PULLMAN, Wash. – Carl Bonnell threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns and Louis Rankin scored on a 77-yard run early in the fourth quarter to lead the Huskies to a 35-32 victory over Washington State in the Apple Cup on Saturday night.
A week after a 20-3 loss to previously winless Stanford, the Huskies scored their most points since a season-opening win over San Jose State.
The win ended a six-game losing streak for the Huskies (5-7, 3-6 Pac-10), and also ruined the bowl hopes of Washington State (6-6, 4-5).
The Cougars finished the regular season with three consecutive losses after being ranked No. 25.
Bonnell was a former Washington State signee. Alex Brink, who took Bonnell's scholarship in 2003 when Bonnell decided to go to Washington instead, was 32-for-54 for 328 yards and two touchdowns.
Brink drove his team near midfield in the final two minutes. But an intentional grounding penalty ruined the drive, which ended when Jordan Reffett sacked Brink on fourth-and-16 with 59 seconds left.
A wild Washington celebration ensued, with players releasing two months' worth of frustration amid fans who stormed the field.
Four of Washington's scoring drives were four plays or less. The fifth touchdown came when backup linebacker Chris Stevens blocked a punt by Darryl Blunt and fell on the ball in the end zone for a 28-17 lead near the end of the third quarter.
Washington State answered with another long drive and a 15-yard touchdown pass from Brink to Cody Boyd. A disputed, 2-point conversion pass to Brandon Gibson made it 28-25 Washington with 11:17 left.
But on the next scrimmage play, Rankin — who finished with 118 yards rushing — bumped a running play around right end and zipped free for his 77-yard score to put the Huskies ahead 35-25.
An interception of Bonnell by Husain Abdullah at the WSU 44 with eight minutes to go kept Washington from a clinching score. Gibson then made a diving catch in the end zone of a 33-yard pass from Brink — with Mesphin Forrester on his back — to close Washington's lead to 35-32 with six minutes remaining.
Washington took a 21-14 lead early in the third quarter on Marcel Reece's 69-yard catch and run for a touchdown. The game was scoreless for a quarter and a half. But the Cougars then went 95 yards in 16 plays, the last Dwight Tardy's 14-yard touchdown run. The teams then scored 21 points in 41/2 minutes to create a 14-14 tie at halftime.
Washington tied game at 7-all when Cody Ellis snagged Bonnell's poorly thrown pass behind him with one hand, juggled it between his legs while on the run and then clutched it before running untouched for a 64-yard touchdown.
On Washington's next drive, Bonnell tried to force a deep pass to a well-covered Ellis. Eric Frampton easily intercepted and ran behind blockers for a 43-yard touchdown return. The Cougars led 14-7.
But Marlon Wood's 87-yard return of the ensuing kickoff set up Rankin's 8-yard touchdown run two plays later.