Bruce, Defense decimate Card in 36-10 rout

THE WASHINGTON STATE DEFENSE -- led by a swarming d-line -- limited the Stanford Cardinal to 42 total yards in the first half on the way to a 36-10 win in the Pac-10 opener as WSU moved to 3-1 on the year. Mike Graise picked off the third pass in four games by WSU defensive linemen, taking it in for six, while Mkristo Bruce set a Cougar all-time record, exploding for FIVE sacks on the day.

With five quarterback sacks at Stanford in the first three quarters, Mkristo Bruce took over the the top slot in the WSU record book, surpassing the four sack efforts of Tim Downing, Dewayne Patterson and Keith Millard.

Defensive end Mkristo Bruce logged five -- count 'em -- five sacks in Washington State's 36-10 drubbing of Stanford on Saturday. The five stick output shot Bruce to the top of the Pac-10 pass sacks leaderboard, and places him, at least, among the national leaders.

Bruce's quintet of pass sacks gave him seven on the year, tops in the league and among the nation's best. Entering Week Four, the national leader had six sacks.

Bruce in 2005 racked up 10 sacks (2nd in Pac-10) along with 15 tackles for loss (T-1st in the Pac-10).

The Cougar D had eight sacks on the afternoon. Washington State's special teams also gift wrapped a first half punt block, setting up one of the Cougar offense's first half scores. The block came courtesy of Jason Hill, who before he became a receiving sensation his sophomore season, was a special teams madman his first season at Washington State.

The Cougar offense employed a powerful running attack mixed in with timely passing against the Card to the tune of a 22-0 first half lead. The triumvirate of Dwight Tardy (97), DeMaundray Woolridge (71) and Derrell Hutsona (53) methodically chewed up 221 ground yards.

Washington State racked up 468 total yards of offense, while holding the Cardinal to 195 hashes. The Cougs 28 times moved the chains, with Stanford recording 11 first downs.

The halftime disparity could have been even greater, however, as Washington State turned the ball over on two occasions inside the Cardinal red zone, and three times all told. The first quarter was odd, to say the least. Stanford ran only three plays for 2 yards and a third down quick kick, while Washington State ripped off 34 plays and gained 181 yards -- but because of the turnovers, only led 2-0 after the first 15 minutes.

Stanford came out of the locker room fired up, taking the second half kickoff and marching down the field for a field goal to close the gap to 22-3.

Ball security issues continued to plague the Cougs in the second half -- The first possession of the third quarter, Washington State coughed it up deep in Cougar territory and Stanford was again knocking on the door before the Cougar D -- as the did all afternoon long -- came up big yet again with a fumble and recovery of their own.

Washington State promptly took the pigskin on a 10-play, 97-yard drive, culminating in the 28th touchdown reception in Jason Hill's storied Cougar career. The senior awards candidate came within one yard of another score late on a catch and run in the fourth quarter.

Brink was 21-for-33 for 228 yards with two TDs plus a QB sneak that went for another score. Gary Rogers did not get into the game until the last few moments, with coach Bill Doba saying the sophomore QB had been under the weather this week.

The offensive line, missing their anchor and with others less than at full health, had a great day, paving the way for 240 total rushing yards and allowing only one sack. Sean O'Connor, Kenny Alfred, Josh Duin, Charles Harris, Derek Hunter, Andy Roof and Dan Rowlands all rotated in. The injury bug again struck the o-line, however, with Josh Duin going down with what was initially termed a sprained MCL, the same malady that sidelined two Cougar starters, LT Bobby Byrd and WR Chris Jordan, last week against Baylor.

Check back later on for more on the Cougs 36-10 victory in the Pac-10 opener.

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