Bowl hopes dashed as WSU comeback falls short

PULLMAN -- Washington State's flickering bowl hopes were officially stamped out Saturday as WSU's comeback bid fell shy, losing to Arizona State 27-24. Cougar running back sensation Jerome Harrison again proved himself worthy of serious All-American consideration, unofficially rushing for 240 yards. But the WSU defense couldn't slow down let alone stop the Sun Devils as ASU marched up and down the field, racking up nearly 550 yards of offense.

Jerome Harrison and the Washington State offensive line only needed one half to tie the all time mark in Pac-10 history. Unfortunately for Cougar fans, Harrison's heroics again came with a loss.

The senior running back unofficially rushed for 144 yards in the first half to give him 12 straight games over the century mark, tying J.J. Arrington of Cal who set the record last year. Harrison finished with 240 hashes, his fourth game in less than two seasons he's run for over 200 yards.

Harrison, the No. 2 rusher in the nation, had 1,310 hashes on the season headed into the game. DeAngelo Williams of Memphis leads Div-IA backs with 1,476 yards.

Washington State missed a number of opportunities Saturday. The question that will burn long into the night was the decision to go against the golden rule and take points off the board in the fourth quarter. WSU tied the game at 27-27 on a field goal but when ASU jumped off sides, WSU took the penalty setting up fourth and a full yard from the ASU 4. The toss sweep lost yardage and the ball went over on downs.

The Cougs forced a three and out and got the pigskin back, moving into scoring position with under four minutes to play. A costly sack moved the ball back to the 35, and the Cougs missed a 52 yard attempt into the wind, the second field goal from 50 or more attempted by WSU. Among the other setbacks, Alex Brink threw an untimely interception at the end of the first half with the Cougs trailing 24-10. It came on the heels of the first punt of the game by Arizona State. Preliminary stats showed Brink at 21-34, 271 yards with a touchdown and interception.

The Cougar defense gave up over 350 yards in the first half, 310 of those through the air as Arizona State moved the ball at will. The defense stiffened in the second half but still surrendered 549 yards -- with over 400 of those coming through the air.

Washington State hosts Oregon next weekend. In Eugene today, the Ducks topped Cal 27-20 in overtime.

We'll be back with complete coverage later tonight

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