Sep. 24—PULLMAN — For the second time in three weeks, No. 21 Washington State's football game ended with a colossal party in the middle of its home field.
Fans rushed the field, WSU coach Jake Dickert belted the Cougar fight song in a sea of crimson, flags waved high and Wazzu celebrated another massive top-25 victory.
Washington State 38, No. 14 Oregon State 35.
"I don't know if as a young coach I enjoyed it enough. I'm still a young coach, but at the end of the day you have to enjoy these moments because you work so dang hard for them," Dickert said. "I'm just so proud of our players. It's a player's game — they went out and did it."
A fake punt, multiple-one handed grabs, a quarterback that passed for more than 400 yards, stopping an onside kick to preserve the victory — Saturday's game between WSU (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) and OSU (3-1, 0-1) at Gesa Field was full of crazy moments and suspense until the end.
Circus catches galore
On just the second play of the game, WSU quarterback Cam Ward dropped back and sailed the ball into the waiting arms of wide receiver Kyle Williams, who streaked past three Oregon State defenders for a 63-yard touchdown.
On the next drive, with an OSU defender practically glued to his body, WSU wideout Josh Kelly reached around and snagged a diving one-handed catch for 29 yards.
Those two plays were a sign of things to come for the trio.
Ward finished 28-of-34 passing for 404 yards and four touchdowns, and Williams and Kelly combined for 15 catches, 333 receiving yards and all four receiving scores.
"I thought Cam was phenomenal, I thought offensively we kept the gas down the whole game and I think Cam deserves to be mentioned with the best quarterbacks in the country — period," Dickert said. "I think he continues to show that and I think nationally we undervalue him and what he's doing."
Kelly later had a 44-yard TD catch in which he broke free from about five different Beaver defenders on the first play of the second quarter. WSU led 21-7 after the extra point.
And Kelly made another one-handed touchdown grab late in the third quarter for a 35-14 advantage.
It was a career night for the junior Fresno State transfer, whose 159 receiving yards were only bettered by Williams' 174.
"Josh (had), what, three SportsCenter Top 10 catches?" Dickert said. "Just incredible what they went out there and did."
Cougs use bag of tricks
Leading by just two touchdowns and facing a fourth-and-10 on their own 29-yard line, WSU decided to go into its bag of trick plays.
Punter Nick Haberer faked like he was going to punt then tossed a pass to tight end Billy Riviere for an 18-yard gain and a first down.
WSU used another trick play later on that same drive when Ward passed the ball to fellow quarterback John Mateer for 9 yards and a first down.
A drive with a punter passing the ball and a quarterback catching a pass was capped with Kelly's second one-handed touchdown catch down the left side for that 35-14 Cougar lead.
Talk about a drive of the game.
"I didn't even really see the play," Kelly said of the fake punt that started the craziness. "Me and my receiver coach, we were all sitting down just talking then all I hear is a big roar.
"I was like 'Damn we actually did it,' cause we'd been practicing it all week. To see it actually work it was great for the team."
OSU makes it interesting
The Beavers weren't about to go down without a fight.
In a game it trailed since the second play, OSU found itself down 38-21 with five minutes left after a 44-yard field goal by WSU kicker Dean Janikowski made it a three-score game.
But OSU used two long drives to get back within three.
A 75-yard drive ended with running back Deshaun Fenwick's third touchdown of the day, then OSU got the ball back and went 98 yards, that one ending with a 5-yard catch by tight end Jack Velling on a fourth-and-5 play.
OSU was forced to try an onside kick with 1:12 remaining, but WSU tight end Cooper Mathers came up from the bottom of the scrum with the football and the Cougars kneeled out the remaining clock.
For OSU, Fenwick had 101 rushing yards and quarterback DJ Uiagelelei passed for 198 and rushed for 61, but it took too long for the Beaver offense to get going.
"I just know we beat a really good Oregon State team, and it wasn't pretty — it was tough, it was gutsy, it was gritty," Dickert said. "... Our guys went out there and executed and made just enough (plays), one more play than them to win the game."
Lincoln Victor, WSU's leading receiver going into the game, went down with a left leg injury when he appeared to be stepped on while holding for an extra-point attempt late in the first quarter.
Dickert said X-rays were negative, so it's thought to be a high-ankle sprain.
Defensive tackle Nusi Malani — who had a sack, tackle for loss, pass breakup, five total tackles and a big QB hit — was banged up midway through the fourth quarter and helped off the field.
The No. 21 Cougars have a bye week this week. Next up, they will hit the road for the first time in over a month to face No. 22 UCLA (3-1, 0-1) on Oct. 7 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Kickoff time and television information will be announced at a later date.
WSU_Ky.Williams 63 pass from Ward (D.Janikowski kick), 14:10.
WSU_Ward 1 run (D.Janikowski kick), 7:57.
ORST_Fenwick 38 run (Sappington kick), 3:48.
WSU_Kelly 44 pass from Ward (D.Janikowski kick), 14:49.
ORST_Fenwick 9 run (Sappington kick), 5:35.
WSU_Kelly 11 pass from Ward (D.Janikowski kick), :10.
WSU_Kelly 19 pass from Ward (D.Janikowski kick), 5:15.
ORST_Uiagalelei 26 run (Sappington kick), 14:14.
WSU_FG D.Janikowski 44, 9:12.
ORST_Fenwick 4 run (Sappington kick), 6:18.
ORST_Velling 5 pass from Uiagalelei (Sappington kick), 1:12.
RUSHING_Oregon St., Fenwick 11-101, Martinez 17-81, Uiagalelei 9-61, Newell 1-1, (Team) 1-(minus 2). Washington St., Watson 8-46, Jenkins 5-28, Mateer 3-15, Ward 9-14, D.Paine 3-6, (Team) 2-(minus 3).
PASSING_Oregon St., Uiagalelei 17-34-1-198. Washington St., Ward 28-34-0-404, Haberer 1-1-0-18.
RECEIVING_Oregon St., Bolden 5-76, Gould 4-61, Martinez 2-19, Velling 2-16, Fenwick 2-7, Sharp 1-15, Hodgins 1-4. Washington St., Kelly 8-159, Ky.Williams 7-174, Hernandez 7-39, Hamilton 3-16, Riviere 1-18, Mateer 1-9, Jenkins 1-7, Mathers 1-0.
MISSED FIELD GOALS_Washington St., D.Janikowski 51.
Wiebe may be contacted at (208) 848-2277, email@example.com or on Twitter @StephanSports.