Harrison's heroics keep Cougar bowl hopes alive

WASHINGTON STATE kept its bowl hopes alive with an inspired 31-29 victory against UCLA today. In true Cougar fashion, it went down to the wire. WSU, 14-point underdogs, dominated both sides of the ball for much of the contest, but it was running back <b>Jerome Harrison</b> who filled a reel's worth of highlight film by rushing for 247 yards on 42 carries and reaching paydirt three times on runs of 45, 25, and 10 yards.

"It really came down to Jerome (Harrison) being the big difference today," WSU head coach Bill Doba said afterward. "We needed something positive to happen because our last two (games) weren't even close."

With the offensive line bulldozing a path through the Bruin defense, Harrison, a JC transfer from Pasadena City College, moved into the No. 3 position on WSU's all-time single-game rushing list. Only Cougar greats Rueben Mayes (357 yards at Oregon in 1984) and Bernard Jackson (261 vs Oregon in 1971) rushed for more yards in a game.

In addition, Harrison's 42 attempts marked a school record, surpassing the 41 carries Steve Broussard registered against Oregon in 1989.

Jackson. Mayes. Broussard. That's some mighty elite company Harrison suddenly finds himself in; those three are arguably the finest backs ever to don the crimson and gray. No question he ran like he belonged in that group, today.

But nowhere in the stats will you see several names that really should be there. Yet if you read between the lines of Harrison's record-setting performance, you'll find 'em in there.

Indeed, the Cougar O-line played its best game of the year, with Calvin Armstrong, Sam Lightbody, Norvell Holmes, Nick Mihlhauser and Bobby Byrd performing with devastating efficiency. As a result, the Cougars racked up 505 yards of total offense -- second-most this season behind the 509 tallied vs. Oregon. Of those hashes, 321 were on the ground.

"I thought our offensive line came of age today," Doba said. "They really played well."

JUST AS IMPORTANT as widening the traffic cones for Harrison, the Cougar hosses kept their starting quarterback, Alex Brink, and his jersey relatively clean, allowing the Bruin defense to bring him to the mat just once. As a result, the redshirt freshman--starting for just the third time--connected on 17 of his 27 tosses for 185 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions.

But it wasn't just the steakeaters who played a part in Harrison's almost certain "player of the week" performance. The return of tight ends Troy Bienemann and Cody Boyd from sick bay was crucial to the Cougars' offensive success today, as was the blocking of the wide receiving corp.

The block of the day, however, belonged to Lightbody. The senior tackle all but poured Log Cabin syrup on Bruin corner Matt Clark, the pancake giving receiver Jason Hill smooth sailing to the endzone off a screen pass that he turned into an 18-yard catch and run that put the Cougs up 21-7 in the second quarter.

The Cougar defense also put in a solid performance today, although UCLA made it close in the fourth quarter and staged a last-minute rally, moving within two with 42 second ticks remaining on the clock. But heavy pressure from linebacker Scott Davis forced Bruin QB Drew Olson to fail on his two-point pass attempt.

"I was really proud of our defense," Doba said. "To hold them to right around 300 yards was quite an accomplishment."

Defensive end Mkristo Bruce led all Cougar defender with nine tackles, including WSU's lone QB sack. He also recovered a fumble.

UCLA was without the services of their top ground-gainer, Maurice Drew, who left the contest early with an undisclosed injury.

"In fairness to them (UCLA), however, I think they really missed Maurice Drew," Doba commented.

WSU's win — the fourth consecutive against the Uclans — improved the Cougars' record to 4-5. They must win their remaining two games to be eligible for post-season play.

HILL CLIMBING
Hill now has ten touchdowns for the season, tying the legendary Hugh Campbell for the WSU sophomore record. He needs just one more to tie the school single-season receiving record of 11 held by Kevin McKenzie (1997), Chris Jackson (1997) and Devard Darling (2002). The Cougar single-season record for total endzone visits is 17, set by Broussard in 1989.

SIDERIUS ON BOARD
True freshman kicker Loren Langley missed his sixth field goal attempt in 11 tries this season, when a third quarter chip shot missed the mark. This prompted the coaching staff to take a look at kickoff specialist Graham Siderius for the next three-point attempt, a 31-yarder on the Cougars' next offensive series. The redshirt junior from Reno made it look easy and also aimed true on a point after in the fourth quarter. He also made a Bruin return man pay for his success in getting past the first line of kickoff coverage with a highlight film tackle.

KEY STAT OF THE DAY
Total offense and Harrison's numbers aside, the most telling stat of the day would have to be the Wazzu's impressive 10 of 21 third down conversion ratio. UCLA was a woeful 4 of 16 in that department.

SCORING SUMMARY plus TEAM & INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

First Quarter
WSU: Harrison 25-yard run (Langley kick)
UCLA: Harwell 12-yard fumble return (Medlock kick)
WSU: Harrison 45-yard run (Langley kick)

Second Quarter
WSU: Hill 18-yard pass from Brink (Langley kick)
UCLA: Medlock 27-yard FG

Third Quarter
UCLA: Medlock 47-yard FG
WSU: Siderius 31-yard FG
UCLA: Medlock 47-yard FG

Fourth Quarter
WSU: Harrison 10-yard run (Siderius kick)
UCLA: Perry 47-yard pass from Olson (Medlock kick)
UCLA: White 5-yard pass from Olson (Medlock kick)


                         
                                    WSU     UCLA

FIRST DOWNS...................       24       17
  Rushing.....................       15        4
  Passing.....................        9       11
  Penalty.....................        0        2
NET YARDS RUSHING.............      321      107
  Rushing Attempts............       61       27
  Average Per Rush............      5.3      4.0
  Yards Gained Rushing........      352      123
  Yards Lost Rushing..........       31       16
NET YARDS PASSING.............      185      201
  Completions-Attempts-Int....  17-27-0  18-39-1
  Average Per Attempt.........      6.9      5.2
  Average Per Completion......     10.9     11.2
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS...........      506      308
  Total offense plays.........       88       66
  Average Gain Per Play.......      5.8      4.7
Fumbles: Number-Lost..........      2-1      2-2
Penalties: Number-Yards.......     5-65     2-15
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD..   1-24-0    0-0-0
Possession Time...............    35:51    24:09
  1st Quarter.................     8:54     6:06
  2nd Quarter.................     8:30     6:30
  3rd Quarter.................     9:40     5:20
  4th Quarter.................     8:47     6:13
Third-Down Conversions........ 10 of 21  4 of 16
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   0 of 0   1 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      3-4      2-2
Sacks By: Number-Yards........      1-3      1-6

Individual Statistics

                       
Washington State

Rushing              No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
-------------------------------------------------
Harrison,Jerome      42  266   19  247  3 45  5.9
Thompson, Allen       9   49    0   49  0 12  5.4
Brink, Alex           7   37    6   31  0 20  4.4
Team                  3    0    6   -6  0  0 -2.0
Totals...            61  352   31  321  3 45  5.3

Passing              Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sack
-------------------------------------------------
Brink, Alex            27-17-0   185  1   56    1
Totals...              27-17-0   185  1   56    1

Receiving             No.  Yds   TD Long
----------------------------------------
Bumpus, Michael         5   16    0    8
Hill, Jason             4   98    1   56
Harvey, Trandon         3   41    0   30
Prator, Greg            2   15    0    9
Martin, Marty           1   15    0   15
Bienemann, Troy         1    8    0    8
Harrison,Jerome         1   -8    0    0
Totals...              17  185    1   56

Field goal attempts
----------------------------------------
Langley, Loren       3rd 06:37  28 yds - Missed
Siderius,Graham      3rd 03:59  31 yds - Good


UCLA Bruins

Rushing              No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
-------------------------------------------------
Olson,Drew            8   53    3   50  0 18  6.2
White,Manuel         13   49    3   46  0 13  3.5
Markey,Chris          5   21    4   17  0  7  3.4
Drew,Maurice          1    0    6   -6  0  0 -6.0
Totals...            27  123   16  107  0 18  4.0

Passing              Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sack
-------------------------------------------------
Olson,Drew             38-18-1   201  2   47    1
Perry, Tab              1-0-0      0  0    0    0
Totals...              39-18-1   201  2   47    1

Receiving             No.  Yds   TD Long
----------------------------------------
Bragg,Craig             5   28    0    9
Perry, Tab              4   80    1   47
Taylor,Junior           2   29    0   20
Lewis,Marcedes          2   26    0   19
Cowan,Joe               1   15    0   15
Pitre,Michael           1   13    0   13
Hair, J.J.              1    7    0    7
White,Manuel            1    4    1    4
Drew,Maurice            1   -1    0    0
Totals...              18  201    2   47

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