SEATTLE (AP) -- Washington State fully expected to be 3-0 at this
point, but the team knows that an inconsistent performance like
Saturday's against Division I-AA Grambling State won't do when
Pac-10 Conference play begins.
Jerome Harrison had his sixth consecutive 100-yard rushing game,
running for 104 in the first half, as Washington State defeated the
Tigers 48-7, improving to 3-0 for the first time since 2001.
"We just weren't sharp, I didn't think," Washington State
coach Bill Doba said. "Not that I'm unhappy with the win, but
we've got to play better than that in the Pac-10 to survive."
Alex Brink threw three touchdown passes, but the performance by
Washington State's offense was not as crisp as last week, when the
Cougars racked up 534 total yards at Nevada.
The Cougars finished with 446 yards in their first game against
a I-AA team since beating Montana State in 2002, but there were
lulls in the first half.
"I think the first half was sloppy. It wasn't my best," Brink
said. "As a team, we know the competition is going to get
Harrison rushed for 113 yards and three touchdowns, and freshman
DeMaundray Woolridge added 105 yards. Harrison eclipsed 100 yards
in Washington State's last three games of 2004 and the first two
this year. The Cougars are 5-1 over that stretch.
Washington State has scored 141 points in its first three games,
the most since 1908 when the Cougars scored 150 in wins over
Eastern Washington (73-0), the Spokane YMCA (33-0) and the
Bremerton Navy (44-0).
"I think from the first to the third game, we've made
improvements offensively, which is the most important thing,"
While Harrison found running room, Washington State's defense
was stout against the run, holding Grambling (1-1) to just 11 yards
Grambling quarterback Bruce Eugene rarely had time to throw the
ball. The Cougars recorded seven sacks, with consistent pressure on
the Tigers' sixth-year quarterback.
"I think right now we have a decent pass rush, but I don't know
if it's going to be good enough," Washington State defensive
coordinator Robb Akey said. "Our first three opponents, we've been
able to beat the fronts we're going against and pressure the
The Tigers had an opportunity to put the Cougars on their heels
early. On Washington State's first offensive play, Brink fumbled
and Joshua Bester recovered at the Cougars 18.
Grambling drove to the Cougars' 3, but stalled. Shawn Millson
then missed a 26-yard field goal attempt wide left.
Washington State responded, taking the ensuing drive 80 yards in
just 2:08, with Harrison scoring his first 1-yard TD.
On the Tigers next offensive play, Terrion Rogers was hit by
Mkristo Bruce and fumbled at the Grambling 8. The Cougars' Eric
Frampton recovered the fumble and two plays later Harrison scored
from the 1.
"Against a team like Washington State you can't make a lot of
mistakes," Grambling coach Melvin Spears said. "We had some times
that we could have scored some points and minimized some of the
mistakes that we had."
Brink threw an 18-yard touchdown to Jason Hill in the second
quarter, one play after Grambling punter Tim Manuel dropped the
snap. Brink added a 7-yard TD pass to tight end Troy Bienemann
midway through the third quarter, to put the Cougars up 34-0, and
Brink and Hill connected on a 56-yard score early in the fourth
Hill finished with 10 catches for 143 yards, and Brink was
19-of-29 for 262 yards. The teams combined for 22 penalties.
Hill said some of the Cougars' struggles early came from not
seeing any Tigers game film during the week.
"It was tough to prepare for this game without having all the
film that we're so used to," Hill said. "It was tough, but a lot
of the mistakes we made were mental."
The Tigers moved the ball through the air at times, as Eugene
finished 14-of-30 for 197 yards.
Grambling finally scored late in the third. On fourth-and-goal
at the 11, Eugene passed to Henry Tolbert, who caught the ball
while lying on his back after Washington State safety DeWayne
Patterson tipped the pass.
Playing what has become a yearly game in Seattle, the Cougars
improved to 3-1 at Qwest Field. Washington State is scheduled to
play Baylor in Seattle next year.
Grambling opened the season with a 44-0 win over Alabama A&M
last week. The Tigers were playing a Division I-A team for the
first time since a 29-0 loss to San Jose State in 2003.