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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

WSU-Idaho notes: Price, Gesser back on field together

PULLMAN – The last Washington State football coach and quarterback to take the Cougars to the Rose Bowl were honored during Saturday’s game, as Mike Price and Jason Gesser were among seven inductees into the WSU Athletics Hall of Fame this weekend.

Price coached the Cougars from 1989-2002 and Gesser played quarterback from 1999-2002. The last year in Pullman for both of them, 2002, they led WSU to the Rose Bowl and a No. 7 final ranking in the AP Top-25.

“It’s pretty special to be back out on the field and be back in the capacity that I’m here and to be standing next to the guy I’m standing next to,” Gesser said to sideline reporter Jessamyn McIntyre. “To have the family here and be here with him means the world to me.”

“(Price is) my second dad,” Gesser continued. “He’s done so much for me, not only on the field but off the field from the first day I got on campus. I remember him sitting down with me and saying, ‘It’s you and me kid. We’re either going to win together or lose together, but we’ve got each other’s back.’ ”

Recently arrested Cougars play big roles

Recently arrested Washington State football players Logan Tago and Robert Barber played in the 56-6 win over Idaho on Saturday, as did safety Shalom Luani. Police have recommended felony charges against all three players.

The trio played key roles for the Cougars in the blowout, with Luani starting at free safety. Barber typically starts at nose tackle for the Cougars, but did not start on Saturday. However, Barber did enter the game during WSU’s first defensive series.

Both Barber and Luani finished with three tackles. Luani had a tackle for loss, while Barber blocked a field goal that was returned for a touchdown, igniting the Cougars after a tepid first quarter. Tago finished with two tackles.

Tago was arrested on Monday for his role in a felony robbery and possible assault over the summer. According to Pullman police, he has confessed to hitting a 23-year-old Pullman resident and stealing his beer. Barber was arrested Friday morning for felony assault for his role in a summer brawl, as was T.J. Fehoko, who did not play. The University Conduct Board ruled last week to expel Barber from WSU, but that ruling is under appeal.

Luani allegedly assaulted a victim inside a Domino’s Pizza in late August. Luani was suspended for WSU’s season-opener against Eastern Washington, a decision coach Mike Leach now says he regrets.

Hilinski makes WSU debut

Mike Leach has been trying to get backup quarterback Tyler Hilinski game experience all season, and on Saturday he was finally able to. With the game in hand midway through the fourth quarter, Leach put in his offensive backups, letting Hilinski lead a drive that was successful right up until an end zone interception.

True freshman center Frederick Mauigoa also got his first snaps on the drive, and C.J. Dimry and Alijah Lees also saw their first action during the fourth quarter. Lee, a walk-on who does the dirty work of getting hit by the starting defense every day in practice as a member of the scout team, had two productive runs, going eight and six yards, scoring a touchdown on his second carry.

“I think they played really good,” quarterback Luke Falk said. “I think they played within the offense and stuff. (Hilinski) threw the ball really well. And it was awesome to see Alijah get that touchdown. What’d he do, make two guys miss, spin around and get in there? That’s what the people wanted to see.”