For all the plays Michael Bumpus made last year, something was always a little strange for the wide receiver and punt returner. Despite leading the team...

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PULLMAN — For all the plays Michael Bumpus made last year, something was always a little strange for the wide receiver and punt returner.

Despite leading the team with 60 receptions, and also had 558 yards in 2006, only one was for a score.

Bumpus finally got hot in the red zone Saturday night as he hauled in eight receptions for 118 yards and two scores.

“You know it is weird how that stuff works out down there sometimes,” said quarterbacks coach Timm Rosenbach, who also serves as the offensive play-caller. “It’s not like he’s not in the plan when we get in the red zone — the ball just kept going to someone else. It was nice to get him productive.”

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“This feels really good,” Bumpus said. “I’m not used to getting into the end zone.”

Bumpus’ first score came early on in the second quarter when quarterback Alex Brink threw a 4-yard bullet to Bumpus knees in tight coverage. That play tied the score at 14.

Two possessions later, Brink found Bumpus again. The senior receiver had beaten double coverage in the corner of the end zone with 4:03 remaining in the half for a 15-yard score.

“I would certainly like to see him get in the end zone more often,” Brink said. “But when I play I’m not looking to get certain guys the ball. Usually the defense dictates where we go. That’s why we’re so successful, because we spread the ball around so well.”

Bumpus agreed. “That’s just how it is,” he said, noting how talented the receivers around him have always been at WSU. “I know my role on the team. Thankfully, tonight I was my night to get in the zone.

“I just do what the Cougs ask me to do. I’m not really too concerned about stats.”

Speedy returns

The speed of national high-school hurdles record-holder Jeshua Anderson was on display Saturday night.

Anderson, a freshman from Mission Hills, Calif., fielded the kickoff to open the second half at the 6-yard line and took it 39 yards to the WSU 45.

Maybe that won’t get him on SportsCenter, but it does tie the longest kickoff return for the Cougars since Sammy Moore returned a kick 50 yards against Oregon State in 2003.

Lorenzo Bursey also had a 39-yard return against Arizona State in 2005.

WSU-Idaho? Stay tuned

And the next Washington State-Idaho game will be in the year … 2009? 2010? 2011?

One of those years. Stay tuned.

Jim Sterk, Washington State’s athletic director, said he and coach Idaho coach Robb Akey agree on how often they want to play their neighbors eight miles across the Idaho border.

“If we can do it once every 3-4 years, that’s about what we want,” Sterk said Saturday as the teams warmed up for what was the final game of a 10 games in 10 seasons.

“Nothing is firm yet,” Sterk said.

Akey is the Idaho head coach and former WSU defensive coordinator.

Reasons for both schools wanting to stop playing annually range from perceived staleness in the series to potential off-field confrontations between opposing players at Palouse nightclubs or elsewhere.

Saturday night’s game was the 90th in the WSU-dominated series between the schools.

Washington State had won the past six games and entered the game leading the series 69-17-3.


• Many Cougars fans were surprised and upset by the decision of First and Goal, the company that runs Qwest Field, to ban tailgating from the north parking lot at the stadium last Saturday for the WSU-San Diego State game. WSU officials fielded complaints when they returned to Pullman.

Sterk said the ban was “a shock” for WSU fans and administrators and they plan to talk to First and Goal about it.

Brink recorded back-to-back 300-yard games for the first time of his career after passing for 301 against Idaho. He passed for 469 last week against San Diego State. He has six 300-yard games in his career.

• New WSU President Elson Floyd, who saw his first game in Martin Stadium last night, walked from his President’s Mansion on campus and circled the stadium to shake hands with fans and students. He said he plans to make this a new pregame tradition.

• Senator Maria Cantwell was in attendance. She had dinner at the President’s Mansion before the game.

• Backup kicker Wade Penner took over kickoff duties in the second quarter. Starter Romeen Abdollmohammadi’s two first-quarter kickoffs went to the 6 and 15 yards.

Seattle Times staff reporter Craig Smith contributed to this notebook.

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