Cougars' upset bid falls short at Stanford

JEFF TUEL

WASHINGTON STATE MOVED the ball during the first half. But a pair of negative plays – one on both sides of the ball – proved to be too much to overcome as the Cougars remained winless in the Pac-12 after a 24-17 loss Saturday at Stanford.

Despite no semblance of a running game, WSU's offense might have been as impressive any time this season during the first half as senior quarterback Jeff Tuel completed 27 of 33 passes for 253 yards during the first half. The Cougars (2-6 overall, 0-5 conference) even took a brief second-quarter lead, 7-3, when Tuel found redshirt freshman wide receiver Dominique Williams for a 3-yard touchdown.

But Stanford (6-2, 4-1) responded almost immediately when quarterback Josh Nunes found Jamal-Rashad Patterson for a 70-yard touchdown.

WSU tied the game, 10-all, at the intermission on a 24-yard field goal by junior Andrew Furney.

The Cardinal responded with a 13-play drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run by Ryan Hewitt on The Opening drive of the second half.

Despite that, the Cougars remained within range to pull the upset against No. 19 Stanford until Tuel was intercepted by safety Ed Reynolds, who returned the play 25 yards for a touchdown to give the Cardinal a 24-10 lead with 10:43 left.

And the Cougs still weren't out of chances.

WSU added a touchdown when Tuel capped a 12-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown to sophomore Kristoff Williams with 6:29 left.

The Cougars' defense gave the offense one final opportunity when they forced a Stanford punt with 3:37 left. It appeared WSU might take advantage of that when Tuel found wide receiver Bobby Ratliff to convert a fourth-and-21 to the Cardinal 9-yard line. But an intentional grounding call against Tuel and a sack ended any upset hopes as time ran out.

Play of the game: Reynolds' interception return gave the Cardinal a two-touchdown lead.

Key moment:WSU had a 10-7 lead – and momentum – before the Cougars surrendered a 70-yard touchdown pass during the second quarter on a blown coverage.

Key stat:The Cougars showed they could move the ball during the first half as Tuel had 253 passing yards.

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