WASHINGTON STATE unleashed a defense the likes of which hasn't been seen on the Palouse since 2003. The Cougars also rolled out a rushing attack that may not make people forget Jerome Harrison but nonetheless put Dwight Tardy and the hosses at center stage. The result was sweet nectar for the Cougar Nation. WSU knocked off Pac-10 co-leader UCLA 27-7 Saturday in front of a vocal Pullman crowd.

Tardy racked up 214 yards on 37 carries, including a 50-yard sprint to paydirt in the waning moment to lead the Cougars to their first conference victory since last October against -- you guessed it -- UCLA.

Tardy had two TDs in the game.

Senior Kevin McCall also carried the ball 12 times for 54 yards.

In 51 total carries, the Cougs averaged 5.4 yards per run.

Remarkably, WSU came into the contest among the worst rushing teams in the nation and UCLA rated No. 8 nationally for rushing defense.

WSU's starting offensive line included true freshman Andrew Roxas, making his first-ever start in place of injured center Kenny Alfred. Head coach Bill Doba was quick to praise the youngster afterward, saying he did "a great job."

The Cougs have defeated UCLA six times in the last seven meetings. WSU will take a 3-5 record to Berkeley next week when they take on Cal.


WSU quarterback Alex Brink, who riddled the Bruins last season, completed 28 of 46 passes for 271 yards and one TD -- a nifty third-quarter rope to Brandon Gibson in the back of the endzone. Gibson led Cougar receivers with seven catches on the day for 55 yards. Slotback Michael Bumpus, receiver Charles Dillon and tight end Jed Collins also had big efforts.

The Cougars outgained the Bruins 546 yards to 265 staked a whopping time of possession advantage of 37:55 to 22:05.

WSU's defense, like swiss cheese in WSU's three Pac-10 losses this season, gave up a 50-yard TD run on UCLA's opening series and then shut down the Bruins. Linebacker Andy Mattingly had another big day, posting a sack, deflecting a pass and forcing a fumble.

Doba, clearly proud of the effort his players and coaches turned it, said the WSU fight song at game's end "never sounded sweeter." He said the Cougs needed the win "in the worst way."

We'll be back with more coverage later.

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