7:00 PM ET, October 28, 2006
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- The Washington State Cougars were an unhappy group at halftime, figuring they hadn't played up to their ability.
They did in the second half.
Alex Brink passed for 405 yards and three touchdowns, and the Cougars dominated the final 30 minutes in beating UCLA 37-15 Saturday to snap the Bruins' 10-game winning streak at the Rose Bowl.
"That's what we talked about, shutting them out in the second half," WSU cornerback Tyron Brackenridge said. "And we skinned them pretty well.
"We said, `Shut 'em out in the second half, and let's go bowling."
Brackenridge referred to the fact that the Cougars became bowl eligible by winning their sixth game.
Brink completed 17-of-21 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, but the Cougars (6-3, 4-2 Pac-10) trailed 15-14 at the intermission. They outscored the Bruins 23-0 after that.
UCLA was held without a first down in the second half until Patrick Cowan's 12-yard pass to Junior Taylor with 11½ minutes remaining. The Bruins then moved to the WSU 17-yard line before an interception by Brackenridge prompted many in the crowd of 53,058 at the Rose Bowl to head for the exits.
UCLA's Eric McNeal intercepted a pass 2 minutes later, but fumbled during the return and WSU's Brandon Gibson recovered. The Bruins were unable to pose a scoring threat after that.
"That wasn't anything close to the game I was expecting," UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said. "We came in with a good plan but did not execute very well on either side of the ball."
That was especially true in the second half, when the Cougars had the ball for nearly 22 minutes while UCLA had it just over eight minutes.
"We knew we had the capability to do that," Brink said regarding the second-half domination.
Overall, WSU had the ball 36:59 to UCLA's 23:01.
By winning, the Cougars avenged a 44-41 overtime loss to the Bruins last season. They led 21-0 and 28-7 before UCLA came back.
Washington State took a 20-15 lead late in the third quarter of this game on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Brink to Gibson. The Cougars' offense made sure they wouldn't blow their lead, scoring on their next two possessions. And the WSU defense did the rest.
Brink completed 28 of 38 passes with two interceptions. He passed for a career-high 531 yards against Oregon State last year. Gibson had eight catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns, and Jason Hill made eight receptions for 115 yards and one score.
After the Cougars went ahead to stay, the Bruins failed on a fourth-and-1 play at midfield. Brink threw a 34-yard pass to Hill on the next play, setting up a 31-yard field goal by Romeen Abdollmohammadi that made it 23-15.
DeMaundray Woolridge scored twice in the fourth quarter -- on a 4-yard run with 11:49 remaining and a 15-yarder with 49 seconds left -- to complete the scoring.
UCLA (4-4, 2-3) was unsuccessful in trying to rebound from a crushing 20-17 loss at No. 11 Notre Dame last weekend when the Fighting Irish moved 80 yards on three plays to score the winning touchdown with 27 seconds left.
Dorrell denied there was a hangover from that game.
"We weren't flat at the beginning," he said. "We played well in the beginning. We have to get back to work and deal with all the criticism and all the things that happened. We've got to play better, coach better and make the right calls. It starts with me and goes all the way down."
Cowan, making his third collegiate start, completed 17 of 37 passes for 252 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.
"It wasn't one of his better performances, that's for sure," Dorrell said. "It wasn't just him."
UCLA moved inside the WSU 20 twice in the first quarter, but had to settle for field goals of 37 and 28 yards by Justin Medlock.
The Cougars had only one first down on their first two possessions, but moved 90 and 98 yards on their next two to take a 14-6 lead, with Brink throwing touchdown passes of 6 yards to Gibson and 17 yards to Hill.
The Bruins responded, getting a 38-yard field goal from Medlock and a 36-yard scoring pass from Cowan to Taylor. A 2-point conversion attempt following the touchdown failed.
WSU's Loren Langley missed a 37-yard field goal in the opening 5 minutes, and a 43-yarder with 8 seconds left before halftime. The Cougars didn't do much wrong otherwise.
"It was a great effort all-around," WSU coach Bill Doba said, adding he was surprised concerning the final margin. The 22-point margin was UCLA's most lopsided loss to Washington State since 1936, when the Cougars beat the Bruins 32-7.