PAYDIRT FOR ANDERSON
SEATTLE –- Jeshua Anderson, Washington State’s lightning-fast freshman receiver, earned a nickname Saturday at Qwest Field. But it’s hard to decide exactly what the moniker should be. “Kreskin” might work in light of fact he predicted before the game that this was the day he would score his first collegiate touchdown.
“The Labrador” also would be fitting after the glowing comments –- and endearing metaphor -– used by offensive coordinator/receivers coach Mike Levenseller to describe the 6-2, 190-pounder.
Regardless, Jeshua Anderson grabbed the attention of the vocal Cougar faithful -- nearly 50,000 strong -- who watched the Cougs' 45-17 victory over San Diego State.
Anderson teamed up with Alex Brink for a nifty 39-yard scoring aerial in the second quarter that put the Cougs ahead 24-10.
“He told me before the game he was going to score,” smiled senior slotback Michael Bumpus, who led all pass catchers with 10 receptions for 118 yards. As soon as the play to Anderson was called, Bumpus said, he knew it was going to be paydirt.
Anderson, the national high school record-holder in the 300 meter hurdles, was several yards farther down field than the nearest San Diego State defender when he hauled in Brink’s pass over his left shoulder and glided into the north end zone.
“I’ll tell you what, he can help our offense a lot more than that,” gushed Levenseller, glimpsing the future.
“He makes few mental mistakes … he blocks well, he’s aggressive,” the coach added.
The Woodland Hills, Calif., product also is a student of the game, taking instruction seriously –- and enthusiastically.
Levensller joked that Anderson reminds him of a Labrador retriever puppy -- loveable but sometimes needing correction. No matter what the situation in practice, though, his love of the game –- like a Lab’s love of life -- never wanes, Levenseller said.
Anderson’s comments after the game illustrated his coach's point: “I just try to do my best and try to match up with … everybody. I don’t want to let anybody down.”
Anderson, who chose WSU this past February over Oregon, made his collegiate debut last week at Wisconsin, catching his first pass and playing 10 total snaps.
Modest output perhaps, but considering Levenseller’s exacting standards, that’s a mountain of action for a true freshman. For perspective, consider that while Jason Hill starred on special teams as a true freshman, he didn’t catch a single pass that season.
ANDERSON’S FIRST-EVER touchdown catch wasn’t the only notable first of the night. JC transfer safety Alfonso Jackson recorded his first interception; tight end Ben Woodard caught his first career touchdown pass (an 18-yarder in the third quarter); receiver Charles Dillon had his first career 100-yard game; sophomore DE Kevin Kooyman recorded his first multiple sack game with 2 -- double his career total; and freshman Toby Turpin recorded his first career sack.
THE COUGARS’ LEADING tacklers Saturday were Greg Trent (13), Kendrick Dunn (9), Devin Giles (6) and Halston Higgins (6). This was Trent’s second-consecutive double-digit tackling day.
SHAWN McWASHINGTON and a dozen other members of WSU’s fabled 1997 Pac-10 championship team were saluted at the end of the first quarter. This marked the 10th anniversary of the season that saw the Cougs get to the Rose Bowl for the first time in 67 years. They weren’t the only luminaries on hand Saturday. Also spotted were Jason Gesser, Jack Thompson, Tyler Hunt and Mkristo Bruce. Bruce, recently cut by the Dolphins but aiming to land elsewhere, received a nice, impromptu round of applause when spotted on the sidelines in the southwest corner of the stadium.
NEXT UP FOR THE COUGS are the Idaho Vandals, coached by Robb Akey. The Vandals beat Cal-Poly, 20-13, on Saturday to even their record at 1-1 following last week’s loss at USC.