Chuck Nelson, who had kicked an NCAA-record 30 straight field goals, finally missed yesterday and it helped cost Washington a trip to the Rose Bowl. Nelson missed from 32 yards in the closing minutes and Washington State won, 24-20, in Pullman, Ore.
Washington was favored by 18 points.
Had Nelson made the kick, Washington would have led, 23-21. But the ball drifted wide to the right.
"We didn't lose the game because of Chuck Nelson's missed field goal," Coach Don James said. "We had plenty of other opportunities."
The Huskies had two more chances. They got the ball back with two minutes left but Keith Millard sacked quarterback Tim Cowan, causing him to fumble. Gerald Waters of Washington State recovered and John Traut kicked a 38-yard field goal with a minute left to put the game out of Nelson's range.
Then the Huskies got the ball back on their 25 with 51 seconds left, but linebacker Mark Pleis intercepted Cowan and the Cougars ran out the clock.
If the Huskies (9-2 overall and 6-2 in the Pac-10) had won, they would have played Michigan in the Rose Bowl. The Cougars are 3-7-1 overall and 2-4-1 in the conference.