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Washington State 44, Arizona State 22

11/3/2002

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) -- After Jason Gesser broke another one of
Jack Thompson's records, he planned to give an autographed game
ball to "The Throwin' Samoan.''

Gesser threw for three touchdowns and broke Thompson's school
mark for career yards passing as Washington State (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) took over
sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 Conference with a
44-22 win over Arizona State (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) on Saturday.

"It means the world to me,'' Gesser said. "He has taken me
under his wing. For me ever to be compared with him is
phenomenal.''

Gesser was 18-of-32 for 250 yards and was intercepted twice. A
5-yard pass to Jerome Riley with 11:25 left in the fourth quarter
gave Gesser 7,823 career yards passing, breaking the mark of 7,818
Thompson set from 1975-78.

Gesser also set a Washington State career record for touchdown
passes with 62, surpassing Ryan Leaf -- who threw 59 from 1995-97.
Gesser broke Thompson's school record for total offense last
weekend against Arizona.

Jermaine Green scored on runs of 13 and 10 yards as Washington
State (8-1, 5-0) became the front-runner for the Rose Bowl. Riley
caught two TD passes.

Arizona State star defensive end Terrell Suggs got most of the
pre-game publicity, but it was Rien Long who dominated -- with three
of Washington State's eight sacks.

"Terrell is a tremendous pass rusher,'' Long said. "But I
guess we got a little shunned. I guess it was a little
motivation.''

Suggs finished with one sack. The Cougars kept him away from
Gesser, who entered needing 228 yards to break Thompson's school
record for career yards passing.

Gesser was 18-of-32 for 250 yards and was intercepted twice.

"There couldn't be a better person to break Jack Thompson's
records than Jason Gesser,'' Cougars coach Mike Price said. "He's
a true winner and he represents all of us.''

Arizona State guard Drew Hodgdon admired Long's skills.

"He's probably one of the better defensive tackles I've faced
this year. He's quick and he uses his leverage well,'' Hodgdon
said.

Sun Devils quarterback Andrew Walter completed 31 of 51 passes
for 328 yards, finding Mike Pinkard for scoring passes of 35 and 23
yards, but the Cougars stopped Arizona State twice on downs inside
the 3-yard line.

"We just gave them too many chances, and they took advantage of
them,'' Walter said.

Arizona State (7-3, 4-1) was held to 37 yards rushing, while the
Cougars ran for 135 yards.

Riley caught eight passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns.
Shaun McDonald, Arizona State's conference-leading receiver, was
held to 78 yards on seven catches.

"Turnovers hurt us a lot,'' McDonald said. "You can't give the
No. 8 team in the country turnovers, especially when they've got
Jason Gesser and their receivers.''

The Cougars scored on their first possession, a 31-yard TD pass
from Gesser to Riley, who also hauled in a 39-yard scoring pass
from Gesser. Washington State built a 17-0 lead in the first
quarter after Drew Dunning hit a 31-yard field goal set up by Hakim
Hill's fumble.

Gesser also threw a 1-yard TD pass to Troy Bienemann.

Mike Barth hit field goals of 36 and 22 yards for the Sun
Devils, who also got a safety when Gesser recovered his own fumble
in the end zone after punter Tim Parker pinned the Cougars on their
own 1.

Dunning also hit a 47-yard field goal at the end of the first
half to put Washington State up 27-6. Dunning missed attempts from
43 and 35 yards.

The Cougars capitalized on Sun Devils turnovers, scoring 17
points off two fumbles and two interceptions.

"You can't play a game of this magnitude and make the mistakes
we made,'' Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter said, noting the Sun
Devils' failure to score inside the 20 was costly.

"That's the whole game right there,'' he said. "Forget
everything else, there is no other stat of the game. We didn't make
the plays and they did.''

Suggs leads the NCAA with 18½ sacks. He needs just one to break
the Pac-10's single-season record of 19. The league began keeping
track of sacks in 1982.

The Cougars defense showed no ill effects of a locker room fight
Tuesday that resulted in the suspension of linebacker Ira Davis for
breaking cornerback Jason David's right cheekbone.

Davis was indefinitely suspended and David will miss
six-to-eight weeks.

Price said he was pleased with the way his team responded.

"I think it is just a credit to our team and the maturity of
our team. We hit it head-on, told them what happened, told them
what we were going to do,'' he said. "I think they are
disciplined. We are going to be fine.''