Oct. 21, 2006
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) -Jed Collins is sure to be on someone's radar now.
The little-used tight end caught a touchdown pass and rushed for another score as Washington State upset No. 16 Oregon 34-23 Saturday, dealing a blow to the Ducks' hopes for a BCS bowl appearance.
"Today, I think they just underestimated me. They didn't hear of me before this game," the 6-foot-2, 250 pound junior said. "If I can fly under the radar and get a couple of catches, I'm happy."
It's not likely that UCLA, the Cougars' next opponent, will forget to scout him after Collins helped end a scoring drought for the Cougars (5-3, 3-2 Pac-10). Washington State's defense held the league's top offensive team without an offensive touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter.
After the Cougars scored just one touchdown in the previous two weeks, WSU coaches put in some additional plays to try to find some scoring punch against Oregon, Collins said.
"I was lucky enough to be the guy in a couple of them," said Collins, who caught three passes for 57 yards, had three rushes for 3 yards, and blocked as Cougars runners combined for 193 yards.
Alex Brink threw touchdown passes to Collins and Jason Hill as Washington State fixed red zone problems that plagued it the past two weeks. Brink, from Eugene, Ore., was 20-for-23 for 179 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted once.
"During the week, I said this game meant a lot to me," said Brink, a former Oregon prep player of the year who was not recruited by his hometown university. "To stick it to them like this feels good."
Tyron Brackenridge stepped in front of Dennis Dixon's pass on the Oregon 24 and returned it for a score to give WSU a 27-3 margin 26 seconds after Collins' second score.
Dwight Tardy ran for a 1-yard TD to finish the Cougars' scoring late in the fourth quarter. He carried 20 times for 145 yards, including 114 in the final period when the Cougars were trying to control the clock.
"They didn't realize we were coming so hard and we hit them in the mouth and they just folded," said Tardy, one of three running backs the Cougars rotate. "We started rolling and in the second half, the big runs came."
Oregon (5-2, 3-2) got off to a shaky start and Dixon was replaced by Brady Leaf after throwing a second interception. Dixon entered the game averaging nearly 240 yards passing, but was held to 105 yards and no touchdowns.
Leaf threw scoring passes of 4 and 36 yards in the fourth quarter. He completed 16 of 27 passes for 262 yards and two TDs.
Ducks starting tailback Jonathan Stewart, who was averaging 100.5 yards, was held to just 28 on 11 carries. He was spelled by Jeremiah Johnson, who finished with 63 yards on 12 carries as the Ducks, the top rushing team in the conference, were held to 104 net rushing yards.
Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said Dixon was pulled in the second half to try to give the Ducks some spark.
"I felt that he wasn't quite comfortable in the pocket, that maybe he felt some of the pressure," Bellotti said. "But overall, I can't put the turnovers on him early, but we just have to have a spark and make sure we get the ball moving downfield."
Defenses dominated a first half that saw sloppy play by both teams. Each lost two fumbles. In one segment in the first quarter, the ball was turned over three times on three consecutive fumbles.
WSU got its first scoring opportunity when Stewart fumbled a pitchout from Dixon and the Cougars recovered on the Oregon 48 in the first quarter. Collins caught an 8-yard scoring pass from Brink, but the point after was blocked.
Oregon took the ensuing kickoff 62 yards before stalling at the Washington State 18. Paul Martinez made a 35-yard field goal to make it 6-3 with 4:49 remaining in the half.
Martinez missed another scoring opportunity in the first quarter when a 51-yard attempt hit the crossbar and bounced back onto the field.
Capping a 76-yard drive, Brink hit Hill with a 16-yard scoring pass in the corner of the end zone to take a 13-3 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Collins grabbed a 32-yard pass from Brink to the Oregon 1, then plunged across on the next play to score.
Darius Sanders stripped Brink and returned the fumble 6 yards for the Ducks' first touchdown to start the fourth quarter. The extra point attempt was fumbled, making it 27-9 before Leaf's two fourth-quarter scores.
The Ducks made their third visit to Martin Stadium in three years. Last season, Oregon kicked a last-second field goal to win 34-31.
Oregon is the third ranked team to visit Pullman this season. No. 3 USC won 28-22 on Sept. 31 and No. 11 California was a 21-3 winner last week.