MOSCOW, Idaho – His team had just escaped with a win over its border rival after nearly blowing a 22-point lead, and Pullman football coach Dan Lucier was asked if the game gave him “a little bit” of a heart attack.
“No,” Lucier said. “Way more than a little bit of a heart attack. “
The Greyhounds (2-1) suffocated Moscow on a last-minute two-point conversion attempt to leave Bear Field with a wild 42-40 victory on Friday night.
Pullman led 35-13 midway through the third quarter after a 69-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Mason Petrino, the son of first-year Idaho Vandals coach Paul Petrino, to senior Justin Pintak and a 1-yard Petrino score.
It looked like the Hounds would breeze to a victory after a taut first half.
But the Bears responded. Senior Sean Kiblen, who rushed for 237 yards on 24 carries, scored on back-to-back TD runs to make it 35-28.
After a 32-yard TD run from David Ungerer extended Pullman’s lead to 14, Moscow safety Jack Akey – the son of former Vandals coach Robb Akey – intercepted Petrino and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown with 3:26 left.
Pullman’s ensuing possession ended with a punt, which was muffed. Moscow drove 41 yards for its final TD, a 1-yard run from Alex Glinski to draw the Bears within 42-40 with 56 seconds left.
But Moscow (2-2) was penalized for having 12 men in the huddle on its two-point conversion attempt. After the ball was moved back 5 yards, quarterback Jack Clark couldn’t connect with Akey in the end zone and the Bears’ onside kick was recovered by Pullman’s Stephen Mealey.
“It means everything,” Pintak said. “This senior class … for the next 45 years we’ve got bragging rights on Moscow.”
Pintak, a senior receiver and defensive back, was everywhere for the Hounds. He had a 99-yard interception return in the first quarter, and, after his long TD reception, he blocked a punt early in the third to set up Petrino’s TD that gave the Hounds a three-score lead.
Pintak and Ungerer befuddled Moscow with their speed out of the backfield, while Petrino completed 13 of 19 passes.
“We just hadn’t seen that speed in practice,” Moscow assistant coach Rob Brooks said. “We couldn’t replicate. Seeing it live for the first time was just too much.”
Brooks served as interim head coach for the Bears after Phil Helbling was ejected last week late in an overtime loss to West Valley and couldn’t be on the sidelines Friday night.