Dunning Kicks Cougars To Win

Sept 20, 2003

Associated Press Writer

PULLMAN, Wash. - Drew Dunning's record-setting day was enough forWashington State.

Dunning kicked a school-record five field goals as the No. 24 Cougars beatNew Mexico 23-13 Saturday after struggling to find the end zone all day.

'We better get it straightened out,' Washington State coach Bill Dobasaid. 'It's great to not play well and still win. Our defense played greatagain.'

The Cougars (3-1) struggled to read the Lobos' defense and didn't score atouchdown until late in the third quarter, when quarterback Matt Kegel pushedacross from the 1.

It was the first TD in five tries inside New Mexico's 20 as the Lobos dug inon defense and Washington State was backed up by penalties.

Kegel was ineffective in the red zone, but completed 29 of 42 passes for 346yards without an interception. The Cougars got 27 first downs to New Mexico's12 and held the Lobos to just 22 yards rushing.

'Matt stepped up and threw the ball really well,' Doba said. 'He madesome really big throws.'

In the second half, it was the Lobos who had trouble with the Cougarsdefense.

'I really felt that it was going to be a nail-biter at the end,' Loboscoach Rocky Long said. 'We came out in the second (half) and couldn't do muchon offense. Washington State's defense is very good. They found a way to win.That's what good teams do.'

The Lobos (1-3) took a 13-12 halftime lead after the Cougars were forced topunt and Casey Kelly hit Dwight Counter with a 50-yard touchdown pass down theright sideline.

Drew Dunning points to the crowd after successfully kicking his fifth and longest field goal.

Kelly, who completed 16 of 32 for 214 and a touchdown, caught anothertouchdown pass for the Lobos' first score in the second quarter.

Trailing 9-0, Kelly handed off to wide receiver Terrence Thomas, who threw atouchdown pass back across the field to his wide-open quarterback. Wes Zunker'sextra point attempt was blocked.

The Cougars settled for four field goals in the first half after failing toscore three times inside the New Mexico 6. Dunning hit from 37, 36, 23, 21 and49 yards.

Cougars starting running back Jonathan Smith was sidelined with a concussionin the first quarter, but was cleared to play after the half, finishing with 30yards on 13 carries.

Lobos tailback DonTrell Moore gained only 21 yards on 11 carries.

Smith was starting in place of regular starter Jermaine Green, who missedpractices this week with an undisclosed illness, but led the Cougars with 48yards rushing as a reserve. Backup Chris Bruhn gained 43 yards on nine carries.

Washington State was hit with a dozen penalties for 118 yards, including acouple of costly unsportsmanlike conduct calls after Kelly had been sacked.

'We still have too many penalties,' Doba said. 'We had a couple ofcelebration penalties those are selfish. We can't do those things. Our guysknow better than that.'

Kegel's favorite target was Devard Darling, who caught nine passes for 117yards. Sammy Moore caught five for 98 yards and had 61 return yards, includingone for 48 yards.

Adrian Boyd caught eight passes for 100 yards to lead the Lobos.

It was the fourth time in five years New Mexico started its season with a1-3 record.

Doba said the narrow win, just a week before the Cougars meet Oregon, taughtsome lessons.

'We learned that we can come back and play well and we learned that we canfinish,' he said. 'We have too many penalties.'

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