Kick the second longest in WSU history
PULLMAN — When Andrew Furney, Washington State’s junior kicker from Burlington-Edison High, launched a 61-yard field goal in pregame warm-ups here Saturday, it was met with predictable reserve from his special-teams coach, Eric Russell.
Russell later asked Furney what he thought his range was for the Cougars’ home opener against Eastern Washington, and Furney replied, “You know I hit a 60.”
“Take 7 or 8 yards off it?” Russell said, accounting for live game conditions.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Furney said.
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But Furney turned out to be the embodiment of performing as you practice. With the Cougars at the Eastern 43-yard line and only two seconds left in the half, they called on him, and he nailed a 60-yarder, the second-longest field goal in WSU history, sending him on a wild, celebratory sprint down the field to the locker room.
“Gilby (David Gilbertson) got a great hold down,” said Furney. “It felt perfect. I knew it was dead-center and had a chance. I said, ‘Oh my God, this might actually go in. I heard the crowd and just started running. It was instinct. I didn’t know what to do.”
Furney also threw a bouquet at his line, saying he had asked it for a push because such a line-drive kick could be a bit low.
“They did a great job,” he said. “They’re in the record books, as far as I’m concerned.”
WSU opened its new $65 million edifice, which houses luxury suites, loge boxes and a new press box, to what seemed rave reviews.
“It definitely seems louder,” said quarterback Jeff Tuel. “I think (the noise) does bounce off it a little bit. I even had one of the refs come up to me and say, ‘Oh, man, that looks pretty cool.’ “
• The Cougars announced a sellout of 33,598 — the stadium is downsized slightly with the new south-side edifice — and astonishingly, it’s the first for a home opener since 1952.
• WSU wideout Marquess Wilson has had an understated start to the season, with eight catches for 108 yards and no touchdowns in two games. Saturday, he had four for 47, but had a would-be score of 42 yards called back and was interfered with in the end zone.
• Tuel on statistics: “We’re not concerned with numbers, we’re concerned with letters, if you will — wins and losses.”
• WSU coach Mike Leach lamented holding calls that nullified two late touchdowns on WSU’s final series, saying, “Our offensive line’s gotta be tougher people. They’re a little too quick to feel sorry for themselves.” Of the tendency to let fatigue cause breakdowns in technique, he said, “That’ll be addressed tomorrow, and it’ll be an experience they won’t forget. They’ll be talking about it when they’re my age.”
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org