Mike Price tap-danced around the revenge motive all week, making it a point not to rehash last year’s upset loss to Oregon State.
But Saturday afternoon, just minutes after his Washington State Cougars had avenged that unsavory defeat with a 40-14 blistering of the Beavers, Price let nearly 12 months of festering hurt and disappointment spew forth.
“This was a great feeling after what happened last year,” Price admitted in reference to last year’s 21-3 loss in Corvallis, Ore. “It’s been a long year waiting for this to come.
“I haven’t really mentioned it before, but I was really disappointed a year ago - about as disappointed as anybody could be. So, it was nice to come out and get after them from the very start, to play well and to win like we should win.”
The Cougars wasted no time in exposing the depth of their vengeful commitment, treating a Martin Stadium homecoming crowd of 31,876 to some early razzle-dazzle.
On the game’s first play from scrimmage, senior wideout Jay Dumas stepped back from his position in the slot, took a backward pass from quarterback Chad Davis and, under heavy pressure, launched a bomb to split end Chad Carpenter
The trick play covered 69 yards and gave WSU a first down at the Beavers’ 11-yard line. Three plays later, Dumas hauled in a 6-yard scoring pass from Davis and the rout was on.
Davis went on to have his most productive day as a Cougar, completing 21 of 28 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns as WSU ran its Pacific-10 Conference record to 2-0 and its overall mark to 3-2 to set up a first-place showdown with Southern California next Saturday in Los Angeles.
In addition, WSU’s special teams set up two scores with blocked punts, senior running back Frank Madu broke a 51-yard scoring run and the Cougar defense came up huge in holding OSU’s spread option offense to just 213 total yards - most of which came in the final period quarter after Price began substituting freely.
“Washington State overpowered us and took advantage of our mistakes,” OSU coach Jerry Pettibone said after watching his Beavers fall to 0-3 in the Pac-10 and 1-5 overall. “They have as fast and quick a defense as we’re probably going to see all year.
“They basically ran the same kind of schemes that Washington did last week (in a 26-16 loss), but we were able to block Washington and move the ball. Because of Washington State’s quickness and athletic ability, we could not hold our blocks as long today. They got off blocks and chased us down.”
Junior linebacker James Darling, who led WSU with 11 tackles despite watching the last quarter and a half from the sidelines, said it felt great to put together 60 minutes of solid football.
“We had a great time out there today,” Darling said. “It was fun being out there. (Defensive coordinator Bill) Doba came up with a great plan. He’s a wishbone guru and we probably executed the game plan as well as we have all season.
“We felt real confident going into the game - coaches and players, and it showed out there.”
OSU came in as the No. 1 rushing team in the Pac-10, averaging 259 yards a game on the ground. But the Cougars held the Beavers to just two first downs, 12 rushing yards and 47 yards of total offense in the first half.
Darling said the defensive dominance helped scratch some leftover itches from last Saturday’s 35-21 loss to Nebraska, which ran for 428 yards.
“We wanted to redeem ourselves,” Darling explained. “Defense is a tradition around here and I don’t want to be part of the class that lets that go. And the 10 other people out there don’t either.”
OSU’s scoring came on a 1-yard run by backup quarterback Mark Olford late in the third quarter and an 11-yard pass from third-stringer Rahim Muhammad to tight end Joe Kuykendall with just 5:20 left in the game.
Meanwhile, WSU’s offense piled up 507 yards, including 420 through the air, against a blitzing, stunting, twisting Beaver defense that takes gambling to a new level.
“We felt like if we protected well we could hit them with some big plays and have a good day throwing the football,” said Davis, who threw touchdown passes of 6, 8 and 51 yards. “And that’s what we did.
“Last year’s game was a real tough loss for us. They came out and physically beat us last year and we didn’t want that to happen again this year. It’s a brand new year with a brand new team, but there was no doubt that (the loss) was in the back of our minds. I don’t think you can forget about something like that.”
Despite another outbreak of annoying penalties that cost them 153 yards, the Cougars cooled the Beavers early with a 27-point first-half.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos (1 Color)
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