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Updated: Sunday, September 8, 2002 2:26 AM EDT
NCAA FOOTBALL RECAP
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(12) Washington St 49, Idaho 14

PULLMAN, Washington (Ticker) -- Washington State is ready for its trip to Columbus.

Jonathan Smith and Jason Gesser accounted for six touchdowns as the 12th-ranked Cougars routed Idaho, 49-14, in the 84th "Battle of the Palouse."

Washington State (2-0) was not challenged in its first two games, beating Nevada, 31-7 last week. But the Cougars get their first test next week when they visit No. 9 Ohio State.

Smith rushed for 124 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries, while Gesser completed 11-of-15 passes for 178 yards and three scores in limited action.

Two of Gesser's TDs went to Devard Darling, who also accounted for three scores.

In the first five minutes, Darling scored on a 15-yard run and caught a 15-yard TD pass that gave Washington State a 14-0 lead. The Cougars were never threatened thereafter.

Washington needed only 50 seconds to score as Will Derting recovered quarterback Will Lindgren's fumble on the second play of the game at the Idaho 15. Darling scored on a reverse two plays later.

"That reverse, we put in late in the week," Washington State coach Mike Price said. "I figured on the that sudden change, 'What the heck, we have great field position.' I couldn't think of anything else to call. It worked."

Mike Tippins added 85 yards on just eight carries, who rushed for 240 yards while holding Idaho to just 51 yards on the ground.

"We said we wanted to come out and establish the run," Price added. "We want to continue to play good team defense and improve the blocking of our offensive line. I thought we did that today and I thought that Tippins and Smith ran great."

Smith's one-yard run made it 21-0 early in the second before Idaho (0-2) got on the board on Brian Lindgren's seven-yard TD pass to Josh Jelmberg with 1:48 left in the first half.

But Gesser executed the two-minute offense to near perfection, driving the Cougars 80 yards in just four plays. His 37-yard TD strike to Mike Bush made it 28-7 50 seconds before intermission.

Lindgren completed 33-of-49 passes for 260 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Vandals. Zach Gerstner led Idaho on the ground with just 37 yards on 14 carries.

"We were beaten soundly on the line of scrimmage," Idaho coach Tom Cable said. "They were dominant on the line of scrimmage. They really got after it up front."

Lindgren tossed a two-yard TD pass to Kevin O'Connell with 4:25 left in the third quarter, but the Cougars got back the score on Gesser's 41-yard TD pass to Darling with 1:10 left in the third.

"Darling is good," Cable said. "I said this week that Gesser is a good player with a lot of weapons. I think we got him twice, but we needed to get him four or five times."

Smith added a pair of seven-yard TD runs in the final quarter.

Washington State increased its lead in the all-time series to 65-17-3.


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