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Players of the Week: WSU vs. Oregon edition

While Oregon won handily this past weekend, we still look for positives from all three phases of the game, and name a POTW in each category.

James Snook-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The Ducks of Oregon came into CenturyLink Field in Seattle and made sure whatever voodoo was there didn't matter, as they beat the Cougars of Washington State 51-26. Oregon looked like mere mortals in the first half, going into the locker rooms with only a four point lead. The second half was a much different story, though, as the Ducks were simply too much for the Cougs to handle.

It's tough to place blame, as certainly everyone could have played better. For the most part, though, these three guys played pretty damn well, earning POTW honors.

Devard Darling Offensive POTW:

Marquess Wilson -- 12 catches, 182 yards, 1 TD, L29

All I heard after the game was that Wilson dropped too many passes and only picked up his yardage in garbage time. This seems pretty silly when he's clearly our best player, and he can only do so much. When a guy catches 12 balls for 182 yards and people want to criticize him after a 25-point loss, it's almost like they were going to criticize him regardless!

I re-watched the game this morning on my DVR and can't actually spot a time where Wilson blatantly drops a pass. The first time he doesn't come down with the ball, Oregon CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu makes a great play to punch the ball out at the end after Wilson attempts to catch a ball that was thrown too high. The second instance -- in the endzone -- probably should have been caught, but was far from a drop. Connor Halliday threw into double coverage, Wilson leaped for the catch, and had the ball jarred loose when hit from two different Duck defenders. But sure, let's talk about how he was supposed to be a "sure fire 1st round pick" and a "pre-season All-American".

Bottom line: Marquess Wilson is now WSU's all-time leading receiver in terms of yardage, and is 16 catches away from becoming the all-time leader in that category as well. Pretty sure he's not the problem, guys.

Lamont Thompson Defensive POTW:

Deone Bucannon -- 4 tackles, 2 solo, 2 INTs

Watching the game with ESPN broadcasters was painful. Former Husky QB Brock Huard was the color man, and I generally think Huard is kind of a buffoon listening to Brock & Salk. Huard was on point, though, and I have to give credit where credit is due. Mark Jones, on the other hand, was awful. I can forgive mispronouncing a players name once, but consistently -- when your partner then says the name correctly -- is just bad. What really bothered me, though, was how he helped ESPN craft this narrative of Bucannon as a dirty, cheap player.

Huard was also guilty of this, but instead of talking about how that hit was only a one time thing, they made him seem like he's been playing reckless and headhunting his entire career. It was unfair, and it goes a long ways in showing why ESPN is just the worst.

Bucannon had a nice night, picking off Oregon QB Marcus Mariota twice. I want to give a shout out to both Xavier Cooper and Ioane Gauta as well. Those two played great all night, keeping Mariota off balance and forcing him to make a few poor throws. I have to give the edge to Bucannon though for creating turnovers.

Michael Bumpus Special Teams POTW:

Teondray Caldwell -- 8 KR, 220 yards, L92

Caldwell came oh-so-close to breaking one all the way to the house when he was tripped up inside the 10. On the flip side, Caldwell also fumbled, giving Oregon the ball inside the 15. The Cougar defense stopped Oregon on 4th down, but that was still a mistake Caldwell will learn from.

The more I watch Caldwell, the more I like him. He's shifty, explosive, and reads his blocks well for a freshman. Obviously he can improve in areas like pass protection and ball security, but for a true freshman, I'm pretty impressed. He's gonna be a good one before it's all said and done.


Last week's prediction:

Connor Halliday, Travis Long, Loren Langley?



Next week's prediction:

Marquess Wilson, Darryl Monroe, Andrew Furney


(stats vs. Oregon)

(2012 stats)