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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Washington State Goes Duck Hunting
Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 09/27/2003
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Sept 27, 2003

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AP Sports Writer

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Washington State quickly made Oregon's recent success look like a fluke.

Matt Kegel threw for three touchdowns and steadily guided the No. 21 Cougars, who took advantage of seven-first half turnovers to beat the 10th-ranked Ducks 55-16 Saturday.

Oregon (4-1, 1-1 Pacific-10) grabbed national attention with last weekend's 31-27 upset of No. 3 Michigan, but was done in by its own mistakes.

Washington State (4-1, 1-0), the defending Pac-10 champions, went to the air to stymie the Ducks - who had successfully stopped Michigan's rushing game.

Kegel completed 13 of 33 passes for 242 yards for the Cougars, who also got a pair of scoring runs from Jermaine Green. The Cougars' only loss of the season came on Sept. 6, when they blew a 19-0 lead and lost 29-26 in overtime at Notre Dame.

Washington State, coming off a 23-13 victory over New Mexico last weekend, struck first with Kegel's 41-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Moore midway through the first quarter.

Drew Dunning added a 41-yard field goal to make it 10-0, and the Ducks rotated in quarterback Jason Fife to spell starter Kellen Clemens.

But Fife's first pass was intercepted by Jeremy Bohannon, and on the Cougars' first play from scrimmage Kegel hit Devard Darling with a 38-yards scoring pass to make it 17-0.

It was the first interception thrown by an Oregon quarterback this season, and one of seven Oregon's two QBs would have in the game.

The Ducks appeared to swing momentum near the close of the first quarter when Keith Lewis blocked a Washington State punt for a safety. Lewis has blocked a punt in each of his last three games.

But Oregon's renewed energy was snuffed when Fife's long pass to Samie Parker bounced off the receiver's chest in the end zone. Parker took his anger out on a defender for a 15-yard personal foul, and Fife was intercepted on his next throw.

Kegel responded by marching the Cougars downfield to set up Green's 1-yard touchdown run.

The Cougars went up 31-2 when cornerback Karl Paymah tipped a pass from Clemens to Parker into the hands of Virgil Williams, who ran the interception back 40 yards for another score.

A blocked Oregon punt that Bohannon ran back 4 yards into the end zone made it 38-2 for Washington State at halftime.

Oregon finally found offensive success with Terrence Whitehead's 4-yard scoring run early in the second half.

Green's second touchdown came from 23 yards out with 2:05 left in the third quarter, but Oregon quickly answered with Clemens' 26-yard TD pass to Demetrius Williams to make it 45-16.

Kegel added a 13-yard scoring pass to Troy Bienemann and Dunning hit a 45-yard field goal for the final margin.

Oregon's quarterback tandem of Fife and Clemens, who went into the game leading the Pac-10 in passing efficiency, threw five interceptions in the first half alone.

Clemens, who started, was 16-of-34 for 232 yards and four interceptions, while Fife was 8-of-24 for 123 yards and three interceptions.

Washington State, which beat Oregon 32-21 last season in Pullman en route to the conference title, had not been to Eugene since 1999.

Washington State Cougars Athletics