5:00 PM ET, September 23, 2006
Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Mkristo Bruce acknowledged he got ticked off this week hearing Stanford quarterback Trent Edwards talk about how much he enjoyed playing at Washington State.
So Bruce made a point of telling that to Edwards -- again and again.
Bruce had a school-record five sacks and Mike Graise returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown, leading Washington State to a 36-10 victory over Stanford on Saturday.
"We didn't appreciate that," Bruce said about Edwards talking about how much he enjoyed playing at Martin Stadium. "The whole week we just had No. 5, a big poster in our locker. All I could think about was No. 5. I got my first sack and told him, 'I'm going to come back. I'm going to come back and get you another time."
Bruce did exactly that, helping the Cougars avenge two straight home losses to Edwards and the Cardinal.
Alex Brink threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third, and Jason Hill blocked a punt and caught a touchdown pass for the Cougars (3-1, 1-0 Pac-10), who won for the fourth straight time at Stanford.
It was another lopsided loss for the Cardinal (0-4, 0-2), who matched their worst start since losing the first six games in 1983 on the way to a 1-10 mark.
"Until we can match up physically we will continue to make it hard on ourselves to have a chance to compete," coach Walt Harris said.
Stanford once again failed to put on a show at its renovated stadium and has been outscored 73-19 in the first two home games to the Cougars and Navy. At least most of the 37,498 who bought tickets didn't bother to show up to watch this one.
Washington State overcame three lost fumbles to put together a dominating performance against the Cardinal.
It was a welcome start to the conference season for the Cougars, who lost their first seven Pac-10 games last year, including a 24-21 defeat to Stanford in which Edwards threw three touchdown passes.
"I think we contained him more than we did last year," Graise said. "He was a little shaky with the interception and tripping on that play."
This game was never in doubt. By the time Stanford ran its first play in Cougars territory, the score was already 22-0 early in the third quarter.
Aaron Zagory kicked a 34-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half for Stanford, and the Cardinal got the ball back on the Washington State 17 after DeMaundray Woolridge fumbled.
But Toby Gerhart fumbled it back two plays later and the Cougars drove 97 yards to score on Brink's 7-yard pass to Hill, making it 29-3.
Brink was 21-for-33 for 228 yards. Dwight Tardy ran for 97 yards and Woolridge added 71.
"We dominated them," Tardy said. "We had fumbles that kind of messed us up a bit, but we dominated them for four quarters."
Edwards was 14-for-23 for 159 yards and was sacked seven times. He threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to walk-on Kelton Lynn, but once again struggled without injured starting receivers Evan Moore and Mark Bradford.
He was harassed all day by Bruce, who is third on the Cougars' career list with 25½ sacks.
"What a day by him," defensive coordinator Robb Akey said. "That was an awesome performance. That's like hitting five homers in a day. That was a tremendous performance. They brought a back over to double him and tried different things but he was still able to create things."
The discrepancy in first-quarter numbers was staggering, yet Washington State only led 2-0 after 15 minutes. Stanford ran only three plays for 2 yards, none outside its own 5, while the Cougars had the ball for 34 plays and gained 181 yards.
The only thing that kept Stanford in the game was a pair of fumbles by Brink and Tardy deep in Stanford territory. It was so bad for the Cardinal that they punted on third down on their first drive and Edwards tripped in the end zone for a safety on the first play of their second drive.
"That's the way the season has gone so far," Edwards said.
On Stanford's first drive of the second quarter, Edwards tried to throw a screen to Gerhart, but Graise stepped in front for the interception and returned it for the score.
"It was a terrible play on my part," Edwards said. "He got blocked into that throw and I tried to force it instead of throwing it away."
On the next drive, Hill blocked Jay Ottovegio's punt and Graise recovered at the 13 for the Cougars. That set up Brink's 2-yard pass to Jed Collins that made it 15-0. Brink added a 1-yard touchdown run with 1:01 left in the half to make it 22-0.