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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, July 8, 2002

Washington State rolls out Gesser promotion

By Dennis Anderson
Advertiser Staff Writer

A 10-story high billboard in midtown Manhattan promoted Oregon's Joey Harrington for football's Heisman Trophy last season.

Washington State's banner promoting Jason Gesser for the Heisman Trophy hung last week on campus in Pullman.

Tim Marsh • Washington State University

A 15-by-25-foot banner promoting Washington State quarterback Jason Gesser of Honolulu for the Heisman will be hung today on a 100-foot-tall grain elevator in aptly named Dusty, Wash., about 30 miles from the Idaho border.

The irony is intentional.

Washington State's low-key promotion grew out of a joke by Cougar coach Mike Price. It is partly intended to poke fun at Oregon's unsuccessful, $250,000 attempt to win college football's top award for its star quarterback, and it is partly the opening shot in WSU's serious campaign to thrust Gesser into the Heisman spotlight.

Gesser, a 1998 graduate from St. Louis School, is a legitimate candidate. He led the Pac-10 last season in passing yardage, total offense and touchdown passes.

The banner asks, in giant lettering at the top, "Gess Who 4 Heisman?"

A similar banner will hang along the I-5 freeway near Seattle, and the banners will rotate to different sites around the state. They are reported to have cost $2,500.

After seeing a "preview" of the banner in the atrium of Bohler athletic complex at WSU in Pullman last week, Gesser said: "It was kind of embarrassing. I've never seen myself that big before."

Washington State's scheduled game with Hawai'i at Aloha Stadium Nov. 30, which would have matched Gesser against his former St. Louis teammate, Tim Chang, was canceled at WSU's request and Alabama will play here instead.

Gesser told The Advertiser he "probably" would play in the Hula Bowl on Maui next February.