7th-ranked Wisconsin handles Cougs on opening day 42-21 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

7th-ranked Wisconsin handles Cougs on opening day 42-21

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    Cougars prepare for Wisconsin

    Saturday, September 1 2007 2:02 PM EDT2007-09-01 18:02:53 GMT
    PULLMAN, Wash. - No disrespect to the Wisconsin Badgers, but Washington State football coach Bill Doba says he's happy Saturday's season opener isn't at Auburn again. >>
    PULLMAN, Wash. - No disrespect to the Wisconsin Badgers, but Washington State football coach Bill Doba says he's happy Saturday's season opener isn't at Auburn again. >>

MADISON, Wis. - New starting quarterback Tyler Donovan threw for three touchdowns and ran for another to help seventh-ranked Wisconsin beat Washington State 42-21.

Wisconsin trailed 14-7 late in the first quarter but scored 21 unanswered points before halftime as Donovan got hot. By then the Badgers defense began to contain Cougars quarterback Alex Brink.

Donovan completed 19-of-29 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns before sitting out midway through the fourth quarter.

Both WSU and 7th-ranked Wisconsin featured fifth-year senior quarterbacks when they met Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium. But the Cougars' Alex Brink and the Badgers' Tyler Donovan couldn't have been farther apart in terms of experience.

Brink had started 28 straight games and was on pace to shatter nearly all of Washington State's QB records set by such notables as Drew Bledsoe and Ryan Leaf.

Donovan had only started twice, when three-year starter John Stocco was injured last season, leading Wisconsin to victories. But the Badgers' most experienced signal caller? He was on the bench.

Backup Allan Evridge, who transferred from Kansas State and narrowly lost out on the position battle in camp, started six games for the Wildcats in 2005 where he set freshman records for yards passing and touchdowns.

Brink matched Donovan's career number of TD passes in the Cougars final two victories last season over then-No. 16 Oregon and Arizona by throwing for 584 yards and five touchdowns.

But, Brink had been inconsistent as a starter, going 12-16, and the Cougars haven't been to a bowl since 2003. They were 6-3 last season before losing their final three games.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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