Sept 20, 2003
By JOHN K. WILEY
Associated Press Writer
PULLMAN, Wash. - Drew Dunning's record-setting day was enough for Washington State.
Dunning kicked a school-record five field goals as the No. 24 Cougars beat New Mexico 23-13 Saturday after struggling to find the end zone all day.
"We better get it straightened out," Washington State coach Bill Doba said. "It's great to not play well and still win. Our defense played great again."
The Cougars (3-1) struggled to read the Lobos' defense and didn't score a touchdown until late in the third quarter, when quarterback Matt Kegel pushed across from the 1.
It was the first TD in five tries inside New Mexico's 20 as the Lobos dug in on defense and Washington State was backed up by penalties.
Kegel was ineffective in the red zone, but completed 29 of 42 passes for 346 yards without an interception. The Cougars got 27 first downs to New Mexico's 12 and held the Lobos to just 22 yards rushing.
"Matt stepped up and threw the ball really well," Doba said. "He made some really big throws."
In the second half, it was the Lobos who had trouble with the Cougars defense.
"I really felt that it was going to be a nail-biter at the end," Lobos coach Rocky Long said. "We came out in the second (half) and couldn't do much on offense. Washington State's defense is very good. They found a way to win. That's what good teams do."
The Lobos (1-3) took a 13-12 halftime lead after the Cougars were forced to punt and Casey Kelly hit Dwight Counter with a 50-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline.
Kelly, who completed 16 of 32 for 214 and a touchdown, caught another touchdown pass for the Lobos' first score in the second quarter.
Trailing 9-0, Kelly handed off to wide receiver Terrence Thomas, who threw a touchdown pass back across the field to his wide-open quarterback. Wes Zunker's extra point attempt was blocked.
The Cougars settled for four field goals in the first half after failing to score three times inside the New Mexico 6. Dunning hit from 37, 36, 23, 21 and 49 yards.
Cougars starting running back Jonathan Smith was sidelined with a concussion in the first quarter, but was cleared to play after the half, finishing with 30 yards on 13 carries.
Lobos tailback DonTrell Moore gained only 21 yards on 11 carries.
Smith was starting in place of regular starter Jermaine Green, who missed practices this week with an undisclosed illness, but led the Cougars with 48 yards rushing as a reserve. Backup Chris Bruhn gained 43 yards on nine carries.
Washington State was hit with a dozen penalties for 118 yards, including a couple of costly unsportsmanlike conduct calls after Kelly had been sacked.
"We still have too many penalties," Doba said. "We had a couple of celebration penalties those are selfish. We can't do those things. Our guys know better than that."
Kegel's favorite target was Devard Darling, who caught nine passes for 117 yards. Sammy Moore caught five for 98 yards and had 61 return yards, including one for 48 yards.
Adrian Boyd caught eight passes for 100 yards to lead the Lobos.
It was the fourth time in five years New Mexico started its season with a 1-3 record.
Doba said the narrow win, just a week before the Cougars meet Oregon, taught some lessons.
"We learned that we can come back and play well and we learned that we can finish," he said. "We have too many penalties."