Toni Pole, Damante Horton win Players of the Week in Southern California

Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Three players took home POTW honors, and none of them played on offense.

Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Also, this is relevant.

The Washington State Cougars went into the LA Coliseum and defeated the Trojans of USC, and it wasn't a fluke. We didn't get lucky or beat SC sans a Heisman Trophy candidate. Our defense carried us, and they deserve all the recognition in the world.

I've been pretty hard on Damante Horton for the past few years, even going so far as turning his name into a verb. For all of the heated discussions on how good he really is, or if his interceptions were luck or not, I couldn't be happier with his performance. His two interceptions weren't dumb luck or bad throws (well, yes, they were bad throws, but I'd argue most interceptions weren't great throws), he read the QB and made nice plays both times. Good on you, Damante.

***

Offensive POTW:

Damante Horton -- 2 interceptions, 75 yards

You may be thinking, "But Kyle, Damante Horton plays cornerback! That's not an offensive position!" The first thing I'd tell you is that, "Hey, you're using too many exclamation points. But secondly, we didn't score on offense and beat USC. You're damn right Horton is our offensive POTW." This marks the first time in the history of the esteemed CougCenter POTW series that a defensive player won the offensive POTW award, and I don't envision it ever happening again. Perhaps this is the new use of the verb Damante Horton'd.

Defensive POTW:

Ioane Gauta -- 7 tackles (5 solo)

Horton was everyone's defensive POTW, but I wanted to figure out a way to honor Gauta as well. It's pretty clear to anyone who is watching this team that Gauta the best player on our team by a wide margin. He's incredibly disruptive, and even though it doesn't always show statistically, OL are always aware of where he is. He's beating double and triple teams to flush the QB out of the pocket, he's stuffing the run, and he's just causing all sorts of trouble for the other team. He's one of the more dominant DL guys we've had in a long, long time. The last time I remember someone this disruptive was when Rien Long donned the Crimson & Grey. Let's treasure this final season with Gauta because holy cow is he good.

Special Teams POTW:

Toni Pole -- 1 tackle, 1 blocked kick

Pole blocked what would have been the go-ahead FG for the Trojans, and he thoroughly beat his man to do so. I'd say that blocked kick was the 2nd best play in his WSU career behind last season's near Apple Cup winning interception. If he ended that game with a Fat Guy Touchdown, that would have been the best Apple Cup moment in school history. So close.

But really, that blocked kick was freakin' awesome. I thought about giving it to Furney for the "game winning" FG, but if Pole doesn't block that kick, Furney's FG ties it at 10 instead of giving the Cougs the lead.

***

Last week's prediction:

Connor Halliday, Darryl Monroe, Andrew Furney

0/3 :(

***

Next week's prediction:

Dominique Williams, Cyrus Coen, Theron West

***

(stats vs. USC)

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