WSU 31, Oregon State 14
I gotta be honest. I'm not feeling very eloquent at the moment. I mean, how to make sense out of what we all just witnessed? My eyes see it, but I'm having an exceedingly hard time wrapping my brain around it.
Did we really just win a game? Against a Pac-10 opponent? On the road? BY 17 POINTS?
Yes, yes, yes, and FREAKING HECK YES!
I'm still a little mystified as to how it happened. The defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, effectively shutting down Oregon State's rushing attack -- just 3.9 yards per attempt -- while also getting pretty consistent pressure on young Ryan Katz, who was just 12 of 21 for 155 yards. That hasn't happened all year, and we had no reason to think it would. Yet, there was our front four, bullying their offensive line all day long.
If you're looking for a turning point in the game, look no further than the stuff of Jacquizz Rodgers on 4th down in the first quarter. That's not a play anyone who had watched these guys would have expected this team to make. The game was still close at that point, and it didn't directly lead to or prevent points, but it set the tone for the afternoon.
And then the offense. Are you serious? Rolling up 222 yards of rushing? Granted, they only averaged 3.6 yards a carry because they ran it 61 times, which is totally absurd in and of itself, but it was really all those rushing yards -- many of which came on Jeff Tuel scrambles -- that allowed them to win this game. For the first time in a long time (I don't even want to guess how long), WSU dominated time of possession. The Cougs held the ball twice as long as Oregon State, keeping the defense fresh.
You can credit Tuel for most of that. He was simply extraordinary today. I won't go so far as to call his performance, well, you know ... but I will adamantly declare that it was far better than what a casual look at his statline -- 10-of-15 for 157 yards, 79 yards rushing -- would suggest. How many sacks that would have gone for negative yards did he turn into positive gains? How many drives did he extend by doing that? Many.
I guess the weirdest thing about this victory is this: If someone had written a script for how a win today might go down, this most certainly would not have been it. And if they had written this, they would have gotten laughed at. A lot.
But sports are funny like that; sometimes teams win games in the most improbable of fashion ... just not usually our teams.
It was us today. Today is our day.