Extra MustardSI On CampusFantasyPhoto GalleriesSwimsuitVideoFanNationSI KidsTNT
Updated: Saturday, November 9, 2002 9:35 PM EST
NCAA FOOTBALL RECAP
Recap | Box Score | Scorecast | Today's Scoreboard
(5) Washington St 32, (15) Oregon 21
OREGON DUCKS
Oregon Ducks
Related Links:
WASHINGTON ST. COUGARS
Washington St. Cougars
Related Links:

PULLMAN, Washington (Ticker) -- Jason Gesser and Washington State cleared another hurdle in pursuit of just the second Pac-10 title in school history.

Gesser threw four touchdown passes, including a pair in a 59-second span midway through the fourth quarter, as the fifth-ranked Cougars rallied for a 32-21 victory over No. 15 Oregon.

Washington State (9-1, 6-0) scored the game's final 15 points to remain the only unbeaten team in the Pac-10. The Cougars need to win one of their two remaining games to capture their first league title since Ryan Leaf led them to the Rose Bowl following the 1997 season.

With No. 2 Oklahoma losing to Texas A&M, Washington State also could move up in the BCS standings. The Cougars entered the gane ranked third.

"That was a great afternoon in Cougarville," Washington State coach Mike Price said. "It's kind of indicative of our whole season. It sure helps when you play defense and run the football in November. Teams that do that win."

Jermaine Green overshadowed Oregon's Onterrio Smith by rushing for a career-high 180 yards.

"It was a team effort," Green said. "If it wasn't for my linemen, I couldn't have done it. We wanted to come out and prove to everybody that we were the real deal."

Smith, who missed last week's game against Stanford with a sore knee, was held to 64 yards on 25 carries. He ran for a school-record 275 yards in last year's win over Washington State.

"Last year they over-pursued and were too aggressive," Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said. "That resulted in the big plays. This year they played it much safer. Onterrio is probably not 100 percent. They did a very good job stopping him."

The Cougars closed to 21-20 on Drew Dunning's 35-yard field goal on the final play of the third quarter, then took the lead for good on Gesser's four-yard TD pass to Mike Bush with 8:56 remaining in the contest.

The conversion pass failed, but Washington State got back the ball on Marcus Trufant's interception, which set up Gesser's 40-yard TD strike to Devard Darling.

Washington State blanked Oregon's offense in the second half.

The Ducks (7-3, 3-3), who have dropped three of their last four, took a 21-17 on linebacker Kevin Mitchell's 20-yard interception return for a touchdown 45 seconds into the third quarter.

A motion penalty erased Gesser's TD pass to Jerome Riley late in the third quarter, but the Cougars closed within a point on Dunning's field goal and dominated the final period.

Oregon's hopes ended when Jared Siegel missed a 40-yard field goal with 3:07 left. The Ducks lost to Washington State for the first time in five meetings.

Washington State's previous win over Oregon came in its Rose Bowl season five years ago.

"I hope that is a good omen," Washington State offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller said.

Gesser, who already is Washington State's all-time leader in passing yards and total offense, completed 20-of-38 passes for 277 yards and one interception.

Gesser has 66 career TD passes, tying UCLA's Cade McNown for third place on the Pac-10's all-time list. He only trails John Elway (77) and Steve Strenstrom (75) of Stanford.

Washington State opened the scoring on Gesser's eight-yard TD strike to Darling with 7:23 left in the first period. Oregon answered on cornerback Steve Moore's 12-yard fumble return just over three minutes later.

After Dunning kicked a 45-yard field goal early in the second, Oregon grabbed a 14-10 lead on Jason Fife's 16-yard TD pass to Jason Willis with 8:17 left in the half.

Washington State answered with an 80-yard, nine-play march, taking a 17-14 halftime lead on Gesser's three-yard TD pass to Bush with 4:37 to play.

The Cougars held Oregon to just 252 total yards. Fife completed only 16-of-35 passes for 192 yards, while the Ducks were limited to just 60 yards on the ground.

"Our defense was on the field too much," Bellotti said. "We did a very poor job in terms of our special teams and offensively."


© 2005 STATS, Inc
Search