10:00 PM ET, October 26, 2002
Arizona Stadium, TUCSON, AZ
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Washington State was good enough to beat Arizona, even if the Cougars' heads really weren't in it.
Mike Bush led the Cougars with four receptions for 57 yards.
Jason Gesser became the school's career leader in total offense, and the Cougars (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) came back in the second half to beat Arizona 21-13 Saturday night.
"I know we were physically up for this game,'' Gesser said. "I don't know if we were mentally up.''
Gesser completed 20 of 35 passes for 275 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown toss to Devard Darling to put the Cougars ahead 14-13 with 2:04 left in the third quarter.
Jermaine Green rushed for 119 yards on 29 carries. His tackle-breaking, 18-yard touchdown run with 7:37 remaining gave Washington State a 21-13 lead. The game ended with the Cougars on the Wildcats' 3.
"It wasn't that it was that difficult,'' Washington State coach Mike Price said. "We were just making it difficult on ourselves.''
Washington State (7-1, 4-0 Pac-10), which has trailed at some point in five of its victories, plays conference co-leader Arizona State next Saturday at home.
Gesser broke Jack Thompson's school record for total offense with 7,828 yards, 130 more than Thompson. Gesser moved past Drew Bledsoe and Ryan Leaf into second place on the career passing list -- 228 yards behind Thompson's 7,818.
"It's great to be considered in the same sentence or the same paragraph as somebody like that,'' Gesser said. "To have those guys up there and having my stats compared to them is a great honor.''
Washington State hadn't played in two weeks.
"I think we were rusty offensively,'' Price said. "And we didn't look like that in practice. We were just sharper than heck. But you get out here and the tempo changes and the crowd gets into it and you start getting nervous and anxious.''
Bobby Gill, whose previous long field goal was 26 yards, was successful from 47 and 42 yards for Arizona (3-5, 0-4). His 42-yarder, on a drive kept alive by two Washington State penalties on Arizona punt attempts, gave the Wildcats a 13-8 lead with 4:54 left in the third quarter.
Arizona quarterback Jason Johnson fumbled the ball away twice, once for a safety and another time to set up a Washington State touchdown. He completed 22 of a career-high 46 passes for 224 yards, including a 27-yard scoring pass to Bobby Wade, but was intercepted twice.
The Cougars sacked Johnson seven times. Wade, the Pac-10's leading receiver, caught nine passes for 83 yards.
"Our offense didn't get the job done when we needed to execute,'' Wade said. "Our defense played a great game.''
The Wildcats are 2-15 in their last 17 Pac-10 games.
"It hurts more and more every week,'' Wade said.
Johnson's fumble was recovered by Washington State's Isaac Brown at the Arizona 32 midway through the fourth quarter. Three plays later, Green shook off several tacklers on an 18-yard scoring run.
"I just kept my feet chugging and all of a sudden, there it was,'' Green said.
Washington State squandered several opportunities as Arizona took a 10-5 halftime lead.
Drew Dunning had a 28-yard field-goal try blocked and missed a 45-yarder before finally making one from 22 yards to put the Cougars up 5-3 with 2:45 left in the half.
Wade's 35-yard kickoff return and a 61-yard, seven-play drive put Arizona ahead. Wade sidestepped two tacklers on the 27-yard pass-and-run play that gave the Wildcats a 10-5 lead with 51 seconds left in the half.
Washington State's first score was a safety, when Johnson fumbled into his own end zone. Fred Shavies and Virgil Williams jumped on the ball for the Cougars, but it popped away from them and out of the end zone, giving Washington State a 2-0 lead with 3:57 left in the first quarter.
Arizona drove to the Cougars' 30 and Gill kicked a career-best 46-yard field goal to take a 3-2 lead 6:21 before halftime.
Lance Briggs matched his career high with 16 tackles for the Wildcats.
"We have no apologies at all for this game,'' Arizona coach John Mackovic said. "We played as hard and efficient as we could play, and we just came up short.''