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September 12, 2008

Cougs Don't Like Ike



Unpredictable Hurricane Ike forced the Washington State University football team to alter their plans and make a Friday morning trip to Texas for a Friday evening game against the Baylor Bears - and the results were predictable - as the Cougars were throttled by the Bears, 45-17, in Waco.

Freshman Bear quarterback, Robert Griffin, ran for 217 yards on only 11 carries - a 19.7 yard per carry average, which could be a school record against the Cougar defense by a back with more than 10 carries in a single game] - as he led primarily a rushing attack against WSU on the way to the lopsided victory.

The game opened on a positive note for Wazzu as running back Chris Ivory returned the opening kickoff 56 yards to help surprise starting quarterback Kevin Lopina engineer a 44-yard touchdown drive that commenced with a one-yard touchdown run from running back Chantz Staden, also making his first career start.

But the 7-0 lead - the Cougars' first lead of the year - was short-lived. On their ensuing possession, the Bears drove the length of the field and scored the equalizer on a QB sneak from Griffin. Then the parade of miscues began for the Cougars.

First, Ivory mishandled the ensuing kickoff. Then center Kenny Alfred snapped the ball to an unprepared Lopina, causing a fumble which Baylor recovered and promptly turned into a touchdown with a 28-yard pass from a scrambling Griffin to receiver Ernest Smith for a 14-7 Bear advantage.

Lopina was intercepted on the next two Cougar possessions but the Wazzu defense was able to hold Baylor at bay until senior defensive end Matt Mullennix could get a sack of Griffin on an attempted fourth down conversion. Helped by a roughing the passer penalty to keep the drive alive, Lopina scored on an eight-yard scramble to tie the game at 14.

But that was the last time the Cougars would score until the fourth quarter as Baylor steadily pulled away with four consecutive touchdowns to build a 42-14 lead before head coach Paul Wulff inserted senior quarterback Gary Rogers in the fourth quarter and he led the team to their final points of the evening - a 31-yard field goal from Nico Grasu. The Cougars' 17 total points - their largest output so far this year - were more than they scored in the first two games combined.


Wazzu returns home to Pullman to play host to Division I-AA [now FCS] Portland State next Saturday, September 20, at 4pm in Martin Stadium.




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