Cougar Comeback Falls Short This Time

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The Washington State University football team tried to come back for the second week in a row but this time the magic was not there as UCLA picked off a pass late in the fourth quarter to seal the Bruins' 28-25 victory over the Cougars at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. With the loss, the Cougars drop to 1-1 in conference play and 3-2 overall on the year.
As they did last week against Colorado, Wazzu again started the game strong and was moving down the field on their opening offensive possession. Aided by two personal foul penalties on UCLA and an 18-yard scamper from sophomore running back Rickey Galvin, Wazzu moved the ball 76 yards before stalling out on the Bruins' four-yard line where placekicker Andrew Furney converted a 21-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead just under six minutes into the game.
After the Wazzu defense produced two consecutive three-and-outs against the UCLA offense, Wazzu added another field goal from Furney - this time a 26-yarder - early in the second quarter after the Cougar drive stalled out at the UCLA nine-yard line.
The Bruin offense however, finally woke up midway through the second quarter. After UCLA starting quarterback Richard Brehaut was knocked out of the game with a broken leg when Wazzu defensive lineman Lenard Williams fell on his ankle after a running play, backup Bruin quarterback Kevin Prince came in and fired off a 39-yard pass to receiver Nelson Rosario down to the Cougars' one-yard line where running back Derrick Coleman ran it in for a 7-6 lead with seven minutes remaining in the half.
Wazzu responded with their third field goal of the evening after Furney hit 21-yarder with 1:56 remaining but not after some controversy. Furney had missed a 26-yard field goal but UCLA was called for a personal foul of "leaping" on the backs of fellow players in an attempt to block the Cougar field goal attempt - though television replays clearly showed otherwise.
The Wazzu defense stepped up as sophomore defensive back Damante Horton intercepted Prince's looping pass in the end zone with 26 seconds remaining in the first half to end the final Bruins' scoring threat for the half.
UCLA got the ball first in the second half and promptly drove down the field behind a 20-yard run from running back Johnathan Franklin, a 21-yard pass from Prince to Rosario and an 18-yard pass from Prince to Jordan James before Coleman ran the ball in from two yards out to give UCLA 14-9 lead early in the third quarter.
Wazzu, however, came right back. Operating on a short field after a personal foul penalty on the Bruins' extra point attempt on the prior score, the Cougars converted a crucial fourth down when redshirt senior quarterback Marshall Lobbestael connected with receiver Isiaah Barton and then, after a 12-yard run from Galvin, hit senior receiver Jared Karstetter for a six-yard touchdown pass and a 16-14 Wazzu lead midway through the third quarter.
After the teams traded several non-productive possessions, Wazzu scored on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Lobbestael to Galvin early in the fourth quarter to take 22-14 lead after Furney's extra point was blocked.
But the Bruins came right back at the Cougars behind a 30-yard run from Franklin and a 14-yard scramble from Prince before Prince tossed a nine-yard touchdown pass to receiver Josh Smith with 10:52 remaining in the game. UCLA's two-point conversion attempt failed and Wazzu held onto a slim 22-20 lead.
Wazzu responded with a short drive that resulted in a 47-yard field goal from Furney that barely cleared the crossbar for a 25-20 lead with 5:49 remaining in the game.
UCLA had one last score left in them, however, as Prince tossed a 50-yard pass to Rosario down to the Cougar 10-yard line, then tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to receiver Shaquelle Evans. The Bruins converted a two-point attempt on a pass from Prince to Rosario to make it 28-25 with 3:26 left in the game.
Wazzu had one last chance but Lobbestael tossed his only interception of the night - and the game's only turnover - to UCLA's Andrew Abbott with 2:01 remaining in the game. The Bruins then converted a key third down when Prince passed to Smith for eight yards and ran out the clock from there to claim the win.
- UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel has never lost to the Cougars as a head coach.
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