WSU Football | Eight turnovers net a "nightmare"
Embarrassment. Flogging. Disaster. Pick a word. They all describe Washington State's performance Saturday in Martin Stadium. With quarterback Alex Brink...
Seattle Times staff reporters
PULLMAN — Embarrassment. Flogging. Disaster. Pick a word. They all describe Washington State's performance Saturday in Martin Stadium.
With quarterback Alex Brink tying a school record with six interceptions — five in the first half — the Cougars got thrashed by Oregon State 52-17.
The Cougars had been favored by three points but turned the ball over eight times, and five of the turnovers led to 31 Oregon State points.
Other WSU lowlights included dropping four passes and converting only four of 15 third downs.
It was the worst home defeat since the 51-3 drubbing by Washington in the 2000 Apple Cup.
"I never would have guessed this in 100 years," said WSU coach Bill Doba, whose job might be in jeopardy and whose status will be reviewed after the Apple Cup next weekend in Seattle.
The defeat dropped the woeful Cougars to 4-7 and 2-6 in the Pac-10 and snuffed the dream of getting to a bowl.
WSU hasn't been to a bowl game since Doba's first season as head coach in 2003.
Oregon State improved to 7-4, 5-3 Pac-10 and assured itself of a bowl game.
Brink's previous high in interceptions was four, all in the second half of a 44-33 defeat at Oregon State in 2005 in which he also set the school record of 531 passing yards.
His six-interception day tied the school record held by Jerry Henderson (against Arizona State, 1976), Chuck Peck (California, 1974), and Paul Mencke (USC, 1998).
"This one was definitely a nightmare," said Brink, who was playing for the last time in Martin Stadium and was harassed all day by Oregon State defenders.
He attributed the early interceptions to "pressing a little bit and not throwing the ball away."
"Trying to do a little too much definitely was part of it on a couple of them," Brink said. "That's something that's frustrating because we've been able to make plays in those situations and I've been able to make plays in those situations and that didn't happen today."
Brink's streak of 15 games with a touchdown pass was snapped.
Brink was lifted in the fourth quarter for junior Gary Rogers, whose only pass was intercepted.
Brink completed 21 of 45 passes for 314 yards.
OSU starter Lyle Moevao completed 15 of 28 passes for 202 yards and one TD. He wasn't intercepted.
Cougars students, who had delayed departing Friday for their one-week Thanksgiving vacation, started to file out of the stadium in the second quarter. The announced attendance for the game played in inclement weather was only 22,660. It was the lowest attendance since a Thursday night game against Montana State in 2001 drew 14,325.
The game was over by halftime as Oregon State led 31-3 and the Cougars were fortunate the score wasn't even more lopsided.
The Cougars put themselves in a mineshaft of a hole in the first quarter when they gave up three touchdowns in their worst defensive quarter since giving up 23 points in the second quarter in the 53-7 loss at Oregon.
With a hard rain falling, OSU marched 74 yards on 11 plays to score the opening touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Moevao to take a 7-0 lead.
The weather improved, but not the Cougars' fortunes.
Chris Ivory, who lost a fumble in the first quarter last week against Stanford, fumbled again and Daniel Drayton recovered for OSU. Four plays later, Yvenson Bernard was in the end zone with an 18-yard run that made it 14-0.
Brink then was intercepted by Joey LaRocque at the Cougars 39.
OSU receiver James Rodgers scored on an end-around from the 8-yard line and the kick made it 21-0.
Brink's second intercepted pass led to a 22-yard field goal and a 24-3 OSU lead.
The third interception of the half was by defensive end Jeff Van Orsow who returned it 16 yards to the Cougars 18.
Four plays later, Bernard popped into the end zone from 2 yards out for a 31-3 lead.
The Cougars almost immediately committed another turnover and it took a film review to overturn an on-field ruling that Brink had fumbled while being sacked.
Brink threw two more interceptions before the half ended but his final one was easy to forgive because it was a Hail Mary in the final minute.
Brink started the second half and the Cougars got to the 2-yard line on their second possession — thanks to a pass-interference penalty — but failed to score.
The Cougars finally scored a touchdown on a 19-yard run by Kevin McCall that was set up by a 61-yard pass play from Brink to true freshman Jeshua Anderson. McCall scored in the fourth period on a 1-yard run that was set up by a 67-yard pass play from Brink to Brandon Gibson.
The Beavers got second-half touchdowns on a 7-yard run by Matt Sieverson, a 56-yard gallop by reserve Clinton Polk and a 1-yard pass to Howard Croom.
"Today just came down to mistakes, and we made more than Oregon State did," said WSU receiver Michael Bumpus.
A lot more.
Craig Smith: 206-464-8279 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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