Good afternoon, Coug fans. Well, now that was something, wasn't it? WSU scored 20 first half points, and the defense stepped up to close out a 20-14
Snow Sun Bowl victory. With the win, WSU finished 2015 with an incredible (given the recent depths of this program) nine wins. As is often the case, our favorite football team didn't make it easy, but none of that really matters.
The game started off quite well. At least rumor has it that the game started well. None of us actually saw Jamal Morrow score the opening touchdown, thanks to awful CBS and its great idea to think a college basketball game would be over in two hours. The Cougs marched downfield efficiently like they have all season to open the scoring, and we all hoped it would be a preview of what was to come. Miami answered with a long possession that ended in a touchdown on fourth-and-goal, and the game was tied after a quarter.
The second quarter belonged to WSU, and would turn out to be the 15 minutes that decided the game. Despite a Gerard Wicks fumble, the Cougar defense stood strong and Miami punted. WSU stalled in the red zone, and Erik Powell was able to make a short kick despite a really bad snap. When the Cougs got the ball back, they marched 71 yards in eight plays, as Falk found Gabe Marks for a 17-7 lead. The defense held again, and WSU capitalized with a field goal drive (aided by Miami penalties) to head into halftime with a 20-7 lead.
The defense took the field for the second half, while the offense decided to stay in the locker room. Two straight drives went into Miami territory. Two drives ended without points. From that point, the WSU offense put on its worst performance of the season. Miami opened the fourth quarter with a quick touchdown drive, and backsides throughout Cougar fandom began to tighten considerably.
After the defense held up again, the offense responded with zilch. Miami then marched down the field again and looked poised to take the lead, which probably would have ended the game. An apparent Miami touchdown was taken off the board by a block in the back, giving WSU life. Two plays later, Miami running back Mark Walton fumbled, and Marcellus (don't call me Marcellius, Gary) Pippins recovered, staving off a Miami rally.
After yet another listless three-and-out, Miami again had the ball with a chance to take the lead. It was then that Miami decided to have someone other than Brad Kaaya throw the ball, as Joseph Yearby took a handoff and attempted to throw it himself. The wet ball slipped out of his hands, and fell right to Shalom Luani. In other words, the defense saved the day again. A long return was wiped out by a penalty, and WSU took over at its nine yard line, needing two first downs to seal the game.
Inexplicably, Miami only had 10 defenders on the field (though, to be fair, who could blame them since WSU couldn't do anything against 11 guys?), and was forced to use its second timeout with the clock stopped. It was then that WSU (FINALLY!!!) decided to try running the ball. Jamal Morrow picked up one first down on one carry. Two plays later, Luke Falk fooled every person who has ever watched a Mike Leach offense by faking a handoff and running up the middle. Falk easily got the first down, and the game was ours.
If you're interested in actually watching the entire game, my program guide tells me that CBS Sports Network will be replaying it tomorrow at 10am PST, once it shows the 2006 SEC championship game for the eighth straight time.
Nine wins. NINE WINS, including victories over teams like Oregon, UCLA and, to cap it off, Miami. Go Cougs