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EL PASO, TEXAS (hurricanesports and AP) — Luke Falk threw two touchdown passes to lead Washington State to a 20-14 victory over Miami on Saturday in the snowy Sun Bowl.
Erik Powell added field goals of 30 and 25 yards to help the Cougars (9-4) win a bowl games for the first time since the 2003 Holiday Bowl.
Washington State led 20-7 at the half and looked in total control, limiting Miami to three first downs over the second and third quarters.
The Hurricanes rallied in a blizzard in the fourth. Braxton Berrios' 60-yard end-around run set up Mark Walton' 5-yard scoring run that cut it to 20-14 with 13:10 left.
The Cougars, the top passing team in the nation during the regular season, were shut out in the second half, leaving it to their defense to wrap up the victory.
Miami had a 3-yard touchdown pass from Brad Kaaya to Stacy Coley called back on a penalty with 5:14 to play. Two players later, Washington State's Marcellus Pippins recovered Walton's fumble at 5.
After a Cougars punt, the Hurricanes were at the Washington State 28, but an end-over-end halfback pass from Joe Yearby was easily intercepted by Shalom Lunai with 2:58 to play to seal it for Washington State.
Falk, the game's MVP, was 29 of 53 for 295 yards and no interceptions. He threw touchdown passes of 31 yards to running back Jamal Morrow and 25 yards to receiver Gabe Marks.
The scoring play to Morrow, during which he turned up the right sideline and carried two defenders into the end zone, gave Washington State a 7-0 lead.
Miami tied it at 7 on a 4-yard pass from Brad Kaaya to Coley. The first quarter ended 7-7, but the Cougars ran off 13 straight points in the second.
Kaaya was 17 of 30 for 219 yards with one interception. He appeared to give the Hurricanes a 14-7 lead in the second quarter when he connected in the end zone with receiver Rashawn Scott, but the ball came out of Scott's hands and was intercepted by Peyton Pelluer.
One of the keys for the Cougars was winning the turnover battle, 3-1. Washington State fumbled in the second quarter, but the defense forced a three-and-out. On the next series, the Cougars used a 14-play drive to get Powell's first field goal and a 10-7 lead.
Washington State made it 17-7 on Falk's TD pass to Marks, and Powell made it 20-7.