On the Brink
Alex Brink likes setting records for Washington State. The senior quarterback is WSU's all-time leader in career passing yards, touchdown passes (71) and pass completions (800). He also is the only quarterback to have five 400-plus yard games, leads the list of 200-plus yard games at 29 and counting and in the Pac-10 record books he ranks in the top five in four categories among active players.
And going into Saturday's game against Oregon State--a wild, wet contest played throughout spurts of downpours--it seemed like he would set some more. But sometimes Alex Brink has to settle for a tie.
He only threw six touchdowns Saturday--tying the school's record for interceptions in a single game.
There were a multitude of factors that could have caused the poor performance. Of course there was the weather, and with players sliding across the field, balls slipping out of receivers' hands and constant rain, completing a pass was no easy task. Then there was the bad luck that seemed to befall Brink--he should have had at least two touchdown passes to his credit, a tipped pass was intercepted (Oregon State almost suffered the same fate, only to catch their tipped pass for a touchdown) and his receivers seemed a little lost at times.
"What's the school record for interceptions thrown by a quarterback in a game?" an older sports reporter asked of the press box. Everyone quickly flipped through their media guides as the rained poured down outside and Oregon State scored yet another touchdown off a turnover.
"Six!" someone shouted. "Six! And Brink's just tied it."
"Well, he is a record setter," the man sitting next to me mumbled.
I'm sure never in Brink's wildest imagination did his last home game resemble anything quite like this on the field. Going into the game, he was featured in a full-page spread in the school's newspaper leading up to the weekend and the fans in student section assured us that there will always be a "place in our hearts for Alex Brink." By the end, he was sitting on the wet, steel bench, having thrown an not-too-shabby 214 yards and going 21 for 45. But there were the six interceptions and no touchdowns, and an important matchup against the University of Washington Huskies looming on the horizon.
On the field, it wasn't supposed to end like this.
But as he walked off, there were the fans, leaning over the railings and calling out his name. They had braved the game, braved the weather and now were waiting for their quarterback. And he worked his way off the field, taking time to shake everyone's hands and wave.
On the field, the game couldn't have been worse.
But when it ended, there couldn't have been a better quarterback to walk off the field at Martin Stadium.