The Washington State University Cougar football team was smelling upset as they led, 28-20 in the third quarter - their first second half lead over a Division I opponent since last year - but UCLA came storming back with a 22 straight points as the Bruins defeated the Cougars, 42-28 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. With the loss, the Cougars drop to 1-4 overall and 0-2 in conference play. The 28 points scored by Wazzu is the most points they have scored against a Division I opponent since 2008 [against Arizona].
The game began with a familiar tone for the Cougars as redshirt freshman Jamal Atofau, getting his first start of the year, got a late hit personal foul penalty on UCLA running back Jonathan Franklin that resulted in a first down and allowed the Bruins to continue down the field for the first score of the game on a three-yard touchdown run from Franklin.
After a second Bruin touchdown run from Derrick Coleman gave UCLA a 14-0 lead in the second quarter, the Cougar offense finally woke up as Logwone Mitz cracked off a 24-yard run followed by a 35-yard pass from quarterback Jeff Tuel to Jared Karstetter, resulting in a Wazzu touchdown when Tuel hit Jeffrey Solomon with a nine-yard scoring strike to cut the lead to 14-7.
The much-maligned Wazzu defense held UCLA to a pair of field goals in their next two possessions for a 20-7 lead and then cut that lead down to a single score when Tuel hit senior receiver Daniel Blackledge on an 18-yard scoring pass with seconds left in the first half.
Wazzu received the second half kickoff and promptly drove down the field and took the lead with three-yard touchdown run from senior James Montgomery. That touchdown marked the first time the Cougars have scored in the third quarter since last year.
Franklin fumbled the ball on the Bruins' ensuing possession and senior linebacker Myron Beck scooped up the ball and returned it 22 yards to the UCLA 20-yard line.Wazzu then padded their lead out to eight when UCLA committed back-to-back defensive pass interference penalties and Tuel ran the ball in for the 28-20 lead.
But that was the last lead the Cougars would hold in the game. After a brief exchange of possessions, Atofau interfered with a UCLA punt returner, giving the Bruins the ball on their own 33-yard line and UCLA drove down the field with Coleman running the ball in from a yard out with 34 seconds left in the third quarter. UCLA converted the two-point conversion and it was all tied up going into what would turn out to be an eventful fourth quarter.
Tuel appeared to give the Cougars the lead with a one-yard scamper around end and into the end zone and true freshman Andrew Furney - replacing senior kicker Nico Grasu - appeared to miss the extra point. But Wazzu's extra point attempt came simultaneously as the Pac-10 referees were buzzing the replay booth to review Tuel's touchdown run and, subsequently, never counted. Upon further review, television replays showed Tuel's knee was down before he crossed the end zone with the ball. A third down pass was incomplete and rather than attempt a short field goal for the lead, head coach Paul Wulff elected to go for the touchdown on fourth and goal from the one-yard line. Montgomery was stopped short on the attempt with 13:51 left in the game.
Using a big 72-yard run from Coleman, UCLA marched the length of the field and re-claimed the lead on a one yard touchdown run from quarterback Richard Brehaut [who was replacing the injured Kevin Prince].
Furney missed a 46-yard field goal attempt on the Cougars' next possession and Coleman scored again - this time on a four yard touchdown run - to seal the deal and give the Bruins the win.
- UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel has never lost to the Cougars.
- Tuel was sacked five times on the day and committed the only Cougar turnover with a fumble on his last sack.
- The Cougars have now lost by double digit margins to the last 13 consecutive Division I opponents they have played.
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