No. 20 Washington State rallies past Boise State
Jamal Morrow put on a move, ran full speed and leaped into the end zone to cap off an impressive comeback.
No. 20 Washington State erased a 21-point deficit with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter and used three overtimes to beat Boise State 47-44 on Saturday night at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash.
The Cougars move to 2-0 for the first time under Mike Leach and the first time since 2011.
On a night that started with Luke Falk becoming Washington State’s career passing leader, it ended with Tyler Hilinksi presumably presenting Cougars’ fans with a glimpse of the future.
The sophomore quarterback took over in the fourth quarter and tossed 240 yards and three touchdowns to lead the improbable comeback — one that was highly unlikely.
“You don’t stop until the clock says zero,” Washington State coach Mike Leach said afterward.
Hoggarth converted a 36-yard field goal in the third overtime period to put Boise State up 44-41.
Gerard Wicks slid into the end zone from 1 yard out to put the Cougars ahead 41-34 in the second overtime before graduate transfer Montell Cozart connected with Cedric Wilson for the second time, this time a 15-yard strike to send things to a third overtime at 41-41.
Washington State’s Erik Powell and Boise State’s Haden Hoggarth traded short field goals in the first overtime.
Morrow backed into the end zone on a soft toss from Hilinski with 1:51 left in regulation to tie it.
With the help of a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown from Peyton Peuller which cut the deficit to 31-24 with 5:51 left, Hilinski tossed two fourth-quarter touchdowns to bring the Cougars surging back.
One minute earlier, the ball ricocheted off Reid Harrison-Ducros and into the arms of Washington State’s Dillon Sherman with 2:51 left, setting the Cougars up inside the Boise State 30.
The game seemed over when Falk left the game early in the fourth quarter, putting the ball on the ground which got scooped up by Curtis Weaver for a 55-yard touchdown return to put Boise State on top 31-10.
“If we didn’t hurt ourselves, then we would have won that game,” Boise State junior linebacker Leighton Vander Esch said.
Boise State’s Brett Rypien watched the second half in street clothes in his homecoming to Eastern Washington after leaving the game with what looked like a shoulder injury or a concussion late in the first quarter.
Cozart was already in the mix to add a mobile threat under center to Boise State’s offense. He took hold of the offense with 161 yards passing and 72 rushing yards, three touchdowns overall to go with his shovel-pass interception.
Cozart put Boise State on top 17-10 with 4:10 remaining in the third quarter, lowering his shoulder at the goal line during a 14-yard touchdown run. Cozart’s first play of the fourth quarter was a 47-yard touchdown throw to Wilson, making it 24-10.
Hilinksi’s first cameo on the field came in a benching of Falk in the second half, with the senior quarterback watching from the sideline. Hilinksi completed his first three passes.
“I mean shoot, I was just playing football out there surrounded by a great group of guys,” Hilinski said. “They told me they had faith in me and I was just ready to do my job.”
Rypien’s homecoming was off to a good start, completing his first seven passes and leading a 75-yard touchdown drive to start the game. Alexander Mattison capped the drive with a four-yard touchdown run.
Frankie Luvu and Hercules Mata’afa combined on a strip sack of Rypien, Rob Taylor scooped it up and scored from seven yards out to tie it for Washington State.
That play was many that Broncos coach Bryan Harsin wished his team could have back.
“We got into the fifth quarter, you’re into overtime, you work on that but you don’t work on three overtimes,” Harsin said. “You prepare them for an overtime and they came out and they fought, but we came up short.”
NOTES: Both teams spent a majority of the week indoors, as wildfires across the western United States sent air quality levels in Boise and Pullman to unhealthy levels. Smokes cleared as kickoff approached. ... Luke Falk became the all-time leading passer in Washington State history with his 59-yard toss to WR Renard Ball, passing Connor Halliday’s record of 11,304 from 2011-14. Falk has 11,397 yards. ... Kickers were perfect on the Palouse as Washington’s Erik Powell made both field goal attempts with five extra points, Haden Hoggarth converted three field goal attempts and five point-after attempts on the other side. ... This was Boise State’s first loss to a Pac-12 school since falling 38-23 to Oregon State in the 2013 Hawaii Bowl, right after Chris Petersen left to accept the job at Washington. Boise State won the next four in a row over Pac-12 schools. ... Washington State is 3-0 in overtime games under Mike Leach.