10:00 PM ET, September 1, 2005
Martin Stadium, PULLMAN, WA
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) -- Alex Brink provided the arm and Jerome Harrison's legs carried Washington State to a 38-26 victory over a much-improved Idaho.
Brink said he felt like a rookie during the first half of Thursday night's game, but he's a veteran who knows that feeling isn't supposed to last long.
"When we jump out into a lead, we've got to keep the pedal down and keep going," Brink said after throwing three touchdown passes in the season opener for both teams.
Harrison provided the gas, rushing for two quick opening period TDs to give WSU a 14-point lead before the Cougars got lethargic in the second quarter and let the Vandals make a game of it.
"A win is a win. Our defense played a good game," Harrison said. "The offense picked up in the third quarter. We didn't play four quarters."
Harrison was the workhorse of the Cougars' offense, carrying 24 times for 165 yards. The Cougars' leading rusher last season with 900 yards in just five starts, he had 134 yards by halftime.
Brink threw two TDs to Jason Hill, who came to life in the second half, and to Michael Bumpus to keep the Vandals at bay.
"I've already won a couple games in the Pac-10. It's nice to get the first win and come out and improve," Brink said. "At the same time, I think I'm going to look at film and know that there's things I need to work on, which is a good thing."
Brink, a sophomore who beat out junior Josh Swogger for the start, completed 17 of 29 passes for 230 yards. He was intercepted twice.
Harrison sprinted 80 yards to score on the Cougars' first play from scrimmage. After Antwaun Sherman fumbled on the following kickoff, Adam West recovered for WSU on the Idaho 19. Harrison scored three plays later on a 4-yard run to put the Cougars up 14-0 just 2:09 into the game.
"I liked the way we played in the first two minutes," WSU coach Bill Doba joked. "Overall, our effort was good, but in the second quarter, we sort of got lethargic. The defense saved us."
Idaho, in its first year in the Western Athletic Conference, regrouped and held WSU, of the Pacific-10 Conference, to just a 26-yard Loren Langley field goal the rest of the first half, and trailed 17-12 at halftime.
Idaho coach Nick Holt said he was concerned when WSU jumped out to a quick lead, but was pleased with the way his young team responded.
"All of the stuff that we say in our program can't happen, happened early. It was great to see the resilience of our football team, that we came back and made it a game," he said. "It's 14-0 and our offense hasn't even been out on the field yet. It could have got ugly, but it just shows you the improvement of our football program."
Hill caught a pass that turned into a 72-yard scoring play that gave the Cougars the go-ahead score in the third quarter. He later caught a 20-yard TD pass to atone for an offensive pass interference call on the previous play.
Idaho's Eddie Williams caught a 9-yard TD pass from Michael Harrington to make it 14-6 in the first quarter. Harrington was replaced in the second quarter by backup Steven Wichman, who threw a 4-yard TD to Daniel Smith in the third period.
Wichman completed 13 of 23 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown, while Harrington was 6-9 for 37 yards and a TD.
Michael Bumpus returned a punt 25 yards, then hauled in a 26-yard scoring pass from Brink to put the Cougars up 24-12 midway through the third quarter.
Idaho responded with a 4-yard scoring strike from Wichman to Daniel Smith. Jayson Bird closed out Vandals' scoring with a 6-yard TD run with about 3 minutes remaining in the game.
Mike Barrow hit a pair of 24-yard field goals for Idaho after drives set up by Vandals' interceptions of Brink passes.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-17||5-15|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||1-1|
|TD||14:48||JEROME HARRISON 80 YD RUN (LOREN LANGLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||13:51||JEROME HARRISON 4 YD RUN (LOREN LANGLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 19 yards.
|TD||8:55||EDDIE WILLIAMS 9 YD PASS FROM MICHAEL HARRINGTON (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 73 yards.
|FG||0:12||LOREN LANGLEY 26 YD FG|
Drive info: 11 plays, 31 yards.
|FG||6:37||MIKE BARROW 24 YD FG|
Drive info: 12 plays, 84 yards.
|FG||2:56||MIKE BARROW 24 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, 4 yards.
|TD||9:37||MICHAEL BUMPUS 26 YD PASS FROM ALEX BRINK (LOREN LANGLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 26 yards.
|TD||5:27||DANIEL SMITH 4 YD PASS FROM STEVEN WICHMAN (MIKE BARROW KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 54 yards.
|TD||3:54||JASON HILL 72 YD PASS FROM ALEX BRINK (LOREN LANGLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 86 yards.
|TD||13:19||JASON HILL 20 YD PASS FROM ALEX BRINK (LOREN LANGLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 50 yards.
|TD||2:50||JAYSON BIRD 6 YD RUN (MIKE BARROW KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 75 yards.