The Cougars could do no wrong in the first half, especially on offense, and never was that more apparent than when Jerome Harrison took a counter to the left through a sizeable hole created by his offensive line, bursting into the secondary and juking one last UCLA defender out of his shoes as he cut back right into the end zone. The 21-yard run gave WSU a 28-7 second-quarter lead. For most teams that would be enough, but …
… these are the Cougars of 2005, and that means no lead is safe. After the Cougar defense hung tough to stop the Bruins on a fourth-and-1 near midfield, the WSU offense – in full shutdown mode – had a third consecutive three-and-out in the fourth quarter. Even though the resulting punt put UCLA deep in its own territory, the defense was exhausted because of WSU’s inability to make a first down and let the Bruins go 96 yards for the tying score.
Play of the game
It wasn’t a scoring play, it wasn’t even a play in the red zone. But Adam Braidwood’s roughing the passer penalty on the last snap of the third quarter was the WSU defense’s third 15-yard infraction in three plays. Those 45 yards gave UCLA an easy touchdown and let a comfortable 17-point lead become a shaky 10-point margin in less than a minute.
Player of the game
This should probably be Drew Olson because of the way he led UCLA’s comeback, but it’s tough to ignore Jerome Harrison’s 260 yards. The problem, however, is that 250 of those yards came in the first three quarters. Harrison is durable, sure, fighting his way through every carry with determination and skill. But one has to wonder: With a capable backup like DeMaundray Woolridge, must Harrison touch the ball 37 times like he did Saturday evening? The guess here is that Harrison could get just as many yards in fewer touches if he were still fresh when it counts and the Cougars need first downs.
Stat of the game
Alex Brink, having thrown for 142 yards in the first half, threw for one in the third quarter, 26 in the fourth, and none in overtime.
Glenn Kasses, staff writer
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