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WSU Vs. BYU: Washington State Struggles In All Phases, Loses 30-6

Jeff Tuel had time to throw, but struggled to get much of anything going.
Jeff Tuel had time to throw, but struggled to get much of anything going.

The Mike Leach era did not get off to the start many were hoping Thursday as Washington State struggled on both sides of the ball in route to a 30-6 loss to BYU.

WSU looked out of sync all night and the result was a stagnant offensive performance and an easily shredded defense. After beginning the game strong, Jeff Tuel struggled mightily. Tuel completed 30-of-45 passes for 228 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

BYU dropped extra defenders into coverage all night and Tuel struggled to find places to go with the ball. Marquess Wilson caught just 4 passes for 61 yards. Wilson had two spectacular catches called back by holding calls including a 46-yard completion and a leaping touchdown that may have been the play of the year had it counted.

Andrei Lintz, the darling spring and fall camp, was targeted just once. Gabe Marks, the highly touted freshman was targeted early and often but finished with just 3 catches for 16 yards and a drop.

Defensively, it seemed as if WSU was playing 11-on-7 for much of the game. Time after time after time BYU quarterback Riley Nelson dropped back only to find a wide open receiver. Third down defense continued to be a major issue for the Cougars as they allowed 10-of-17 conversions. Ioane Gauta, Toni Pole and Darryl Monroe were the bright spots on defense as all three seemed to play well.

As if offensive and defensive struggles were not enough, WSU also had issues on special teams. There were a couple of issues on kickoff return then a fake punt attempt which crashed and burned. Michael Bowlin did well on kickoffs but did not have a good night punting.

This is just the first game in a long season, but no matter what expectations you had going into the season, it's hard to call this anything but a major disappointment. The offense clearly has a long way to go before they are firing on all cylinders and the defense was as bad as many feared, if not worse.

Will it get better? Unquestionably, but right now there is nothing but a bad taste left in the mouth of Cougar fans.