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October 27, 2012

Cougars upset bid falls short, Stanford wins 24-17

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Despite a career day for Jeff Tuel, who threw for 401 yards and two touchdowns, Washington State (2-6, 0-5) saw a spirited comeback effort fall short as Tuel was sacked on the games final play in a 24-17 loss to No. 19 Stanford (6-2, 4-1) in Palo Alto.

The Stanford offense was unable to gain any consistency throughout the game and time after time the Cougars defense came up with big stops to give the offense a chance.

Trailing by just a touchdown at 17-10, Tuel was intercepted by Ed Reynolds who returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to give the Cardinal a 24-10 lead with 10:43 left in the 4th quarter.

On the ensuing possession, the Cougars marched 75 yards on 12-plays, capped by a 10 yard touchdown pass from Tuel to Kristoff Williams in the middle of the endzone, cutting the lead to 24-17 with 6:29 remaining.

After forcing a punt, the Cougars retained possession at their own 20-yard line. A 42-yard strike to Marquess Wilson down to the Stanford 23 gave the Cougars life, but a 15-yard chop block penalty on the next play pushed them back to the 38-yard line.

Facing a 4th-and-21 and the game on the line, Tuel threw a dart down the seam to Bobby Ratliff who hauled it in for a 25-yard gain and gave the Cougars the ball at the Stanford 9 with 30 seconds left.

Dropping back on the next play, Tuel was pressured and sacked by Usua Amanam for a loss of nine. Intentional grounding was called on the play as Tuel was trying to get rid of the football, resulting in a loss of down and a devastating 10-second run off.

With 15 seconds to play, Henry Anderson broke through the offensive line to sack Tuel - Stanford's 10th sack of the game - and the game clock expired to give the Cardinal the victory.

Stanford led off the scoring by driving down to the Cougars 35-yard line on their first drive and eventually settled for a 42-yard field goal by Jordan Williamson at the 8:23 mark of the 1st quarter.

The Cougars were able to move the ball for the majority of the game as Tuel, who completed 43-of-60 passes, continually found his receivers underneath for medium gains.

Washington State's first scoring drive was highlighted by a 43-yard strike to Dominique Williams down to the Stanford 6. Williams finished off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown catch to give the Cougars their only lead of the game at 7-3.

However, that lead didn't last long as the Cardinal would strike back on their next possession. Josh Nunes, who was 7-of-16 for 136 yards and a touchdown, found a wide-open Jamal-Rashad Patterson down the sideline for a 70-yard touchdown to take a 10-7 lead.

Tyree Toomer and Anthony Carpenter had a costly miscommunication that left Patterson with nothing but the endzone in front of him.

With under two minutes to go in the half, the Cougars drove deep into Cardinal territory but would have to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Andrew Furney as time expired to knot things up at 10-10.

Washington State has struggled in the second half this season and the trend continued against Stanford. The Cardinal, benefitting from a phantom pass-interference call on Carpenter, scored on their opening drive of the third quarter. Ryan Hewitt plunged into the pay dirt for one-yard touchdown run to give them a 17-10 lead.

Despite a near heroic comeback bid, the Cougars couldn't capitalize on numerous opportunities and were crippled by several costly penalties.

The types of things you can't do on the road if you want to upset a ranked football team.

Game Notes:

  • The Cougars outgained the Cardinal 385 yards to 256 yards. Stepfan Taylor was a non-factor -- only able to muster 58 yards on 21 carries (2.8-yard average).
  • Gabe Marks, who caught seven passes for 52 yards in the first half, was seen on the sideline with his arm in a sling after halftime.
  • WSU carried the ball 23 times for -16 yards. Not a single Cougars rusher had positive rushing yards.
  • The Cougars held a decided advantage in time-of-possession -- 33:36 to 26:24.
  • Penalties became an issue for WSU once again. They had just five penalties for 40 yards but those yards came at extremely costly times.
  • Marquess Wilson, who had nine receptions for 100 yards, tallied his third 100-yard receiving game of the year. He also had 99 yards against Colorado in week four.
  • Washington State has now lost five games in a row and 47 of their last 58 games overall. They are winless in Pac-12 play.

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