Oct 6, 2001
By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
Associated Press Writer
PULLMAN, Wash. - David Minnich ran for a career-high 195 yards and threw a touchdown pass as Washington State beat Oregon State 34-27 Saturday.
Washington State (5-0, 3-0 Pac-10) won five games for the first time since the Rose Bowl season of 1997, when they opened 7-0. Oregon State (1-3, 0-2), ranked 11th in the preseason, fell behind 31-0 in the first half to lose its second consecutive game.
Minnich, a 27-year-old ex-Marine, rushed 34 times for his best game in two seasons for the Cougars. He also caught a touchdown pass and threw a scoring pass in his first college passing attempt.
Oregon State running back Ken Simonton, who gained more than 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons, continued a disappointing campaign as he was held to just 19 yards on 12 carries.
Washington State beat OSU coach Dennis Erickson, who used to coach the Cougars, for the first time in three tries since Erickson returned to the Pacific 10.
The pounding started early as Erik Coleman intercepted Oregon State quarterback Jonathan Smith on the fourth play of the game and returned the ball 47 yards for a touchdown.
On Washington State's first possession, Jason Gesser hit Minnich on a swing pass and Minnich bulled seven yards for a 14-0 lead. Gesser completed 12 of 22 passes for 93 yards in the game.
Drew Dunning added a 37-yard field goal for the Cougars late in the first.
In a bizarre sequence on their next possession, Gesser was intercepted by Terrell Roberts, but Roberts fumbled on the return. The Cougars' Joey Hollenbeck pounced on the ball to give Washington State possession on Oregon State's 23. Gesser was injured on the pass and replaced by Matt Kegel.
Minnich took a handoff from Kegel and threw a 22-yard pass to Nakoa McElrath for a 24-0 WSU lead.
Oregon State's Noah Happe recovered a Minnich fumble in Washington State territory early in the second quarter. But Smith fumbled on a handoff to Simonton on the first play and Fred Shavies recovered for the Cougars. Gesser lofted a 13-yard scoring pass to Mike Bush for a 31-0 lead with 10:23 left in the first half.
Oregon State came back in the third quarter. Smith threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Patrick McCall on fourth-and-3 for the Beavers' first touchdown. Ryan Cesca added his second field goal of the game.
Oregon State's Kenny Farley blocked Alan Cox's punt midway through the fourth and Jason Lowe picked it up and ran into the end zone to cut the deficit to 34-20 with 6:41 left. Oregon State's Mitch Meeuwsen added a touchdown on a fumble recovery in the final seconds.
Smith finished 16 of 26 for 180 yards, with two interceptions.
Roberts had two interceptions for the Beavers.