An old-time shootout on the Palouse

PULLMAN -– In a game reminiscent of their shootouts in the early 80s, where offense ruled and defense was an inconvenience, Oregon's Ducks and Washington State's Cougars piled up more than 1,000 yards of offense and lit up the scoreboard Saturday. And while the Ducks trailed from the start, they never gave up, taking their first lead with just 81 seconds left to pull out a dramatic 41-38 win.

This contest was as tight as the series between the two schools, 37-37-7 coming into today.

"We had it won, a chance to put it away, and didn't," said head coach Bill Doba. "We've got to learn from this thing, put it to bed and get on with it."

The Cougar defense, as reliable and unrelenting as rain in Seattle over the last 40 games, inexplicably imploded in the second half, giving up one big play after another. Oregon scored four TDs in the fourth quarter on drives covering 71, 87, 77 and 60 yards.

When all was said and done, Oregon had piled up 29 first downs and a whopping 646 yards of offense – the most by a Pac-10 team this season. And against the No. 16-rated defense in the nation, no less.

The 646 yards was the fifth-most surrendered by WSU in school history.

"I'm just shocked," said Cougar color commentator Jim Walden about the Cougar defense. For the last 3 ½ seasons he's watched the stop corps rise to the occasion and frequently rescue the crimson offense.

Ironically, the Cougar D started this one setting a great tone -- holding the Ducks to zero yards on their first series to tee up Josh Swogger's 39-yard scoring strike to Jason Hill on the WSU's first offensive snap of the day.

The Cougar offense, which has struggled most of this season, was by no means perfect -- squandering three first-half possessions that began at midfield -- but answered the call nearly every time Oregon got close.


When the Cougar D actually made a fourth quarter stop -- Mkristo Bruce recovering an Oregon fumble at the Cougar 15 with three-plus minutes left -- the offense needed to register a first down to put the game away. They went three-and-out and Oregon proceeded to drive the ball 60 yards in seven plays to take its first lead of the day when QB Kellen Clemens ran in from 13 yards out.

The Cougars got the ball back at their own 35 with just more than a minute on the clock. Doba said he had no doubt his club would at least get the ball within field goal distance. Four incomplete passes – two of them dropped – ruined what would have been WSU's third storybook ending of the season.

WSU is now 3-2 as it prepares to host Stanford next Saturday evening. Oregon is 2-3.

Clemens, playing the best game of his career, completed 34 of 53 passes for 423 yards, three TD passes, three TD runs and no interceptions. Demetrius Williams caught 12 balls for 134 yards. Tight end Tim Day grabbed eight for 154 and two TDs, all in the second half. RB Terrence Williams rushed for 145 yards on 22 carrries.

Swogger was 15 of 38 for 254 yards, three TDs and two interceptions. Chris Jordan was his top receiver with six catches for 122 yards. Hill had two catches – both first quarter TDs – for 64 yards. Running back Jerome Harrison took firm hold of the No. 1 running back spot with 117 yards on 14 carries and one TD.

WITH TWO TOUCHDOWN receptions against the Ducks, WSU sophomore receiver Jason Hill now has eight for the season. He needs just two more to tie the WSU sophomore record, set by legendary Hugh Campbell in 1960, and three more to tie the school single-season record of 11 TD receptions held by Kevin McKenzie (1997), Chris Jackson (1997) and Devard Darling (2002). The Cougar single-season record for total TDs is 17, set by rushing and catching phenom Steve Broussard in 1989. Campbell, who was first-team All-Coast in 1961-62-63, holds the Cougar career TD receptions record with 22.

COUGAR SENIOR SAFETY Hamza Abdullah seemed to be everywhere at once. He posted a team-leading 14 tackles and forced two fumbles. Linebacker Scott Davis was the No. 2 tackler with 11 total stops. He also forced a fumble and then recovered it.

THE COUGAR OFFENSE was anything but predictable on first-down plays in the first quarter. They opened the day with a pass (the 39-yard scoring aerial from Swogger to Hill), used runs (one of them a 29-yard gain by Jerome Harrison) to open their next two series', then went back to the pass, then the run. And their first snap of the second quarter? A reverse to Michael Bumpus. For the entire game the Cougar breakdown on first down plays was 15 run/11 pass.

OREGON QUARTERBACK Kellen Clemens has one of the lowest pass attempt/interception ratios in the Pac-10, but he had a serious case of fumble-itis against the Cougars. He put the ball on the ground three times --- one he recovered himself for a first down and two were recovered by the Cougars (Scott Davis in the second quarter and Steve Dildine in the third).

FRESHMAN KICKER Loren Langley is 15 of 16 on PATs this season but struggling on field goals. His first quarter misfire against Oregon from 46 yards out was his fourth miss of the season vs. two makes. That started pundits in Section 26 of Martin Stadium to wonder if junior kickoff specialist Graham Siderius should get a shot at field goal duties. Alas, when the Cougars lined up for another field goal try in the fourth quarter, there was Langley, who proceeded to nail a 35-yarder to put the Cougars up 38-28. With injuries to the regulars, rredshirt freshman walk on Robbie Hyslop (6-5, 278) of Spokane's Ferris High stepped in to handle the long-snapping chores on PATs and field goals.


First Quarter

WSU – Jason Hill 39 pass from Josh Swogger (Langley kick)
Drive: 1 play, 39 yards.
Key: 19-yard punt gave Cougars the ball on Oregon 39.

ORE – Kellen Clemens 1 run (Siegel kick)
Drive: 9 plays, 80 yards.
Key: Terrence Whitehead 53-yard run to WSU 20.

WSU – Hill 25 pass from Swogger (Langley kick)
Drive: 3 plays, 59 yards.
Key: 29-yard run by Jerome Harrison to the Oregon 30

Second Quarter

ORE – Clemens 3 run (Siegel kick)
Drive: 3 plays, 30 yards.
Key: Aaron Gipson intercepting Swogger and returning the ball 30 yards, with another 15 tacked on courtesy of illegal blocking penalty on Cougars.

Third Quarter

WSU – Jerome Harrison 1 run (Langley kick)
Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards.
Key: 47-yard pass from Swogger to Chris Jordan to the Oregon 4.

WSU – Michael Bumpus 52-yard punt return (kick blocked)
Key: Oregon penalty on the previous play negated a 57-yard punt and forced the Ducks to punt again.

Fourth Quarter

ORE – Tim Day 10 pass from Clemens (Siegel kick)
Drive: 11 plays, 71 yards.
Key: 28-yard pass from Clemens to Day early in the drive; four-yard run by Clemens on fourth-down to the Cougar 10 for a first down.

WSU – Trandon Harvey 6 pass from Swogger (2 points Swogger to Bumpus)
Drive: 9 plays, 71 yards
Key: 41-yard pass from Swogger to Jordan

OREMarcus Maxwell 11 pass from Clemens (Siegel kick)
Drive: 10 plays, 87 yards.
Key: Whitehead 31-yard run.

WSU – Loren Langley 35-yard field goal
Drive: 5 plays, 46 yards.
Key: Harrison 41-yard run.

ORE – Tim Day 14 pass from Clemens (pass failed)
Drive: 7 plays, 77 yards.
Key: 34-yard pass to Day.

ORE – Clemens 13 run (Siegel kick)
Drive: 7 plays, 60 yards.
Key: Passes to Day covering 17 and 18 yards.

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