Sun Devils Down Cougars, 38-28
October 31, 1998
PULLMAN, Wash. - Despite competing with the Sun Devils to the bitter end, WSU could not rebound from its own mistakes and lost its fifth consecutive game 38-28 in front of 34,039 at Martin Stadium.
The 10-point triumph moved ASU to 4-4 on the season, 3-2 in Pac-10 play, while the Cougars dropped to 3-5, 0-5 in Pac-10 play. Early the game was a defensive struggle with both teams going scoreless in the first quarter after missing field goal opportunities. Two minutes into the second quarter, ASU got on the board first with a 48-yard field goal by Stephen Baker.
The Cougars responded two possessions later with a seven-play, 77-yard drive that ended in a one-yard touchdown plunge by Kevin Brown to give the Cougars their first and only lead of the game, 7-3. The Sun Devils' attempt to answer was stopped short of midfield and Seanan Kelly was forced to punt.
WSU's Dee Moronkola attempted to field the Kelly boot off the bounce, but fumbled it away to ASU at the WSU 18 yard line. Three snaps later, Ryan Kealy rolled right and gunned a touchdown pass to Kenny Mitchell from 12 yards out to regain the lead 10-7 with 2:47 remaining in the second quarter.
WSU looked to respond, moving to midfield, but Brown's open-field scamper proved disastrous when he was stripped from behind, giving ASU the ball at its own 38 with 1:23 first-half ticks remaining. It was not much time, but enough for the Sun Devils to drive 62 yards in six plays with Kealy finding Mitchell for their second straight touchdown connection and a 17-7 halftime lead.
On its first second-half possession, WSU proved it would not go easily into the night. On third-and-10 Paul Mencke completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to Leaford Hackett to complete the 54-yard drive and bring the score to 17-14. It was now up to the defense to stop ASU's attack, but on first down, Jeff Paulk broke loose on a 70-yard run and the Sun Devils were back in scoring position at the WSU six. Davaren Hightower did the rest with three short rushes that earned him a touchdown and padded the ASU advantage to 24-14.
The Cougars' attempt to respond was spoiled when Rian Lindell's 39-yard field goal try was blocked and recovered by ASU. But the WSU defense forced a three-and-out and the Mencke-powered offense was back on the field. First, a 29-yard pass to Nian Taylor moved the Cougs to midfield. Then Mencke made a seven-yard scramble, which he followed with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Taylor.
Going into the final quarter WSU was within three, 24-21. The ASU offense could not be denied, adding an 18-yard touchdown connection from Kealy to Hightower. Then the Sun Devil defense forced Mencke's only interception of the night, good enough for a 37-yard return, a touchdown and a 38-21 advantage with less than nine minutes remaining.
While Mencke and Taylor reunited for another touchdown, it was too little too late, and ASU held on for its 38-28 win. In a losing effort, Brown managed a career-high 153 rushing yards while the Steve Birnbaum-Mencke tandem passed for 282 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions.
WASHINGTON STATE 0 7 14 7 28 ARIZONA STATE 0 17 7 14 38
Official Website of Washington State University Athletics | Bohler Athletic Complex | PO Box 641602 Pullman, WA 99164-1602 | 1.800.GO.COUGS