Nov 3, 2001
By JOHN K. WILEY
Associated Press Writer
PULLMAN, Wash. - Lamont Thompson watched Cory Paus all week on film and was attracted to the UCLA quarterback's eyes.
On Saturday, Thompson had a school-record four interceptions and Washington State kept DeShaun Foster in check as the No. 16 Cougars beat No. 9 UCLA 20-14.
"He stares down where he's going to throw," Thompson said after catching his 21st career interception. "I went where his eyes went and the ball just sort of floated in the air."
The Cougars (8-1, 5-1 Pacific-10) held Foster, the conference's leading rusher, to 102 yards on 28 carries, well below his 144-yard average. Foster scored one of the Bruins' touchdowns, but also fumbled to set up a Washington State score.
"We should have put him in at receiver," Washington State coach Mike Price said. "He intercepted four passes and knocked down a few more. He played great."
The Bruins (6-2, 3-2) saw their hopes of winning the Pac-10 Championship slip a week after losing a shot at the national championship.
"It's a really empty feeling," UCLA coach Bob Toledo said. "We feel handcuffed now. We'll go back to work and try to plug the holes, but we're losing a lot of players" to injuries.
Thompson, a senior who sat out last season with a neck injury, intercepted two of Cory Paus' passes in the last 3 minutes to end UCLA's comeback bids.
WSU held UCLA to just 85 net yards rushing and 225 yards of total offense, while the Bruins limited the Cougars to 276 yards.
Washington State's Jason Gesser was 16-of-36 for 187 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions. He also led the Cougars in rushing with 47 yards on 14 carries.
"He can play better than that," Price said of his quarterback. "He's kicking himself for some of his decisions."
Foster's fumble on the Washington State 16 was scooped up by linebacker Al Genatone, who ran it back 73 yards to give the Cougars a 17-7 lead in the third quarter.
Paus, who did not start because of an injury to his right thumb, entered the game after starter Ryan McCann threw two interceptions. Paus was 7-of-19 for 107 yards and a touchdown and was intercepted three times by Thompson.
Washington State led 10-7 at the half.
McCann completed 3 of 8 passes for 33 yards and two interceptions, both of which led to scores.
"They covered all of our linemen and played bump and run," Toledo said of the Cougars defense. "They have never shown that before and it surprised us. They dared us to throw the ball and we couldn't do it tonight."
Thompson stepped in front of McCann's pass on the Washington State 42 late in the first quarter. Six plays later, Gesser hit Mark Baldwin with a 27-yard scoring pass. Thompson got his second interception of the night in the fourth quarter, thwarting a Bruins' drive and returning the ball to the WSU 42.
Marcus Trufant, starting for the first time since breaking his right thumb Sept. 25, intercepted McCann's pass and returned it 26 yards to the WSU 47. Drew Dunning kicked a 30-yard field goal to make it 10-0 early in the second period. Dunning also connected on a 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Foster's 26-yard scoring run came after Nate Fikse punted, pinning the Cougars on their own 13 and backup quarterback Matt Kegel was sacked on the WSU 5.
After the Cougars punted, Foster accounted for 35 of his 80 first-half yards in the next two plays. Starting on the Washington State 35, Foster ran for 9 yards, then scampered for the score down the left sidelines.
Ben Emanuel stepped in front of Gesser's pass and returned it 29 yards to bring the Bruins to 17-14 late in the third period.
Trufant forced Bruins wide receiver Tab Perry to fumble on the UCLA 28 early in the third quarter, but Gesser was unable to score from the 3 and the Bruins took over on downs, escaping a Cougars scoring threat.
Perry was taken by ambulance to a hospital for a rib injury.
Washington State was without running back Dave Minnich, who had surgery on his right knee Oct. 10. Without him, the Cougars twice turned the ball over on fourth-and-1 deep inside UCLA territory.
The last UCLA win in Pullman was in the 1993 season. The teams last met to open the 1997 season in Pullman, a 37-34 WSU victory.
Dunning missed a 47 yard field goal attempt at the end of the second quarter after the Cougars had driven from their own 20 to the Bruins 30.