"I should have held the ball or thrown it away," Rosenbach said afterward. "I tried to get some steam on it and zip it through there, but...I didn't get enough."
The real culprit was a Cougar defense that repeatedly allowed the struggling Sun Devils' offense to keep alive long drives with third-down completions. When Arizona State quarterback Paul Justin, making his first start of the season, threw a TD pass in the third quarter, it ended a Sun Devil scoring drought that spanned 10 quarters.
Nevertheless, the fans in Pullman will remember the game mostly for Rosenbach's ill-advised pass, which resulted in his second interception on a day in which he also fumbled twice, fell down several times without being tackled and got that penalty for popping off after being sacked. "I've got a temper," Rosenbach said. "Our linemen sometimes have to say, 'Hey, Rosie, shut up.' "
And now Cougar fans will have to shut up about Rosenbach being better than either UCLA's Troy Aikman, who led the Bruins to a 24-3 victory over Arizona, or USC's Rodney Peete (the Trojans were idle), the poised leaders of unbeaten teams. The ultimate measure of a quarterback isn't the kind of stats he piles up, but the number of wins he delivers. Heading into this week's game against UCLA, Washington State is 4-3 and hoping Rosenbach, a junior, will learn from his mistakes.
To fully appreciate Bowie State's 8-0 record, it's necessary to understand how far the Bulldogs, an NCAA Division II team, have come under Dave Dolch, who is the first white head coach ever at the predominantly black Maryland college. When Dolch was hired after the 1986 season, Bowie was mired in a 21-game losing streak, and he was given an ultimatum: Buoy Bowie or the program would be disbanded.
After the losing streak climbed to 32 last season, the Bulldogs finally ended it with a win over Cheyney (Pa.) State and went on to a 4-6-1 record. Now only North Carolina Central, Winston-Salem and District of Columbia stand between Bowie and an 11-0 season.
In Saturday's 16-13 victory over American International, the Bulldogs were trailing 13-9 with 1:38 to go, at least partly because their quarterbacks were 0 for 13 passing. So Dolch dusted off the old halfback option play, which resulted in a 52-yard TD pass from Noel Harrison to Bryant Hall. Linebacker Tony Bennett's interception with less than a minute to play sealed the victory.
"Four years ago, there wasn't one person in the locker room who thought we were going to win," said cornerback Sam Muse afterward. "Now there's not one person who believes we're going to lose. I don't really know why we win. I mean, we just listen to Coach Dolch, do what he says, and at the end of the game we look at the board and we've won."
In other big news from the smalls, Division III Wittenberg's 27-17 victory over Capital assured the Tigers of their 34th winning season in a row, the current record among all colleges. (With a 48-3 victory over Kansas State, Nebraska set the Division I-A record with 27 straight winning seasons.)