Nov. 27, 1999
(November 27, 1999, Honolulu, Hawai'i): What began as either a contest of superb defenses or inept offenses turned into a second-half shootout as Washington State defeated Hawai'i on its own litter-covered turf 22-14 in front of 45,382 onlookers at a windy Aloha Stadium. The Cougars' closed out their twelve-game schedule at 3-9 overall, while the Rainbow Warriors dropped to 8-4. The game began with a WSU defensive stop. Allowing the Rainbows only four yards on their first three plays, WSU began its opening drive at the WSU 46-yard-line. Back in his home state, making his first collegiate start, quarterback Jason Gesser got the Cougs off in a hurry on first-down with a nine-yard pass to Farwan Zubedi. Deon Burnett helped WSU overcome a holding penalty with three runs that gained 31 yards and set up a 41-yard Rian Lindell field goal attempt. When Lindell kicked it through the uprights with 12:10 left in the first quarter, it was hard to imagine that the next thirty minutes of game time would see both teams go scoreless. Which is not to say that both teams did not have their chances. With less than two minutes left in the first quarter, Lamont Thompson intercepted a Dan Robinson pass at the WSU 25-yard-line and returned it to the Hawai'i 47. But two snaps later Burnett deposited the ball on the carpet and Hawai'i recoverd at its 38-yard-line. Just into the second quarter Hawai'i's Jamal Garland received a WSU punt at the Rainbow 19-yard-line, but immediately fumbled it to Rob Meier at the 21. On the ensuing WSU first-down, Quincy LeJay intercepted a Gesser pass at the 12-yard-line to nix a Cougar scoring opportunity. All the while WSU's defense held strong, allowing Hawai'i to drive no farther than the WSU 37-yard-line to take the 3-0 lead into halftime. On the opening drive of the second half, WSU finally put more points on the board. Mixing the run with the pass, WSU drove 61 yards before Lindell tallied his second field goal, this time from 36 yards out, for a 6-0 advantage at 9:51 in the third quarter. The Rainbow offense struggled on its first third-quarter possession, but got a break the second time around. Facing second-and-10 from the Hawai'i 25, Robinson fired compled to Dwight Carter just beyond the reach of WSU's Marcus Trufant. When Carter turned upfield he found the secondary empty and raced to an easy 75-yard touchdown that put the Rainbows up 7-6 with 7:32 left in the third quarter. Trufant atoned for his missed deflection with a crucial interception on Hawai'i's next possession. The pick and 45-yard return gave the Cougs field position at the Rainbow 46. Two plays later, Adam Hawkins rumbled 30 yards for a WSU touchdown and a 12-7 lead with just over three minutes left in the third quarter. On the ensuing Hawai'i possession LeJuan Gibbons got the Cougars' third interception of the game. But like they had done in the first half, the Cougars gave the ball right back. On second-and-9, Gesser threw complete to Nian Taylor but Taylor quickly fumbled the ball away to Anthony Smith who returned it 38 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. WSU began what would be the game-winning drive at its 20-yard-line with 7:26 left in the game. Hawkins carried the load on the drive with six carriers for 48 yards as WSU marched 73 yards before Lindell completed his hat trick with a 24-yard field goal. After its defense held a desperate Hawai'i offense, WSU gave Hawkins four more carries for 20 more yards and another touchdown to give the Cougs an eight-point margin of victory.