WSU Football | Mistakes ruin Brink's return to Eugene
Alex Brink entered his hometown hoping to make a triumphant splash in the only college game of his life in Autzen Stadium. Instead, he wound up...
Seattle Times staff reporter
EUGENE, Ore. — Alex Brink entered his hometown hoping to make a triumphant splash in the only college game of his life in Autzen Stadium.
Instead, he wound up being the engineer in a train wreck.
The senior Washington State quarterback made key early mistakes in a 53-7 Pac-10 drubbing by Oregon that stands as one of the worst football afternoons of his life.
When it mercifully ended, Brink stepped outside the locker room and started a 61-second impromptu statement by saying:
"I did not play well. It's frustrating. I want to publicly apologize to my teammates."
How bad was the whipping?
• On WSU's first two possessions, Brink threw two interceptions that led to an Oregon touchdown and field goal. He then lost a fumble and it led to a Ducks field goal and a 17-0 lead.
• The Cougars trailed 40-0 at halftime and didn't make a first down or complete a pass in the second quarter. Brink was sacked in the end zone for a safety for a 19-0 Oregon lead early in the quarter. It was one of six times he was sacked.
• The Cougars didn't score until it was 47-0 in the third quarter. That's when Brink connected with Michael Bumpus on an 8-yard touchdown pass that extended WSU's streak to 268 consecutive games with a score, the second longest streak in the nation.
• The score could have been even more lopsided if Oregon coach Mike Bellotti hadn't taken his foot off the pedal with more than 10 minutes left in the third quarter, leading 47-7. He lifted quarterback Dennis Dixon and played substitutes.
Brink, who is a co-captain for the Cougars (2-5, 0-4 Pac-10), said, "It's frustrating for me on a personal level because I definitely wanted to come home and play better in Eugene. But that's not the most important thing. The most important thing is that as a team we got a loss and now we're even further away from our chance of going to a bowl game. We need to come out of this bye week and just stay together. It's important because a lot of people are going to be talking ... "
The Cougars' fourth consecutive defeat can't be pinned exclusively on Brink and the offense.
The defense surrendered 551 yards (390 in the first half), marking the third time this season an opponent has gone past the 500-yard mark.
Dixon completed 21 of 28 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns. He wasn't intercepted and scored one touchdown on a 1-yard plunge.
Brink was 15 for 33 with two interceptions and a touchdown. It was the first time all season Brink fell below 50 percent on his completions. The only Cougar with impressive statistics was true freshman Jeshua Anderson, who caught four passes for 127 yards.
Oregon picked the Cougs apart.
"They picked up our blitz right off the bat," said sophomore linebacker Andy Mattingly, who started as the Cougars used a 3-4 defensive alignment. "They had studied a lot. They knew what we were doing. They called the right play at the right time."
The Cougars held Oregon star running back Jonathan Stewart to 66 yards on 13 carries, but Jeremiah Johnson gained 65 yards on four carries and scored twice before leaving with a knee injury that might end his season.
Johnson scored from 42 yards on the Ducks' first snap.
He had been put in that position by John Bacon's 49-yard interception return of a Brink pass. Johnson scored on an 18-yard run later in the first quarter after Brink's fumble.
The game was the complete opposite of the Cougs' last visit to Eugene, in 2003, when everything that could go wrong for the Ducks did in a 55-16 WSU win.
WSU coach Bill Doba called the Ducks (5-1, 2-1) better than their No. 9 ranking and said, "We can't turn the ball over against a team of this quality and expect to compete."
This was the third defeat for the Cougars against a top-10 team. WSU now has a bye and then plays UCLA in Pullman.
The Ducks were coming off a bye week and receiver Cameron Colvin had said after the 31-24 defeat to California two weeks ago he "felt sorry" for the next Oregon opponent.
He was right.
Craig Smith: 206-464-8279 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|Making points vs. WSU|
|Oregon's 53 points tied for the 14th most against the Cougars by a league opponent:|
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 8:27 PM
UCLA extends win streak in Pullman to 18
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