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Updated: Saturday, September 21, 2002 10:13 PM EDT
NCAA FOOTBALL RECAP
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(18) Washington St 45, Montana St 28
MONTANA ST. BOBCATS
Montana St. Bobcats
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WASHINGTON ST. COUGARS
Washington St. Cougars
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PULLMAN, Washington (Ticker) -- Washington State may have lost quarterback Jason Gesser, but had plenty left to beat Division I-AA Montana State.

Jermaine Green ran for two touchdowns and caught a pass for another as 18th-ranked Washington State twice built leads of 31 points and went on to a 45-28 win.

Green scored on TD runs of two yards in both the second and third quarter and grabbed a seven-yard TD pass from backup quarterback Matt Kegel late in the third.

Kegel was playing in place of Gesser, who left the game in the third quarter with injuries to his ribs and right shoulder after being sacked. Gesser, the leading passer in the Pac-10 Conference last season, was taken to a hospital for X-rays.

"I wasn't going to put him back in the game anyway," Washington State coach Mike Price said of the decision to remove Gesser. "In the first half, he got the wind knocked out of him and injured his ribs. We want Jason to be able to go. I'll know more every day as it goes along."

Gesser completed 10-of-15 passes for 142 yards and two touchdown passes to Devard Darling before departing.

Green's second TD gave the Cougars a 38-7 lead while his TD reception made it a 45-14 game.

The Cougars (3-1) dropped seven spots in the rankings after a 25-7 loss to Ohio State, but looked better on Saturday against the Bobcats.

"I'm glad this is over. Any time you play a team you're supposed to beat is a coach's nightmare," Price said. "We didn't play well. We played at times beneath ourselves."

Washington State was sluggish at times and was penalized 12 times for 115 yards.

"I'm glad we won, but they'll be running hard on Monday for those penalties," Price added.

Washington State has won all seven meetings with Montana State, which played Division II Adams State last week.

"This is out third year here. We're pretty comfortable here," Montana State coach Mike Kramer said. "We know where the parking lot is and where all the good places are to eat in town."

Tyler Thomas of Montana State played well against the better competition, completing 26-of-45 passes for 290 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

Junior Adams caught TD passes of 75 yards in the third quarter and 23 yards in the fourth from Thomas.

The Bobcats opened the scoring on a five-yard TD pass from Thomas to Hill midway threw the first quarter.

Darling's 33-yard TD reception early in the second quarter put Washington State ahead to stay at 10-7. Green's first TD made it 17-7 and safety Erik Coleman returned a fumble by Ryan Johnson 11 yards for a score to make it 24-7 at halftime.

Darling's second TD catch increased the lead to 31-7 early in the third quarter.


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