Oct. 30, 1999
WSU 13, OSU 27
(October 30, 1999, Pullman, Wash.): Oregon State kept Washington State out of the end zone until the game's final seconds en route to a 27-13 victory in front of 34,240 fans who endured windy conditions at Martin Stadium. It was the first Beavers' win at Pullman, and second over the Cougars, since 1978. OSU's defense was tight from the beginning. On their first possession, the Cougars drove from their own 24-yard-line to the Beaver 34-yard-line, but could get no closer. Heading into the wind, the Cougs were forced to punt, giving OSU possession at its own 20-yard-line. Facing third-and-five as the OSU 34-yard-line, Jonathan Smith fired a pass complete to Imani Percoats. Although quickly grabbed by LeJuan Gibbons, Percoats managed to drag the cornerback all the way to the WSU seven-yard-line for a 59-yard gain. Three snaps later, Antonio Battle pushed his way into the end zone and the Beavers had a 7-0 lead with 8:51 left in the first quarter. On their next possession, the Beavers again drove for a score. Capitalizing on a Deon Burnett fumble at the WSU 23-yard-line, OSU ran nine plays before Ryan Cesca completed a 22-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead with 4:44 left in the first quarter. Burnett atoned for his fumble with a 28-yard run on WSU's ensuing first-down. Steve Birnbaum then passed to Leaford Hackett for a 31-yard gain that brought WSU to the Beaver 21-yard-line. Adam Hawkins followed with a six-yard run to set up Rian Lindell's 32-yard field goal. The 10-3 Beaver advantage lasted until the end of the first quarter but not much longer. Less than two-minutes into the second quarter, Cesca completed a 12-play, 73-yard drive with a 25-yard field goal. OSU's 13-3 lead was not threatened until 5:07 remained in the first half. Taking over at the Beaver 43-yard-line, Burnett started the Cougar drive with a five-yard run. Hawkins followed with two runs that netted five yards and a first down. Then the WSU offense went bankrupt. Birnbaum failed to complete any of his next three passing attempts and forced a 50-yard field goal attempt by Lindell. With 3:08 left in the first half Lindell knocked it through the uprights and the Cougars went into the intermission trailing OSU 13-6. The stagnant WSU offense that netted only 33 total yards in the second quarter would add only 53 more in the third. More importantly, WSU was shut-out in third quarter for the fourth-straight time in conference play. In the meantime, OSU built its lead. On OSU's second possession of the half, Ken Simonton rushed for 19 yards including a two-yard touchdown run with 2:48 left in the third quarter. The Beavers' 20-6 lead would be enough to win the game, but both teams would add a touchdown in the fourth quarter. OSU's touchdown came on its first possession of the quarter. The Beavers' put together a 13-play drive in which they faced third-down only twice, gained 71 yards and ate up 6:01 of game time. Simonton got his second touchdown run of the game from one-yard out to make it 27-6 with 7:30 left. WSU scored on its final possession. Going 97-yards in nine plays, WSU avoided finishing a game without a touchdown for the first time since 1994 - the last time OSU beat the Cougars. Burnett's two-yard touchdown run came with nine second left on the clock.
NOTES & QUOTES:
ONE FOR THE BOOKS: The last time OSU beat the Cougars, it was 1994. The last time OSU beat the Cougars in Pullman, it was 1978. In between, WSU did not lose a single one. "It's huge," OSU senior Aaron Koch said. "It means forget the past. We've got something great starting here." But while the Beavers advanced in the bowl hunt, the Cougars vanished from it. "It's unfortunate that we can't be in the bowl hunt, but I guarantee you're going to see a bunch of guys come out in the weeks to follow and they're going to play just like we were in the bowl hunt," WSU senior Torry Hollimon said. "We're going to keep playing hard. Nobody on this team is going to hang their heads for too long."
THIRD STRIKE: The third quarter has been terrible for WSU this season. Opponents this season have outscored WSU 80-17 in the third quarter and OSU became the fourth consecutive Pac-10 team the Cougars scoreless in the period. "The third quarter was going to be our big deal," WSU head coach Mike Price said. "We made a big thing of it all week. We came out offensively and moved the ball okay, but they took the ball and moved 88-yards. It was a beautiful drive that polished us off. They won the third quarter and the game." Said running back Adam Hawkins: "It all comes down to execution. Third quarter or first quarter, it doesn't make a difference. We don't come out and execute when we need to and that's our problem."
SAME STADIUM, DIFFERENT SIDELINE: Dennis Erickson was a Cougar head coach in 1987 and 1988, so for him Saturday's game was more of a Homecoming Weekend than a Dad's Weekend. "This is a tough game for all of us coming back here, Mike (Price) and I being friends," Erickson said. "It's hard, but we're going to have to play every year so we might as well get used to it." Said Price of Erickson, "Washington State means a lot to him and he has done a lot for this community, the Inland Empire and the state of Washington. He did a great job today." But did that community welcome Erickson back? "Listening to some people in the stands, I think they're glad I'm gone," Erickson said. "It was pretty ugly out there, not what I was expecting, but that's the way it goes."
PLAYING THE FIELD: The wind was up in Pullman, give both teams an extra opponent Saturday afternoon. "Going one way you were all right, going the other way you really had some problems," Erickson said. "When we won the toss, we deferred because the wind was unbelievable. I really felt that if we could jump up early, because of (the wind) it would make a difference, and then it did. It had a tremendous influence on what was going on." No doubt. In all, 27 of the game's 40 points were scored driving with the wind - including Rian Lindell's 50-yard field goal.