Cougars Prepare for Matchup at Oregon State Saturday

Oct. 6, 2008

PULLMAN, Wash. -

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Washington State Cougars (1-5, 0-3)
Oregon State Beavers (2-3, 1-1)
October 11 - Reser Stadium
FSN Northwest - 3:30 p.m. (PT)

SATURDAY'S MATCHUP: The Washington State Cougars (1-5, 0-3) travel to Corvallis, Ore., to face the Oregon State Beavers (2-3, 1-1) at Reser Stadium, Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The Cougars look for their first conference victory following last week's loss at UCLA. Saturday's contest will be televised by FSN Northwest, with Todd Mansfield calling play-by-play, Jason Stiles serving as analyst and Cathy Marshall and Steve Preece serving as the sideline reporters.

WASHINGTON STATE vs. OREGON STATE - THE SERIES: WSU leads the all-time series by a 47-42-3 margin, including a 13-6 victory the last time these two teams met in Corvallis during the 2006 season. The Beavers captured a 52-17 win last year in Pullman, snapping a two-game home winning streak for the Cougars. When playing in Corvallis the Beavers hold a slight 21-20 advantage. Saturday's game marks the fourth time in the last five seasons that the game has been played in Corvallis.

FIRST STARTS: Through the first six weeks of the 2008 season, 22 WSU players have registered their first collegiate start, 14 on offense and eight on defense...WSU had six offensive players and three defensive players starting for the first time in the opener as quarterback Gary Rogers, wide receivers Jared Karstetter and Michael Willis, offensive linemen Steven Ayers and Brian Danaher, tight end Ben Woodard and defensive backs Romeo Pellum, Myron Beck and Tyrone Justin each made their first career starts...against California, three more Cougars made their first career starts: defensive tackle Adam Hineline and wide receivers Daniel Blackledge and Kevin Norrell...week three saw two more Cougars earn their first start as quarterback Kevin Lopina and running back Chantz Staden opened against Baylor...against Portland State offensive lineman Joe Eppele, linebacker Hallston Higgins and cornerback Markus Dawes joined the list of first-time starters...against Oregon quarterback Marshall Lobbestael and linebacker Louis Bland joined the list...the 22 players include punter Dan Wagner and kickers Wade Penner and Nico Grasu.

YOUTH IS SERVED: While the Cougars have had a number of first-time starters this season (22), they have also had an abundant number of underclassmen starting...through the first six games of the season, the Cougars have started 19 different underclassmen, 11 on offense and eight on defense when you include punters and kickers...additionally, five true freshmen have seen action this season: wide receivers Jared Karstetter and Kevin Norrell, linebackers Mike Ledgerwood and Louis Bland and safety Tyree Toomer.

AND LOBBESTAEL MAKES THREE: When Marshall Lobbestael made his first career start against Oregon, he was the third WSU quarterback to make his debut as the starting signal caller in 2008. In no other season, dating as far back as 1976, have three different quarterbacks made their first start for the Cougars in the same season. Prior to this season, two quarterbacks have made their first start in the same season six times.

ROGERS ON THE MEND: Senior quarterback Gary Rogers will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a 'stable cervical spine fracture that is non surgical' during the Cougar's 48-9 victory over Portland State. Rogers was injured during the third quarter of the contest and was taken to the hospital as a precaution. During tests that evening the fracture was discovered. Rogers will wear a hard collar for six weeks followed by a three-to-fourth month rehabilitation.

INJURY BUG HITS COUGARS: Through the first six games of the 2008 season, the Cougars have not been able to avoid the injury bug on either side of the ball...15 of WSU's 41 players to start a game in 2008 have combined to miss 27 games this season due to injuries...that includes an injury-riddled offensive line, which has used four different lineups through the first six games...this past week the Cougars were without cornerbacks Tyrone Justin and Markus Dawes, each of whom has started this season, offensive tackle Steven Ayers, who started three games earlier this year, running back Chris Ivory and linebacker Cory Evans, who missed his third straight start.

GRASU KEEPS STREAK ALIVE: For the second time this season, kicker Nico Grasu has kept alive Washington State's scoring streak, which now stands at 279 games and is the second-longest active streak in the nation...Grasu's career-best 47-yard field goal early in the third quarter ended up being the Cougars' only points against UCLA...the 47-yard field was the longest by a Cougar since Loren Langley connected for a 48-yard field goal against Washington at the end of the 2005 season...earlier in the year Grasu's 43-yard field goal were WSU's only points against California.

STADEN MAKING IMPACT ON RETURN GAME: Through the first six games of 2008, junior college transfer Chantz Staden already has 541 kickoff return yards, breaking a 38-year-old single-season record for a junior...the previous record was 498 yards, set by Bernard Jackson in 1970...Staden ranks fifth on the WSU single-season list...his 25.8 kickoff return average currently ranks fifth on the all-time single-season list, and his 21 returns this season is ninth.

NOTABLES FROM UCLA: Sophomore's Romeo Pellum and Myron Beck each recorded nine tackles against the Bruins...Pellum had eight solo tackles and a tackle-for-loss while Beck had seven solos and a TFL...Devin Giles, who started all 12 games last season, recorded his first start of the year in place of injured cornerback Tyrone Justin and responded with six tackles, all solo, and a pass break-up.

WHO'S YOUR DRADDY: Senior offensive lineman Vaughn Lesuma was named a semifinalist for the Draddy Trophy, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame recently announced...the Draddy Trophy recognizes the best and brightest in college football, as nominees must have at least a 3.2 GPA, must be a first team player or significant contributor and must demonstrate strong leadership and citizenship...former WSU quarterback Alex Brink was a finalist for the award in 2007.

BLAND EMERGING AT LINEBACKER: In Saturday's contest at UCLA, linebacker Louis Bland had his best day as a Cougar. The true freshman recorded eight tackles (seven solo) including two tackles-for-loss, in just his second start. In his two starts this season Bland has registered 11 tackles and now has 18 tackles for the season.

CLIMBING THE CHARTS: Senior linebacker Greg Trent had three tackles against UCLA and has a team-best 36 total tackles for the 2008 season. With his first tackle against Baylor three weeks ago, Trent became the 17th player in WSU history to record 250 tackles in a career. A four-year starter with 30 consecutive starts, Trent currently has 271 career tackles, which places him 13th on the all-time list.

HONORING RANDALL SIMMONS - During the 2008 season, Washington State University players are wearing 'RS' on the back of their helmets, honoring the late Randall Simmons. Simmons, who played at WSU from 1976-78, was a member of the SWAT team in Los Angeles when he was killed in the line of duty, Feb. 7, 2008.
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