Washington State cornerback Damante Horton turned in his first career interception at a propitious time for the Cougars on Saturday night...

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PASADENA, Calif. — Washington State cornerback Damante Horton turned in his first career interception at a propitious time for the Cougars on Saturday night against UCLA.

The Bruins had just surrendered the lead, 9-7, on a field goal by WSU’s Andrew Furney, and were mounting a drive that appeared about to end with them having a halftime lead.

But Horton, a sophomore from Oakland, Calif., did a fine job shielding the 6-foot-5 Nelson Rosario from the ball deep in the end zone, and Horton came away with the ball.

The lead wouldn’t last past much halftime, however, as the Bruins mounted a drive immediately after the break, answered by the Cougars on their next possession.

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• When the Cougars drove for a field goal with 9:09 left in the first quarter, it meant they had scored on their first possession for the fourth time in five games. Last week at Colorado was the exception.

• The game was a bit of a showcase for former UCLA assistant coach Todd Howard, fired by Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel last year and hired by WSU’s Paul Wulff. After the Cougars allowed UCLA 437 yards on the ground here a year ago, Howard’s defensive-line unit was a key for WSU coming into this game.

• For the second consecutive week, a WSU game featured a coach heading up his alma mater on both sides. This time, while Wulff was on the sideline for WSU, it was Neuheisel at UCLA. Last week, the Cougars faced Colorado with graduate Jon Embree leading the Buffs in his first year as head coach. With David Shaw at Stanford, the Pac-12 has more coaches heading their alma maters (four) than any other conference. Nationally, there are 18 such coaches at the FBS level.

• The Rose Bowl is undergoing a $152 million renovation scheduled to be completed before the 2013 season.

Among the improvements to be made are bigger concourses, more restrooms, a new press box and a 30-by-78-foot LED video board at the north end of the facility.

There will also be hedges planted around the playing field.

• Chatting on the field during the pregame were two figures familiar to Washington football fans — UCLA assistant coach Tim Hundley and WSU aide Chris Tormey. Hundley was with Neuheisel as defensive coordinator at Washington, and Tormey coached under Don James, Jim Lambright and Tyrone Willingham at the UW. Also on the field was the standout former UW quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, an intern in the UCLA football office.

Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or bwithers@seattletimes.com

WSU schedule

Sept. 3 Idaho St. W, 64-21
Sept. 10 UNLV W, 59-7
Sept. 17 @SDSU L, 42-24
Oct. 1 @Colorado W, 31-27
Oct. 8 @UCLA Late
Oct. 15 Stanford TBD
Oct. 22 Oregon St. TBD
Oct. 29 @Oregon TBD
Nov. 5 @Cal TBD
Nov. 12 ASU TBD
Nov. 19 Utah TBD
Nov. 26 @UW TBD
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