Brink leads Washington State to upset of OregonOct 22, 2006 - 12:41 AM PULLMAN, Washington (Ticker) -- Alex Brink helped Washington State rediscover its offense.
Brink threw for 179 yards and two touchdowns and Tyron Brackenridge returned an interception for a score as Washington State surprised No. 16 Oregon, 34-23, in a Pac-10 Conference contest.
Jed Collins caught a touchdown pass and ran for a score for the Cougars (5-3, 3-2 Pac-10), who never trailed and finally beat a ranked team. Their three losses had come to Auburn, Southern California and California, all ranked in the top 11.
"A great win for our kids," Washington State coach Bill Doba said. "We've been so close against SC. We played great defense against Cal. Finally we put the two together."
In its last two games, WSU edged Oregon State, 13-6, and lost to Cal, 21-3. It marked the first time in 13 years that the Cougars had been held to one touchdown in a two-game span, but Brink shook them out of their offensive doldrums following a slow start.
The junior signal-caller completed 20-of-23 passes, setting a school completion percentage record. He had TD tosses of eight yards to Jed Collins and 16 yards to Hill in the second quarter, giving WSU a 13-3 halftime lead.
"He is steady Eddie," Doba said. "He knows the offense and has done a nice job."
Collins capped WSU's opening drive of the second half with a one-yard TD run that made it 20-3. On the next play from scrimmage, Brackenridge, a senior cornerback, stepped in front of a pass to the left flat thrown by Dennis Dixon and went 24 yards for the score.
That was the last pass thrown by Dixon, who was 12-of-20 for 105 yards and a pair of interceptions. He was replaced by Brady Leaf, who was 16-of-27 for 262 yards - all career highs - and two scores to Jordan Kent as he led a half-hearted comeback by the Ducks (5-2, 3-2).
"We made a decision to change it up and go with Brady," Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said. "(Dixon) wasn't injured at all. I don't think he played well."
Dwight Tardy ran for 145 yards and a TD on 20 carries for the Cougars, who had lost four of their last five home meetings with the Ducks.
"(Doba said) just to calm down, execute," receiver Michael Bumpus said. "Over the weeks we have kind of pressed. Tonight we didn't do that at all. We had fun."
Washington State beat a ranked team at home for the first time since a 21-18 win over California on October 19, 1996.
Jaison Williams caught nine passes for 163 yards for Oregon, which scored 20 points in the final period but still was held to its lowest total of the season.
"We're disappointed but we have to keep an optimistic point of view. It's a long season," Leaf said. "We can still finish the season with 10 wins, so that's what we're looking toward right now."
Brink's first TD pass came with 11:13 remaining in the second quarter. After Oregon responded with a 15-play drive that led to a 35-yard field goal by Paul Martinez, Brink engineered a 10-play, 76-yard march capped by his TD toss to Hill.
The Ducks made it interesting in the fourth quarter as lineman Darius Sanders returned a fumble by Brink six yards for a score and Leaf found Kent with a four-yard scoring pass, making it 27-16 with 7:37 to go.
However, Tardy's TD capped a 68-yard drive that sealed matters.
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