WSU Football | Coug defense saves day at Oregon State
Seattle Times staff reporter
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Defense to the rescue.
On a day when the Washington State offense managed to score only one touchdown and the miscues included a missed 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, the Cougars kept Oregon State out of the end zone and beat the Beavers 13-6 Saturday in front of 42,951 in Reser Stadium.
Senior linebacker Scott Davis sacked Matt Moore twice on Oregon State's final possession, the last one for a 10-yard loss with 1:49 to play that gave the Cougars the ball at their own 33.
The Cougars ran out the clock, with running back DeMaundray Woolridge consuming the final five seconds on a fourth-down run.
"We're going to call Scott Davis 'The Closer,' " said jubilant WSU defensive coordinator Robb Akey.
It was the first victory in the month of October since 2003 for the Cougars (4-2 overall, 2-1 Pac-10), who also snapped a two-game winning streak against them by Oregon State (2-3, 0-2).
It was the first time since a 24-3 win at Oregon State in 1996 that the Cougars kept a Pac-10 team from scoring a touchdown.
Cougars defenders, who combined to force four turnovers, took turns making big plays all afternoon:
• Senior defensive end Mkristo Bruce, who entered the game leading the nation in sacks with eight, added two more. His first was a defensive trifecta in the first quarter in which he sacked quarterback Matt Moore, caused a fumble and recovered it.
• Senior safety Eric Frampton made an end-zone interception in the third quarter after the Cougars had scored the game's only touchdown to go up 13-3.
• Senior cornerback Tyron Brackenridge caused two fumbles on back-to-back Oregon State possessions in the second quarter that Cougars recovered. Sandwiched between them was a WSU turnover on a center snap by the Cougars. That equaled three turnovers on three plays.
"We told each other, 'We have to step it up. It's up to us,' " junior defensive tackle Ropati Pitoitua said.
Frampton found the victory "very satisfying" and said, "As a defense, we've matured."
In a game in which the Cougars offense allowed five sacks, the Cougars defense got six and held the Beavers to 287 total yards. The WSU defense also allowed the Beavers only 3 of 12 third-down conversions.
The game helped erase the memory of last year's defeat in Corvallis in which the Cougars blew a 30-13 lead and lost 44-33. That loss started a seven-game losing streak and played a role in WSU adopting its 2006 motto — "Finish!"
"Today, they finish it when the game was on the line and kept them from scoring touchdowns," said Akey. "I thought the whole group really came out and played well today."
The Cougars went up 13-3 with 4:08 left in the third quarter on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Alex Brink to Jason Hill, who suffered a bruised shoulder and didn't return. The TD completed a four-play, 82-yard drive that took only 29 seconds.
The drive started with a 25-yard pass to Hill on which he broke the WSU career receiving record, passing the mark of 2,452 yards. Brink then hit Brandon Gibson on sideline for 28 yards on a play that was initially called an incompletion but then reversed after review. Then came the TD on which Hill was injured and the Beavers were flagged for a facemask penalty.
After the Cougars scored, the Beavers then went 69 yards to the Cougars' 11 but Frampton intercepted a Moore pass in the end zone that was intended for Yvenson Bernard.
Then it was the Cougars' turn to blow a scoring opportunity. Derrell Hutsona galloped 53 yards to the 15 and two plays later the Cougars were at the 3 early in the fourth quarter. They failed to score a TD, and Loren Langley missed a 25-yard field goal.
The Beavers got their only second-half points on a 41-yard field goal by Alexis Serna to cut the lead to 13-6 with 5:44 left.
Brink completed 19 of 32 passes for 270 yards and the TD and was intercepted once.
Brink had been 0-3 as a starting quarterback in Reser Stadium dating back to a loss in the Oregon state-championship game when he was at Sheldon High School in Eugene.
Hill caught five passes for 121 yards before leaving the game.
Oregon State's Moore completed 18 of 34 passes for 223 yards and was intercepted once. Sammie Stroughter caught six passes for 124 yards and also gained 100 yards on four punt returns.
At halftime, the Cougars led 6-3 in a fumble-fest and had been outgained 153-123 by the Beavers. Langley provided the points with field goals of 39 and 20 yards, and punter Darryl Blunt had the longest run — a 23-yarder — when he saw that any punt was about to be blocked. The run led to the 20-yard field goal.
The Beavers cut the lead to 6-3 with a 42-yard field goal with 21 seconds left in the half.
"It was a tough game," Brink said. "It wasn't pretty but it's a win and that's all that matters."
Craig Smith: 206-464-8278 or email@example.com
|Fall of a streak|
|WSU Saturday ended a streak of nine straight October losses:|
|10/23/2004||At Oregon St.||L, 38-19|
|10/1/2005||At Oregon St.||L, 44-33|
|10/15/2005||UCLA||L, 44-41 OT|
|10/22/2005||At Cal||L, 42-38|
|10/29/2005||At USC||L, 55-13|
|10/7/2006||At Oregon St.||W 13-7|
Craig Smith: 206-464-8278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information in this article, originally published October 8, was corrected October 9. A previous version of this story contained an error. Washington State running back DeMaundray Woolridge's first name was incorrectly reported as Orlando in a story Sunday about the Cougars' victory over Oregon State.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company