Cougars pull it out in the end, 17-15

SEATTLE – Through cheers from thousands of Cougar faithful at Qwest Field, kicker Loren Langley booted a 17-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining to gave Washington State a 17-15 win against Baylor. Langley's first field goal of the season capped a 14-play, 81-yard scoring drive that erased a 15-14 lead the Bears earned on a fourth-quarter fumble recovery.

The Cougars, who claimed their second win after an opening loss to Auburn, had 336 net yards to Baylor's 246, and the Washington State defense – led by All-American candidate Mkristo Bruce – held the Bears to -16 net rushing yards and forced eight punts.

Cougar quarterback Alex Brink went 21-for-32 with 251 yards and an interception. Michael Bumpus had seven receptions (64 yards) and All-American candidate Jason Hill had six receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. The Cougars (2-1) gained 285 net passing yards throwing to seven receivers, including Brink, who scored on a 4-yard reception from running back Dwight Tardy in the third quarter.

Sophomore DeMaundray Woolridge, who started at running back after sitting out last week against Idaho with a deep thigh bruise, had a game-high 54 yards on 18 carries.

Bears' quarterback Shawn Bell finished 31 of 48 with 256 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Freshman Justin Fenty was the leading receiver for Baylor (1-2), with 65 yards on five receptions.

Bell completed 64-percent of his passes for 574 yards and five touchdowns in his first two games, but on Baylor's first possession against the Cougars, Bell was dominated by the Washington State defense, throwing two incompletions and forcing the Bears to go four-and-out.

The Cougars also attempted a punt on their first series, but a bad snap flew over punter Darryl Blunt's head, and was kicked out of the endzone, giving the Bears a 2-point lead with the safety.

Mikail Baker recovered the Cougars' punt, but ran into a pile of Cougars near the Baylor 40-yard line. Baker dropped the football and it was initially ruled as a fumble after it was recovered on the 35-yard line by freshman linebacker Andy Mattingly. The officials reversed the call, however, giving Baylor the ball back on the Cougar 35.

Bell hit Fente seven plays later for a 13-yard touchdown reception, and a Ryan Havens extra point gave Baylor a 9-0 lead with remaining in the first quarter.

Woolridge, who had a team-high 83 yards on 11 first-half carries in the season opener against Auburn, struggled on his first two carries, and fumbled on his third which was recovered by Brink for a 14-yard loss.

Brink followed with his fourth interception this season, being picked by cornerback C.J. Wilson to set up first-and-10 on the Baylor 15.

Bell led an 18-yard drive on three plays, but threw an incompletion on third-and-8. Baylor's punt put Washington State on their own 14, and Brink earned his redemption, throwing five consecutive completions to four receivers for 58 yards.

Under duress from the six-man Baylor blitz, Brink's throw facing third-and-10 on Baylor's 25-yard line was overthrown. His fourth-and-10 pass was also incomplete.

Baylor started their drive with a 19-yard gain by fullback Brandon Whitaker, who was Baylor's No. 2 rusher in 2005 with 481 yards on 101 carries. The Bears moved to their own 34 before the Cougar defense forced third-and-20 and Baylor's third punt.

Brink completed 7 of 8 passes for 80 yards in the first quarter, but completed only one of his first seven passes in the second quarter, leading to the Cougars' first punt with 10:48 remaining in the first half.

The Bears took over on their own 25-yard line and showed scoring potential, converting an 11-yard pass on fourth down from the Washington State 39. The Bears continued the drive with Bell's 20-yard completion to Dominique Zeigler.

That's when DE Bruce, a Cougar captain, showed why he's an All-American candidate, ending Baylor's drive by intercepting a bullet on the Cougar 16-yard line.

Washington State ended that drive with a punt, but Baylor fumbled the kick and junior defensive end Lance Broadus pounced on it. A 15-yard penalty setup first-and-10 on the Baylor 19, where sophomore Gary Rogers took over at quarterback.

Rogers, who orchestrated scoring drives against Auburn and Idaho, needed only two passes to score against Baylor, finding Hill down the middle for a 13-yard reception. Langley's extra point cut Baylor's lead to 9-7 with 4:30 remaining in the half.

Rogers returned for the next series and completed another two passes before being intercepted by cornerback James Todd. Baylor, which scored 9 points in the first 7:47, couldn't score on the Cougar defense again before halftime.

Baylor had 178 of their 246 yards in the first half, with 13 of those yards gained on the ground. The Cougar defense limited Baylor to just four first downs on their 68 second half hashes.

Brink was 8 of 16 for 98 yards with an interception before halftime. Brink and Rogers found six different receivers in the first half, with Hill having a team-high 30 yards on three receptions.

"We need to wake up and play football," coach Bill Doba told Cougar radio broadcasters at halftime. "We're not playing too well."

Bell went 16-for-29 for 163 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the first half. Whitaker led Baylor's running backs, getting 19 yards on five carries.

On the Cougars second drive of the third quarter, Brink threw a quick pass left to Hill, who broke a tackle and sprinted 22 yards upfield to the Baylor 8 yard-line.

Two plays later, running back Tardy threw a 4-yard pass to Brink, whose touchdown finally ignited the 41,358 in attendance at Qwest Field. A Langley extra point finished the 10-play, 82-yard drive that put Washington State up 14-9 with 9:00 remaining in the third.

Washington State's decisive play on defense came with 8:00 remaining, as Baylor attempted a pass on fourth-and-12 from the Washington State 48. Bell's attempt was picked by Cougar safety Eric Frampton, who rambled 7 yards out to the Cougar 29.

On second-and-8, however, disaster struck. Brink passed left to Bumpus, but the slotback lost the ball on the 37 on a hard hit, cornerback Anthony Arline picked it up and raced to the endzone, giving Baylor a 15-14 lead on the Cougars' second turnover in the fourth quarter with five minutes and change remaining.

The Bears went for two, but Frampton stepped up again, tipping the pass away to leave the game winnable by a field goal.

Bumpus made up for his fumble during the ensuing possession, grabbing a 24-yard reception to put Washington State in field goal range with first-and-10 on the Baylor 15. A 13-yard run by Woolridge put the Cougars on the doorstep, and another effort on first-and-goal moved the Cougars a yard closer. Brink attempted a run left and a quarterback sneak before Langley's kick.

The Cougars' Pac-10 opener is on the road next week against Stanford. The Cardinal lost Saturday for the third straight week, this time to Navy 37-9.

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