to televise the Cougars' Sept. 29 football game at Arizona, WSU Director of Athletics Jim Sterk announced Monday. Game time for the Arizona contest has been set for 7 p.m., Pacific Time.

FIRST FIVE GAMES IN DIFFERENT STADIUMS: When Washington State hosts the Arizona State Sun Devils (Oct. 6) in Pullman's Martin Stadium, the Cougars will have played five teams in five different stadiums. The Cougars began play at Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium Sept. 1, then hosted San Diego State at Qwest Field (home of the Seattle Seahawks). Last week WSU played for the first time this season in Martin Stadium Sept. 15, facing Idaho in a game televised by FSN Nw. The Cougars play this week at USC (Sept. 22) and at Arizona (Sept. 29), before returning to Martin Stadium against Arizona State Oct. 6.

COUGARS AGAINST NO. 1 TEAMS: Saturday's contest against No. 1 USC will mark the ninth time in WSU history the Cougars have faced the top-ranked team. In those contests WSU is 1-7, with the victory coming Oct. 29, 1988, in a 34-30 win at UCLA. Two current members of the Cougar coaching staff, Timm Rosenbach and Steve Broussard, were on the 1988 roster. WSU has faced USC four previous times when they were the top-ranked team (1972, 1979, 2004, 2005), along with Ohio State (1973, 1974), Michigan (1998 Rose Bowl), along with UCLA.

COUGARS ON ABC: Saturday's game marks the second appearance on ABC this season for WSU, as the Cougars were also featured on the network for their 2007 opener at Wisconsin. Since 1961 WSU has been on ABC 53 times, going 20-32-1 in those contests. WSU's most recent win on ABC came at UCLA last year in a 37-15 win at the Rose Bowl.

TARDY OFF TO FAST START: After two near-misses at breaking the 100-yard barrier in the opening two weeks, sophomore running back Dwight Tardy finally broke through Saturday against Idaho, gaining 108 yards on 22 carries. It marked the third time in his career he has gone over the century mark. Tardy has been the Cougar workhorse in the backfield this season as he has carried 59 times for 303 yards, a 5.1 average. That mark puts him fifth in the Pac-10 and 36th nationally. Equally impressive is the fact that in those 59 carries, he has been stopped for a loss only three times for a total of five yards.

GIBSON BECOMING GO-TO GUY: Dating back to last season, junior wide receiver Brandon Gibson has caught at least one touchdown in six of his last seven games. The streak began in a 37-15 win at UCLA where he caught two, his first two of the season. He then had one against Arizona before being shutout at Arizona State. Gibson added another in the finale against Washington before beginning the season with a touchdown grab at Wisconsin and two more against San Diego State. Last week he hauled in a 21-yard score from Alex Brink, one of seven catches on the day. Over the past seven games, Gibson has caught a total of 46 balls totaling 671 yards with eight touchdowns.

TRENT A TACKLING MACHINE: Linebacker Greg Trent has picked up right where he left off last season, near the top of the Cougar tackling leaders. Over his past five games dating back to last season, the junior co-captain has registered 49 total tackles, reaching double figures in three of those contests. Trent has led the Cougars each game this season in tackles, recording 10 in the opener at Wisconsin,13 against San Diego State, with both being game-highs, and then a team-best eight last week against Idaho.

WSU 8-0 ON FSN NORTHWEST: WSU holds a 9-0 record in games televised exclusively by FSN Northwest...the list includes six games against Idaho, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and games against Hawaii in 1999, Montana State in 2001 and Oregon State 2006.

BUMPUS CLIMBING CAREER RECEPTIONS LIST: Senior wide receiver Michael Bumpus entered the 2007 season tied for seventh with Tim Stallworth (1986-89) on the Cougars' all-time receptions list with 125. Following Saturday's eight-catch effort against Idaho, Bumpus inched closer up the list. He needs two to move into second place and 30 to pass Hugh Campbell for the all-time mark. Should he continue on his season average of just under eight catches a game, Bumpus would pass Campbell in late October.
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