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Washington State 17, Baylor 15

SEATTLE (AP) -- Washington State quarterback Alex Brink clearly
heard the home crowd booing in his direction and chanting for his
backup.

The junior quarterback simply shrugged them off, displaying
impressive resolve in leading a vital Cougars' comeback Saturday
afternoon.

Brink caught a touchdown pass, then drove the Cougars 81 yards
in the closing minutes, setting up Loren Langley's winning field
goal with nine seconds left in Washington State's 17-15 win over
Baylor.

"When you play this position it's pretty clear not everybody's
going to be your best friend or love you," Brink said. "It is
what it is and that's OK. I choose to play this position and I take
the responsibility that goes along with it."

It was the fifth straight year the Cougars (2-1) have played at
Seattle's Qwest Field. They're now 4-1 in those games but
Saturday's crowd of 41,358 was the smallest of the five games.

Brink was pelted with boos and chants for backup Gary Rogers on
Saturday during a woeful second quarter that was a combination of
dropped passes and incompletions.

Instead of letting the crowd get to him, Brink rebounded in a
positive manor, completing 13 of 16 passes in the second half for
153 yards, and leading a 14-play drive for the winning score.

Langley calmly kicked the 17-yard field goal, after missing his
previous two attempts this season.

"It's something we've talked about since last season, the
ability to finish the ball game," Brink said. "I can see a little
bit of an identity forming, a team that's pretty strong-willed."

And a team with a pretty good defense.

With the Cougars' offense sputtering, the Washington State
defense corralled Baylor and its spread offense, holding the Bears
(1-2) to 68 yards of offense in the second half and sacking
quarterback Shawn Bell five times. Baylor finished with minus-10
net yards rushing, and turned the ball over four times.

"This just drives you insane," Baylor coach Guy Morriss said.
"We've got some talent on this football team and we're not making
plays. That's the thing that drives me nuts."

Despite the dominant defense, the Cougars never pulled away and
the Bears retook the lead with 5:24 left. Brink hit wide receiver
Michael Bumpus on a short pass and as Bumpus tried to spin on
defensive back Dwain Crawford, Nick Moore blindsided him and
knocked the ball loose.

Cornerback Anthony Arline scooped up the fumble and returned it
40 yards to give the Bears a 15-14 lead. A two-point conversion
attempt failed.

Brink calmly marched the Cougars downfield, converted on
third-and-8 early in the drive with a 10-yard completion to Brandon
Gibson, and later a 21-yard pass to Jason Hill on third-and-1.
Bumpus then got redemption with a 25-yard reception, taking the
ball to the Baylor 14.

Baylor's defense stiffened near the goal line. On first-and-goal
at the 2, DeMaundray Woolridge fumbled but Washington State
recovered. Brink then tried two QB sneaks, but was stopped on both
attempts.

The Cougars' called a timeout with 14 seconds left, setting up
Langley's kick.

"I was pretty comfortable going out there," Langely said. In
the first half, coach Bill Doba passed on having Langley attempt a
42-yard field goal and went for it on fourth down. "In no way was
I not ready for that kick."

Brink finished 21-for-32 for 251 yards and caught a 4-yard TD
from running back Dwight Tardy midway through the third quarter to
give the Cougars' a 14-9 lead. It was the first TD reception by a
Washington State quarterback since Drew Bledsoe caught his own
2-yard TD pass on Oct. 27, 1990.

Bell threw a 12-yard TD pass to Justin Fenty -- the freshman's
first collegiate reception -- midway through the first quarter to
give Baylor a 9-0 lead. The Bears got a safety when Tony Thompson's
snap went over punter Darryl Blunt's head and out of the end zone.

But Baylor could never establish a running game and Bell was
under pressure from Washington State's defensive line for much of
the afternoon. Five different Cougars sacked Bell, who was
31-for-48 for 256 yards and two interceptions.

"I don't mind getting beat if I go down swinging and give it
everything I've got," Morriss said. "But to lose a game like we
lost today, that is what is driving me nuts."

Brink completed seven of his first eight passes, but was just
1-of-8 in the second quarter, and was replaced near the end of the
half by Rogers, to the delight of the student section chanting for
the backup.

Washington State coaches have been trying to get the sophomore a
series or two in each game and he hasn't disappointed. After Baylor
muffed a punt, Rogers had the Cougars in the end zone in three
plays, throwing a 13-yard TD strike to Hill and cutting the Bears'
lead to 9-7. Rogers has now led the Cougars to a TD on his first
series in all three games.

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