Brink's 449 yards keep Cougs alive for a bowl
In a game with a lot of big numbers, the most important thing for Washington State was a letter — W for win. The Cougars remained in...
Seattle Times staff reporter
PULLMAN — In a game with a lot of big numbers, the most important thing for Washington State was a letter — W for win.
The Cougars remained in the bowl hunt Saturday with a 33-17 victory over Stanford in which quarterback Alex Brink passed for 449 yards and a touchdown.
Brink threw a school-record 71st touchdown pass and became the eighth Pac-10 quarterback in history to throw for more than 10,000 yards (he has 10,200) in the triumph before a Dad's Day crowd of 31,110 at Martin Stadium.
"It's a special feeling to get a record like that in a win," said Brink, who toted the ball he threw for touchdown No. 71 after the game.
Brink wasn't the only standout.
Cougars kicker Romeen Abdollmohammadi was 4 for 4 in field-goal attempts in the victory for WSU (4-6 overall, 2-5 Pac-10). Stanford (3-7, 2-6) was eliminated from bowl consideration.
The Cougars got a major contribution in the running game from Chris Ivory, who rushed 15 times for 104 yards after being out a month with a concussion.
"If we get a 100-yard rusher, it takes a lot of pressure off Alex," said junior guard Dan Rowlands.
Brandon Gibson caught seven passes for a career-high 153 yards and tight end Jed Collins caught 10 for 123. Collins was injured late in the fourth quarter and left the stadium on crutches when the game ended with a sprained left ankle.
Michael Bumpus caught seven passes for 96 yards and his first catch, a 21-yarder in the first quarter, made him WSU's career leader with 177, breaking the mark he held with Hugh Campbell (1960-62).
Bumpus also contributed a 45-yard punt return, the longest by any Cougar since his 87-yard return for a score at Nevada in 2005.
The victory didn't appear secure until Abdollmohammadi hit a 31-yard field goal for a 26-17 lead with 3:19 to play.
He got that opportunity thanks to Stanford blunders.
Trailing 23-17 with less than eight minutes to play, Stanford had lined up for a 52-yard field-goal attempt, but was whistled for delay of game and had to punt.
That was mistake No. 1. Mistake No. 2 was a roughing penalty on the return that launched the Cougars on their field-goal drive for the 26-17 lead.
A 55-yard interception return by Husain Abdullah for the final touchdown with 3:01 to play capped the scoring.
Stanford quarterback Tavita Prichard, nephew of Cougars great Jack Thompson, was 22 for 40 for 263 yards and no TDs. The graduate of Clover Park High School in Lakewood was intercepted twice.
The Cougars amassed 561 yards in total offense, their second-highest total of the season, but had trouble reaching the end zone. They were 0 for 3 on fourth downs.
The defense, led by free safety Abdullah who was in on 14 tackles, made timely stops and the Cardinal converted only 5 of 18 third downs, the best job on third down by the Cougars' defense all season.
The Cougars never trailed in the game, but the defense got generous in the third quarter and allowed the Cardinal to score all 17 of its points.
The half started well as the Cougars went up 13-0 with a 23-yard field goal on their first possession. Stanford counterpunched with its first touchdown, a 4-yard run by Tyrone McGraw on a drive that started with a 42-yard kickoff return by Doug Baldwin.
Then came the Cougars' biggest mistake of the game.
Charles Dillon fumbled the kickoff at the 5-yard line, and Nate Wilcox-Fogel recovered for the Cardinal.
The Cougars' defense was up to the task. There were near-interceptions by B.J. Williams, who had the ball knocked from his hands by teammate Xavier Hicks, and Abdullah before the Cardinal settled for a 24-yard field goal that cut the lead to 13-10.
Then the Cougars wasted no time scoring, going 71 yards in five plays and scoring on a 12-yard run by Kevin McCall. Brink hit Gibson with throws of 39 and 13 yards to set up the score. Stanford answered with a 4-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Stewart.
The first half was a series of blown opportunities, and the Cougars led 10-0 at the break.
Stanford missed two field goals in the first half, and the Cougars had lost two fumbles, by Ivory at the 6-yard line and Brink on a handoff. The Cougars also had four first-half drives stopped inside the 24.
The Cougars' second-quarter touchdown was a 12-yard pass that was bobbled, then grabbed by tight end Ben Woodard, who ran to the end zone.
"It was a good effort overall by our kids," said WSU coach Bill Doba.
Craig Smith: 206-464-8279 or email@example.com
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UPDATE - 8:27 PM
UCLA extends win streak in Pullman to 18
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