Mike Price sent an early message to Oregon State - and others - Saturday afternoon, hitting the Beavers with a trick play on the first snap of the game.
The play, a slotback pass from Jay Dumas to Chad Carpenter, covered 69 yards and set up the first of five Washington State touchdowns in a 40-14 homecoming romp against the Beavers.
“I wanted to come out and show everybody in the stadium - including Oregon State and every Washington State football player - that we were here to win this game, get after it and not mess around and wait until the second quarter,” Price said, breaking into a grin. “It was kind of symbolic. I’m a very symbolic kind of guy.”
Dumas, who stepped back from his position in the slot and took a backward pass from quarterback Chad Davis, underthrew the pass badly after getting hit by a Beavers defender as he released the ball.
Carpenter, open by at least 15 yards after OSU’s right cornerback bit on the initial throw, had to come back for the ball and ended up being dragged down from behind at the OSU 11-yard line.
“If Jay hadn’t gotten hit, I think we would have scored on that play,” Carpenter said of his only catch. “I had to almost completely stop. He still threw it 50 yards, though. He’s got an arm on him.”
The game-opening slotback pass wasn’t the only trick play that WSU employed.
Late in the first quarter, on a fourth-and-3 situation from OSU’s 38-yard line, the Cougars tried a fourth-down fake punt with backup quarterback Ryan Leaf, who had lined up as an up-back on the punt-cover team, throwing to Shawn Tims.
Leaf’s pass flew through the outstretched arms of Tims and WSU lost the ball on downs. But Leaf said the play sent another message - this time to the entire Pacific-10 Conference.
“I think Coach (Price) wanted to get across to the rest of the Pac-10 that they have to respect that when I’m back there,” Leaf said. “It didn’t work, but I think it helped keep the pressure of (punter) George (Martin) the rest of the day.”
Oregon State isn’t known for offensive ingenuity, running an option attack that, critics like to note, went out (the first time) with bell-bottoms and pork-chop sideburns.
But the Beavers were on the cutting edge, at least when it came to finding ways to get penalized. They were nearly adroit enough, in fact, to keep pace with flag-happy Washington State.
Together, they were convicted 27 times and sentenced to 238 yards in penalties. Officials threw more flags than OSU threw forward passes (25).
WSU came out of game with only one major injury - a shoulder separation suffered by senior cornerback Greg Burns. Burns, who first injured the shoulder two weeks ago in a 24-15 win over UCLA, missed last weekend’s loss to let it heal. But it popped out again and Price said he does not expect Burns to play against USC next week in Los Angeles.
Also, senior defensive end Dwayne Sanders did not play against OSU because of a bruised ankle suffered, but Price said Sanders would be ready for USC.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
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