Furney's man of the hour, but regrettably so

THE GOOD NEWS was that Andrew Furney kicked four field goals. The bad news was that he had to. On a balmy fall evening when the Cougars rushed for 154 yards while managing to hold UCLA to 170 yards – 267 less than the Bruins amassed against WSU last year – they were unable to convert in the Rose Bowl's red zone.

If, on just one of those drives, they could have scored a touchdown, the Cougars would have won 29-28 – instead of heading home to Pullman with the baggage of a 28-25 defeat.

"We just kind of sputtered," said WSU coach Paul Wulff in a postgame interview. "We missed on some opportunities, but I was still happy to get points out of those situations.

"Obviously, looking back, we needed a few touchdowns."

With 9:09 left in the opening period, the Cougars got down to the UCLA 4-yard line, but elected to turn to Furney, a sophomore, for a 21-yard field goal.

It was the fourth time in five games that the Cougars scored on their first possession. Last week at Colorado was the exception.

THE COUGARS DROVE down to the UCLA 9 to open the second quarter, but again were forced to settle for a 26-yard field goal by Furney after senior quarterback Marshall Lobbestael overthrew a pass to junior wide receiver Gino Simone.

WSU's third field goal of the half actually was borne of sheer luck.

With about five minutes left in the second quarter, sophomore wide receiver Marquess Wilson dropped a touchdown pass in the end zone on third-and-goal. Furney's attempt went wide left but UCLA tight end Joseph Fauria was called for a personal foul and the Cougars got a first down.

And with just under two minutes to play, Lobbestael was sacked at the UCLA 3 for a loss of 1 yard. His next attempt, to senior wide receiver Jared Karstetter, who already had a leg planted in the end zone, was dropped. Furney was called upon to kick another 21-yarder to give WSU a 9-7 lead going into halftime.

"Like I told the players, we played a good football game," Wulff said in a postgame interview with The Seattle Times. "We just didn't capitalize when we were in the red zone. Give them (the Bruins) credit. They made big plays at the end to win it."

THE COUGARS TECHNICALLY made some big plays, too. At one point before halftime, WSU had racked up 30 plays to UCLA's six, and the home team hadn't even gotten a first down.

"It's really frustrating when we stress finishing all week," said sophomore linebacker Sekope Kafusi. "We came in here wanting to stop the run and then they threw on us."

Leading 22-20 midway through the fourth quarter, the Cougars were driving with what appeared to be a very legitimate chance at putting the game out of reach for the Bruins. But Lobbestael, at the UCLA 30, appeared to throw a pass behind an open Karstetter across the middle.

Enter Furney. Again.

The 47-yarder was good, but with 5:49 left, Kevin Prince had ample time to drive his team 71 yards – 58 of them coming on a completion to wide receiver Nelson Rosario – and then throw a touchdown pass to Shaq Evans and the two-point conversion to Rosario.

Game over.

Wulff was succinct in his breakdown of what happened.

"We gave up some big plays there late," he said.


  • Furney has kicked a field goal in all five games this season. His four field goals Saturday were a single-game career high. Furney is now 4 for 4 this season on field goals of 40-yards or more.

  • Karstetter's third-quarter touchdown catch was the 16th of his career, moving him into a tie for 10th on WSU's top-10 career receiving touchdowns list. Karstetter finished with two catches to up his career catches to 130 and move into sole possession of eighth place on WSU's all-time career receptions list.

  • Wilson set a career single-game high with nine catches, surpassing previous high of seven (USC last season). Other Cougars to set career highs Saturday included freshman running back Rickey Galvin, who had a record 16 carries for 93 yards and senior wide receiver Isiah Barton, who caught seven passes.

  • Bruins kicker Tyler Gonzalez is a former manager of the Bruins' soccer team who walked onto the football team and replaced Kip Smith, who sustained a hip flexor injury.

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