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The Good, Bad and Ugly of WSU’s win over Oregon

Dominant doesn’t begin to describe #SpeedD

NCAA Football: Washington State at Oregon Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

That was awesome. That felt...a little weird. Since most of you have Cougar fandom that goes a ways back, you probably remember the Colorado game from two seasons ago. WSU pretty much dominated the game, winning 27-3. Over the course of that game, it felt like WSU had several chances to blow the lid off the game, but couldn’t quite do it.

I got the same sense Saturday night. The defense was dominant, but the offense just couldn’t seem to get out of second gear, save for a couple explosive plays and one solid drive. Related: How great is it that I feel this way after watching WSU beat Oregon by 23 points in Eugene!!?? WSU could have won by 40. WSU still won by 23! On the road!

Let’s get to it.

The Good

  • Two 2-play sequences told the tale. On the opening drive, WSU stopped Oregon on fourth-and-short, and Jamal Morrow took a Falk checkdown 44 yards for a TD. Then, with the game kind of within reach, Marcus Strong intercepted a pass and Falk threw a perfect post pattern to Isaiah Johnson-Mack for a 27-yard score. Ballgame.
  • Have yourself a night, Erik Powell.
  • There was not one time in the second half when I was afraid that Oregon would score, or even threaten to score. That’s how dominant this defense was.
  • Gerard Wicks sighting! The senior wrecking ball tallied 58 yards on just seven carries.
  • Congratulations to Renard Bell on the first of what should me many touchdowns.
  • The 3rd-and-19 conversion was very atypical of WSU’s 3rd down offense Saturday, but there were few plays bigger than when Falk hit Johnson-Mack for 29 yards and a critical first down.
  • Oregon ran for 132 yards. It took them 45 tries to get there.
  • Jahad Woods is everywhere. I mean, man, he is EVERYWHERE. Just ask Braxton Burmeister.
  • Oregon faced 3rd down 17 times. They converted twice. Twice. They were also 0-3 on 4th down.

The Bad

  • Speaking of third down. WSU was also pretty bad, which is a stark departure from last week. The Cougs converted just two of 13, and one was with the game out of reach.
  • Marcellus Pippins, I’m done with your act. Jason David backed up his trash talk with good play. You rarely do.
  • Jamal, you’re a senior and a great player. That muffed punt can’t happen.
  • WSU’s middle linebackers are doing a great Kenny McCormick impression. Isaac Dotson lasted one series, and Nate DeRider went down later on. DeRider came back, but was clearly hobbled.
  • Speaking of injuries, it was really tough to tell, but it looked like Marcus Strong may have been injured on the last meaningless play of the game. I hope he’s ok.
  • Mentioned Gerard Wicks earlier. So why did he only get seven carries?
  • Luke Falk definitely wasn’t bad Saturday, but he wasn’t particularly good, either. At least, he wasn’t very good by “Falk against an Oregon team” standards. Falk completed just 57% of his passes, averaging a subpar 6.7 YPA. Seems like Jim Leavitt has Falk’s number a bit.

The Ugly

  • Saving this space for one sole occupier - The #Forces punt team was an embarrassment Saturday. WSU punted seven times, and couldn’t even average 29 yards. I know we’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Enough, ENOUGH with the Kyle Sweet nonsense. The awful punting put WSU’s defense in bad field position several times when the game was still in doubt. It will end in far worse fashion when the competition is better.

All in all, it’s hard to be upset about much else. WSU went on the road for the first time this season, into one of the conference’s tougher environments, put on a dominant defensive performance and left with a 23-point win. By early this afternoon, we’ll probably have a Top 10 team on our hands.

Now it’s on to Cal, again on the road, on a short week. The Cougs will be looking to equal their 2001 mark of seven straight victories to open the season. That one ended pretty well. This one has a chance to also. Go Cougs


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There is one aspect of defensive coordinator Alex Grinch’s defense that is nearly impossible to deal with: the group’s speed.

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Mike Leach is now above .500 at WSU for the first time since Game 3 of his tenure, a lesser footnote to this being a third straight win over Oregon – not so long ago the money-glitz-attitude roundabout of the Pac-12.

'We've just got to play better': Undermanned Oregon Ducks falter against Washington State, 33-10 |
Oregon fell to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in Pac-12 play after a 33-10 loss to Washington State which marked the first career start of quarterback Braxton Burmeister. The Cougars are now 6-0 and 3-0 in conference play.

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On the first drive of the game, Royce Freeman was stuffed on fourth-and-1 at the Oregon 41. Luke Falk connected with running back Jamal Morrow for a touchdown on the next play to give Washington State a 7-0 lead.


Best beer I had this week: Brought some beers back from Spokane, and Saturday I opened an Avery barrel-aged Uncle Jacob’s Stout. I wish I’d bought more than one.

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