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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Kegel Bomb to Nettles Wins Spring Game For Crimson Squad
Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 04/15/2000
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April 15, 2000

PULLMAN, Wash. -- For over 42 minutes the defenses dominated the annual Crimson and Gray Game, but the offenses provided the spark down the stretch during the Crimson's come-from-behind 10-6 victory at Martin Stadium on Saturday.

In the first half, the Crimson team gained 146 yards of total offense, while the Gray team managed only 80 yards during the first 24 minutes of the game. The Crimson squad got went into the red zone twice, converting on its second field-goal attempt, a 33-yard boot by Nick Lambert as time expired.

"I think we can be even better than that of defense, but I think they won the war today," coach Mike Price said.

The second half appeared as though it would be a reversal of the first half as the Gray team moved the ball down the field, but failed to score until midway through the fourth quarter. The Grays out-gained the Crimsons 132-106. With the exception of the Crimson scoring drive, Gray held its counterpart to just 20 yards of offense.

Beginning a possession on its own 47-yard line, the Gray team marched 53 yards on three plays to take the lead, when Adam Hawkins took a handoff on a draw play and went 21 yards for the score. Drew Dunning failed to convert on the extra point, so the Gray team held a 6-3 advantage with 5:46 remaining.

"I would have liked to see one of those guys (kickers) come through a little better," Price said. "I was shocked that Drew Dunning missed that extra point because he is the most accurate kicker."

Two drives later the Crimson team needed to mount a drive to either tie the game or take the lead. With 2:52 left on the clock, Matt Kegel and his Crimson teammates needed to drive 93 yards to take the lead. On first down, Deon Burnett took the handoff and was hit immediately by Isaac Brown.

On second down, Kegel dropped back and heaved the ball down the right sideline. Speedy receiver Curtis Nettles ran under toward the ball, extended his arms and pulled in the ball near midfield. He then outran the defensive back the rest of the way for the touchdown and a Crimson 10-6 lead.

"I was really happy to see that," Price said. "He's (Nettles) always had big potential, but it's just potential. Potential will kill you. You have to make plays and Matt did it. He had been struggling all day. He got hit in the mouth at the beginning of the scrimmage. Man, welcome to the Pac-10. But he ended up showing toughness and sticking in there and making the big play."

With one last chance for the Gray team to win the game, the Crimson defensive line put the comeback bid to rest. Ends Austin Matson and Tupo Tuupo each recorded one sack on the final drive and three each on Jason Gesser.

"I really liked the defense," Price said. "Austin Matson, that's as good as I've seen him play. He was eating up the offensive line all day. They couldn't block him."

Gesser led the Gray squad with 14 of 29 passing for 210 yards, while Kegel went 6 for 9 with 132 yards and one touchdown for the Crimson. Kjell Nesen also completed 5 of 11 passes for 48 yards for the Crimson.

Hawkins led all rushers with 44 yards on nine carries. Burnett had 43 yards on 18 carries for the Crimson and teammate Jeremy Thielbahr added 27 yards on five carries.

Nettles had the most productive day of any wide receiver thanks in part to the touchdown catch. He had four receptions for 103 yards. Wynn also had a good day catching four passes for 90 yards.

Defensive stars for the Gray team include Brown, Ira Davis and Ryan Pickering. Brown and Davis each finished the game with eight tackles, while Davis added an interception. Pickering led all players with nine tackles, including two for loss.

The secondary for the Crimson team received a lot of work, helping pad the stats of its players. Billy Newman led the Crimson defense with seven tackles and fellow safety Mory Banks added six. Cornerback Marcus Trufant had intercepted a Gesser pass and broke up two additional passes.

"I really liked the competitiveness of this game," Price said. "I thought our defensive line really came to play. They were penetrating all day and had the quarterbacks running for their lives."

Gray 0 0 0 6 - 6

Crimson 0 3 0 7 - 10

Scoring summary:

Second quarter

Crimson - Lambert 27 FG, 0:00.

Fourth quarter

Gray - Hawkins 21 run, 5:46.

Crimson - Nettles 93 pass from Kegel (Wilaikul kick), 1:53.

Rushing - Gray: Hawkins 9/44, Philley 3/2, Graffis 2/(-8), Gesser 6/(-36),

Crimson: Burnett 18/43, Thielbahr 5/27, Nesen 3/7, Kegel 5/(-5).

Passing (Att/Comp/Int/Yds/TD/Long) - Gray: Gesser 29/14/1/210/0/35, Graffis 3/0/0/0/0/0, Crimson: Kegel 9/6/0/132/1/93, Nesen 11/5/1/48/0/23.

Receiving - Gray: Wynn 4/90, Zubedi 6/77, J. White 3/22, Ramos 1/21, Crimson: Nettles 4/103, Mencke 2/26, M. Williams 1/23, Mizin 2/19, C. Henderson 1/5, Torian 1/4.

First downs (rushing-passing--penalty-total) - Gray: 3-7-0-10, Crimson: 4-6-0-10

Tackles - Gray: R. Pickering 9, Brown 8, Davis 8, R. Smith 5, Camarena 4, Isaacson 4, Kongaika 4, Acholonu 2, Hollimon 2, Mensonides 2, Wageman 2, Adedipe, Boose, Martin, Rambow, Ramos, Underwood, J. White, Crimson: Newman 7, Banks 6, Matson 5, Tuupo 5, Minners 4, Marong 3, Jer. Williams 3, B. Pickering 2, Price 2, Simmons 2, Thielbahr 2, Evans, Johnson, Long, Nettles, Sheridan, Stiffarm, Trufant, C. White

Sacks - Gray: Camarena, R. Smith, Crimson: Matson 3, Tuupo 3.

Tackles for loss - Gray: Camarena 2, R. Pickering, Brown, Davis, R. Smith, Crimson: Matson 4, Tuupo 4.

Interceptions - Gray: Davis, Crimson: Trufant.

Passes defensed - Gray: Davis, Crimson: Trufant 2, Newman, Seifrit.

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