PASADENA, California (Ticker) -- Rose Bowl officials were not pleased that they did not have a matchup of teams from the Pac-10 and Big Ten Conferences. They likely were not too happy the game they did get was not very competitive.
Playing in the Rose Bowl for the first time, eighth-ranked Oklahoma used a stifling defense and a late second-quarter burst en route to an easy 34-14 defeat of No. 7 Washington State in the 89th version of the oldest bowl game.
"My compliments to the Rose Bowl Committee, all the event people and everything they've done for us," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. "It could not have been better, not have been more classy, it's been fabulous. But we knew the best part was playing the this game. What people will remember - 50 or 75 years from now - is how we played in our first opportunity in this bowl game."
"It might start a trend here," said defensive end Andre Woolfolk, who had an interception and partially blocked a field goal. "We brought our brand of football up here and maybe they'll like it now."
The Sooners (12-2) led just 3-0 when Woolfolk deflected Drew Dunning's 51-yard field goal with 3:40 left in the first half. Five plays later, Nate Hybl lobbed a 12-yard pass to Antwone Savage in the left side of the end zone to give Oklahoma a 10-0 advantage with 1:47 remaining.
"It just kept the momentum with us," Woolfolk said of his deflection. "They were developing a little drive and it was right before the half."
After the Sooners forced a three-and-out, Antonio Perkins returned Kyle Basler's punt 51 yards for another score to give Oklahoma a 17-0 halftime edge. It was Perkins' third punt return for a touchdown this season.
Washington State (10-3), which fell to 1-3 all time in the Rose Bowl, could not get much going in the second half either, while Oklahoma added a 30-yard field goal by Trey DiCarlo with 8:06 left in the third quarter and a nine-yard pass from Hbyl to Curtis Fagan with 8:02 to play in the fourth.
The Cougars finally got on the board with 6:08 to play, when Jason Gesser tossed a 37-yard pass across the middle to Jerome Riley that extended his streak of games with a touchdown pass to 25.
It was the first touchdown the Sooners had allowed in the postseason since losing 27-25 to Mississippi in the Independence Bowl three seasons ago. Oklahoma beat Florida State, 13-2, in the Orange Bowl to win the national championship following the 2000 season and defeated Arkansas, 10-3, in the Cotton Bowl last year.
"Our defense played another one of those games," Stoops said. "I'm disappointed that we didn't shut them out. It would have been three straight bowl games without letting the opponent score."
But Oklahoma defensive end Jonathan Jackson sacked Gesser on the Cougars' next possession, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Jimmy Wilkerson at the Washington State 24. Three plays later, Quentin Griffin ran it in from 20 yards out to cap a 30-carry, 144-yard day.
Sammy Moore returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards to cap the scoring.
Hybl, who was named the game's Most Valuable Player, completed 19-of-29 passes for 240 yards, while Griffin, who gained at least 100 yards for the 10th straight game, came up just 12 yards short of Billy Sims' single-season school record of 1,896 yards.
"It's a load off my shoulders - I've been doing it for my teammates for a while," Hybl said. "To win two championships (the Big 12 Conference and the Rose Bowl) this year is something special."
"He's a great leader, an excellent quarterback," Stoops said. "Any head coach would take that with a 12-2 record. I'm proud of him most of all because of his character and personality. He's been solid for us all year and we've been fortunate to have him. He'll go out as a champion."
With the victory, Oklahoma joined Ohio State, Penn State and Notre Dame as the only schools to win the four current BCS bowl games and the Cotton Bowl.
Gesser, who was wearing a brace on his right leg after suffering an injury in a loss to Washington in November, was 17-of-34 for 239 yards, one TD and two interceptions.
"It started started to hit me hard in the locker room after the game," Gesser said. "I was hugging guys and talking to them and it was really getting to me. You want to remember your last game with a smile, not the other way aruond like it was tonight."
Gesser also was sacked six times in his final game.
"Oklahoma blitzed a lot," said departing Cougars coach Mike Price. "We didn't know which side they were coming from. They did a good job mixing it up against us."
In an unpopular move, Price, who was allowed to coach the team despite taking the Alabama job two weeks ago, saw his team outgained on the ground, 146-4.
Price, who was the head coach for 14 years at Washington State, fell to 0-2 in the Rose Bowl. His team five seasons ago lost to national champion Michigan.
"I have given 20 years of my life to Washington State and I think the university is better off for what I have accomplished," said Price, whose defensive coordinator, Bill Doba, will be the team's next coach. "I couldn't leave the players in better hands. It has been a great ride."
"Cougar football is Coach Price, Pac-10 football is Coach Price," Gesser said. "He is the longest-reigning coach in the league and it will be hard to replace him, but Coach Doba will do a good job with these guys next year and they will be dominant. It will be a break in tradition - just like it was having a Big 12 team in the Rose Bowl - but they will be successful."