PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) -- Drew Dunning's school-record five field
goals were enough for No. 24 Washington State on Saturday, but WSU
coach Bill Doba warns that may not do the job next time.
Washington State struggled all day long finding the end zone and
still beat the New Mexico Lobos 23-13.
"We better get it straightened out," Doba said. "It's great
to not play well and still win. Our defense played great again."
The Cougars (3-1) struggled to read the Lobos' defense and
didn't score a touchdown until late in the third quarter, when
quarterback Matt Kegel pushed across from the 1.
It was the first TD in five tries inside New Mexico's 20 as the
Lobos dug in on defense and Washington State was backed up by
Kegel was ineffective in the red zone, but completed 29 of 42
passes for 346 yards without an interception. The Cougars got 27
first downs to New Mexico's 12 and held the Lobos to just 22 yards
"Matt stepped up and threw the ball really well," Doba said.
"He made some really big throws."
In the second half, it was the Lobos who had trouble with the
"I really felt that it was going to be a nail-biter at the
end," Lobos coach Rocky Long said. "We came out in the second
(half) and couldn't do much on offense. Washington State's defense
is very good. They found a way to win. That's what good teams do."
The Lobos (1-3) took a 13-12 halftime lead after the Cougars
were forced to punt and Casey Kelly hit Dwight Counter with a
50-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline.
Kelly, who completed 16 of 32 for 214 and a touchdown, caught
another touchdown pass for the Lobos' first score in the second
Trailing 9-0, Kelly handed off to wide receiver Terrence Thomas,
who threw a touchdown pass back across the field to his wide-open
quarterback. Wes Zunker's extra point attempt was blocked.
The Cougars settled for four field goals in the first half after
failing to score three times inside the New Mexico 6. Dunning hit
from 37, 36, 23, 21 and 49 yards.
Cougars starting running back Jonathan Smith was sidelined with
a concussion in the first quarter, but was cleared to play after
the half, finishing with 30 yards on 13 carries.
Lobos tailback DonTrell Moore gained only 21 yards on 11
Smith was starting in place of regular starter Jermaine Green,
who missed practices this week with an undisclosed illness, but led
the Cougars with 48 yards rushing as a reserve. Backup Chris Bruhn
gained 43 yards on nine carries.
Washington State was hit with a dozen penalties for 118 yards,
including a couple of costly unsportsmanlike conduct calls after
Kelly had been sacked.
"We still have too many penalties," Doba said. "We had a
couple of celebration penalties those are selfish. We can't do
those things. Our guys know better than that."
Kegel's favorite target was Devard Darling, who caught nine
passes for 117 yards. Sammy Moore caught five for 98 yards and had
61 return yards, including one for 48 yards.
Adrian Boyd caught eight passes for 100 yards to lead the Lobos.
It was the fourth time in five years New Mexico started its
season with a 1-3 record.
Doba said the narrow win, just a week before the Cougars meet
Oregon, taught some lessons.
"We learned that we can come back and play well and we learned
that we can finish," he said. "We have too many penalties."