UPDATED 8:15 P.M.
This might have been the day Alex Brink took over the Cougars for good.
It didn't start that way, but an 81-yard, game-winning drive in the final 5 minutes assured that it would finish that way.
Finish. That's a word Cougar coach Bill Doba has used a lot this year. And maybe it’s a word that can now apply to any quarterback controversy.
Not that the dreaded QC didn't raise its head at Qwest Field. With the Cougars struggling early, there were a smattering of boos heard in the first half – and some calls for backup quarterback Gary Rogers.
And when Rogers led the Cougs (2-1) to their first score? The most popular guy on the team – like any backup quarterback – became even more popular – if that's possible.
But then Rogers underthrew Chris Jordan on the next possession and was picked off, the clamor dissipated. Until Brink started the third quarter. And every incompletion he threw was met with a louder and louder chorus of boos.
So what did Brink do? He answered the naysayers. On the Cougars second drive of the second half, he marched his offense 82 yards to a go-ahead score.
On the drive Brink completed passes to Michael Bumpus, Cody Boyd, Jason Hill and, in a sense, himself. Actually Dwight Tardy was the passer on Brink's 4-yard touchdown catch, but you get the picture.
The next two times the Cougs had the ball, Brink completed passes – and the receivers fumbled. The first followed a 25-yard completion to Jed Collins – the Cougar defense held – and the second followed a 9-yard completion to Bumpus – the defense had no chance as Anthony Arline took the fumble in for the go-ahead 40-yard score.
And then came The Drive. Eighty-two yards under pressure. Eighty-two yards where Brink was called on to convert two third downs with his arm. Eighty-two yards that may have ensured Brink keeps the fans calling for Rogers quiet for a while.
"It was a big drive and, honestly, it was something I was looking forward to," Brink said. "I've taken heat for not being able to win games late. To have the opportunity to do it against a good ball club was something I was looking forward to."
The drive also ensured a Cougar win, which right now is more important than any of the effects it may have on Brink's job. This program needed this win. And, with Stanford (which is struggling with Navy as this is written) on the horizon next Saturday, there is a chance they'll go into the Sept. 30 home game against defending Pac-10 champion USC 3-1.
And they'll go in with Alex Brink at quarterback. Why should there be any doubt? He completed 12 of his last 13 throws Saturday, throws he needed to make if the Cougars were going to win.
In other words, he finished. And so did the Cougars.