Cougfan at 15: Lunde's roller-coaster day

SCOTT LUNDE WAS close to tears. A fifth-year senior playing his third-to-last home game, the day was playing out like a nightmare. His No. 14-ranked Cougars, in the running for a second-consecutive Rose Bowl berth, were being badly outplayed by a struggling Oregon State team. And he had been parked squarely on the bench by receivers coach Mike Levenseller.

"In the locker room at halftime Bill Doba came up to me because he saw I was very upset and frustrated and asked ‘what's the matter?' Lunde said in a recent interview as part of's "Where Are They Now?" series commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Website.

"Levy took me out of the game," he told Doba.

Doba's response epitomized his reputation as a player's coach.

This is the second in a series of features -- dubbed 15 for 15 -- CF.C is running in the 15 days leading to its 15th anniversary on Aug. 15.

"Well, we'll have to fix that," Lunde recalls Doba saying.

The Cougs, with a 6-1 mark coming into the game, were trailing 28-16 at intermission after a series of miscues on both side of the ball that allowed OSU to score 28 straight.

Lunde's butt parking stemmed from a route he ran incorrectly, cutting inside instead of out, and the subsequent conversation with the ultra-demanding Levenseller had Lunde fuming and then near tears.

"He would do things to push my buttons and maybe get me to focus and play harder," Lunde said of Levenseller

"Levy is the best coach I've ever had. I trust him with what he does, but that time he really made me mad, and I took it out on Oregon State."

Indeed he did.

On that overcast day in late October, the one-time walk on turned in an unforgettable second half of football that helped lift the Cougs to a dramatic 36-30 victory, propelling them into what effectively was the conference title game the following week against USC.

Saying after the game that he was "in the zone," Lunde found ways to get open underneath and over the middle, snagging everything Matt Kegel threw anywhere near him.

"In fact, Lunde turned the first five minutes of the fourth quarter into a personal showcase," wrote CF.C's Pat Mitchell at the time. "His 9-yard scoring reception from Kegel early in the period closed OSU's lead to 28-23. And just when the faithful thought all was lost after Kegel was picked off in the Beaver end zone, the defense held again and Lunde went to work, grabbing a long one over the middle that he and Kegel followed on the next play with an 11-yard scoring strike -- again, over the middle -- to put WSU up 29-28."


Lunde finished the day with eight catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

So in the moment was Lunde during the best game of his career that he didn't realize just how memorable his performance was until he entered Nuevo Vallarta, the Mexican restaurant near the corner of Stadium Way and Grand Avenue, later that evening.

"Everybody clapped and started cheering when I walked in," Lunde remembers. "I thought it was totally unnecessary."

After 15 years of Cougar watching, begs to differ.

"That was one of the most inspiring and memorable individual performances you'll ever see," says CF.C managing editor emeritus John Witter. "It really served as a metaphor for that amazing, magical three-year run the Cougs had from 2001 to 2003."

That run was capped in the 2003 Holiday, when the Cougs defeated No. 5-ranked Texas 28-20, with Lunde catching three passes for 39 yards.


  • Ironically, Lunde was a Cougar instead of a Beaver thanks to former WSU and OSU coach Dennis Erickson. As a senior at Hudson's Bay High, Lunde had received a scholarship offer to OSU from Riley. But when Riley left for the NFL, Erickson took over in Corvallis and pulled the offer on the grounds that Lunde was too slow. When Erickson later left for the NFL, Riley returned to OSU. After Lunde's big day in 2003, Riley told reporters, "I knew he was a good football player..."

  • After a brief stint with the CFL's B.C. Lions, Lunde moved to Arizona in 2004 and started painting houses. Today he lives in the Chicago area, where he owns and operates "Ready 2 Roll," a company that specializes in painting home exteriors. No detail, he says, echoing Levenseller, is too small.

  • Lunde plans to be in Pullman with old teammates this season for the Cougars' Thursday night Halloween match up against Arizona State.


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