Cougars Set to Host No. 6 USC

Oct. 13, 2008

PULLMAN, Wash. -

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Washington State Cougars (1-6, 0-4)
vs. USC Trojans (4-1, 2-1)
October 18 - Martin Stadium
FSN - 12:30 p.m. (PT)

SATURDAY'S MATCHUP: After two straight weeks on the road, the Washington State Cougars (1-6, 0-4) host the No. 6 USC Trojans (4-1, 2-1) at Martin Stadium, Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The Cougars look for their first conference victory following last week's loss at Oregon State. Saturday's contest will be televised by FSN, with Barry Tompkins calling play-by-play, Petros Papadakis serving as analyst and Jim Watson on the sidelines.

WASHINGTON STATE vs. USC - THE SERIES: The Cougars have a record of 8-55-4 against the Trojans dating back to 1921. In games played at home the Cougars are 4-18-2, including a 4-11-2 mark when playing in Pullman (WSU is 0-7 in Spokane). The Cougars have lost each of the last five games to USC, with the Trojans recording a 47-14 win at the Coliseum last season. WSU's last win in the series came in 2002, a 30-27 overtime victory in Pullman. The last time these two teams met in Pullman the Trojans escaped with a 28-22 win, Sept. 30, 2006.

FIRST STARTS: Through the first seven weeks of the 2008 season, 23 WSU players have registered their first collegiate start, 15 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...last week at Oregon State freshman BJ Guerra started at right guard, the first start of his career...the 23 players include punter Dan Wagner and kickers Wade Penner and Nico Grasu.

LOBBESTAEL LOST FOR SEASON: Cougar redshirt freshman quarterback Marshall Lobbestael suffered a torn ACL and torn MCL in his left knee during the Cougars' game at Oregon State last Saturday, and will miss the remainder of the season. Lobbestael was injured during the fourth quarter at Oregon State and did not return. Initially diagnosed as an MCL tear, further tests Sunday revealed both the ACL and MCL were torn. Lobbestael's recovery is expected to take approximately nine months. Lobbestael is the second starting quarterback this season to suffer a season-ending injury, as Gary Rogers suffered a stable cervical spine fracture that was non surgical against Portland State.

YOUTH IS SERVED: While the Cougars have had a number of first-time starters this season (23), they have also had an abundant number of underclassmen starting. Through the first seven games of the season, the Cougars have started 20 different underclassmen, 12 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.

SIMMONS TO BE HONORED: Randall Simmons, the former WSU football player and Los Angeles SWAT team member who was killed in the line of duty last February, will be remembered by WSU at halftime of the USC game. His parents, wife, two children and sister will be on hand to accept the Alumni Service Award on his behalf, presented by the WSU Alumni Association, WSU President's Office, WSU African-American Alumni Association and WSU Athletics.

ROBERTS ADDED TO TEAM: Following an open tryout last Monday at Rogers Field, WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff announced freshman quarterback Peter Roberts has been added to the Cougar football team. 'He's a very smart kid,' Wulff said. 'All we're asking him to do is help our scout team and help our defense. He's got some athletic ability and he's played quarterback.' Roberts, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound Woodinville, Wash., native, was a three-year letterwinner in football at Woodinville High School, earning second-team All-KingCo honors as a senior.

INJURY BUG HITS COUGARS: Through the first seven games of the 2008 season, the Cougars have not been able to avoid the injury bug on either side of the ball...16 of WSU's 43 players to start a game in 2008 have combined to miss 33 games this season due to injuries...that includes an injury-riddled offensive line, which has used five different lineups through the first seven games...this past week the Cougars were without offensive tackle Steven Ayers, who started three games earlier this year, guard Brian Danaher, who started each of the first six games, running backs Dwight Tardy and Chris Ivory, and wide receiver Daniel Blackledge...during the Oregon State game starting left tackle Vaughn Lesuma was lost to a shoulder injury, starting tight end Deven Frischknecht suffered a high ankle sprain and quarterback Marshall Lobbestael left in the third quarter with a knee sprain.

NOTABLES FROM OREGON STATE: Redshirt freshman B.J. Guerra made his first career start against the Beavers...Guerra is the 23rd player to register his collegiate start for the Cougars this season...Guerra is also the 20th different underclassman to start a game for WSU in 2008...freshman linebacker Louis Bland's 16-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter was the first by a Cougar since Husain Abdullah returned a pick for a touchdown against Stanford in 2007...the interception was the first of Bland's career...redshirt junior safety Xavier Hicks intercepted two Beaver passes...the last Cougar to pick off two passes in a game was Husain Abdullah against California in 2005...sophomore linebacker Myron Beck's second-quarter interception was the first of his career...WSU's four interceptions were the most by a Cougar team since intercepting four passes against Idaho in 2007...the Cougars entered the game with three interceptions on the season...junior defensive end Kevin Kooyman's seven tackles against the Beavers were a career high...junior defensive end Andy Mattingly's 11 tackles were a season high, and the most since his 11 against California in 2007.

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.

CLIMBING THE CHARTS: Senior linebacker Greg Trent had 10 tackles against Oregon State and has a team-best 46 total tackles for the 2008 season. With his first tackle against Baylor four weeks ago, Trent became the 17th player in WSU history to record 250 tackles in a career. A four-year starter with 31 consecutive starts, Trent currently has 281 career tackles, which places him tied for 11th on the all-time list with Don Hover (1973-75, 77).

BYE WEEK MEDIA SCHEDULE: Following the USC game this Saturday the Cougars enter their lone bye week of the 2008 campaign...Head Coach Paul Wulff will conduct his Sunday conference call this week but will not hold next week's Tuesday (Oct. 21), Thursday (Oct. 23) or Sunday (Oct. 26) conference calls. Wulff will participate in the Oct. 21 Pac-10 conference call. The team will practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at its normal time.

BLAND EMERGING AT LINEBACKER: In Saturday's contest at Oregon State, freshman Louis Bland recorded the first Cougar defensive score of the season when he intercepted a Lyle Moevao pass and raced 16 yards for a second-quarter score. The week prior at UCLA, linebacker Bland had his best day as a Cougar, recording eight tackles (seven solo) including two tackles-for-loss, in just his second start. For the season he has registered 20 tackles, including 15 solo, while starting the last three games.
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