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The good, bad and ugly of WSU’s dominant win over Nevada

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It wasn’t supposed to be close. It was never close.

NCAA Football: Nevada at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Before the season started, every Cougar Football fan knew that Mike Leach and Co. had to take advantage of the fact that they would spend the entire month of September at home. After three dominant wins and one harrowing rally, WSU has done just that, and sits at 4-0 for the first time in 16 years.

I don’t think any of us expected much of a challenge from Nevada, especially after they lost to Idaho State last week. That turned out to be the case, as WSU’s defensive line set up shop in the Nevada backfield from the jump. They stayed so long that Nevada could be forgiven for thinking Hercules Mata’afa, Garrett McBroom and the rest were playing the part of those annoying party guests who showed up right at the appointed time and stayed until everyone else was gone.

Speaking of party guests, I had a little get-together of my own Saturday evening. The game was on, but I didn’t pay incredibly-close attention, so this might seem even more disjointed than usual, which is really saying something.

The Good

  • Starting with the obvious - two of the first three Nevada offensive plays resulted in sacks. It was pretty clear that this would be a laugher right then.
  • Five consecutive touchdown drives is always great. That those drives covered 76, 64, 73, 86 and 80 yards makes it even more impressive.
  • 10.1 yards-per-attempt isn’t just good, it’s outstanding.
  • As should be expected in a blowout, lots of defensive players got quality reps. That is always a great thing.
  • Tavares Martin’s effort on the last WSU touchdown was something else, as you can see in the photo.
  • Have yourself another day, Renard Bell. That’s two 100-plus yard games in the last three weeks.
  • Despite missing a very healthy Peyton Pelluer, the rush defense played rather respectably, only allowing 77 yards on rushing attempts.
  • Nevada faced 11 3rd-downs. They converted two. That kind of defensive production will be vital next Friday.
  • Jalen Thompson continues to get better, nabbing two more interceptions from center field. I don’t think Darien Molton was too happy about the second one, as Thompson snagged a pass that was headed right for Molton’s hands.
  • It appears that WSU escaped the game relatively injury-free, which is probably the most important thing that happened Saturday.
  • Time of Game: 2:59. Coupled with the weather, lord have mercy that is most excellent.

The Bad

  • Another four sacks allowed, including one on which Nevada rushed three players. I think we can all probably give up on hoping that Falk will do a better job of getting rid of the ball when nothing is there. (or doing a better job of hitting wide open receivers in that situation, which is often)
  • If anyone can tell me why vital cogs like Falk, James Williams and Tavares Martin were still in midway through the 4th quarter, I’m all ears. I sort of understand Martin, but Falk should have been sitting the entire second half, and with all of the quality running backs on the roster, Williams should have been next to him.

The Ugly

  • Nevada’s quarterback situation. Ghastly.
  • Tyler Hilinski’s first possession will not be one upon which he looks fondly in the coming years. First play, fumble and a huge loss. Second play, ugly interception, handing Nevada it’s first real scoring opportunity of the game.
  • Speaking of that, it was 2nd and 41. 2nd and 41!

So now the Cougs have five days to prepare for one of their biggest games in years. Every seat is sold, and big, bad USC is coming to town. The atmosphere will be electric. Let’s go.

Football

No. 18 Washington State blasts Nevada 45-7 as Luke Falk throws for 5 TD passes | The Spokesman-Review
No. 18 WSU led by 35 points at the half, Luke Falk had another mega passing day and the defense conceded just 151 total yards of offense as the Cougars dispatched Nevada 45-7 in front of 30,317 fans to stay unbeaten on the year.

Jim Meehan: Preliminaries over, time to see how Washington State stacks up | The Spokesman-Review
There probably wouldn’t have been many objections from the 30,317 at Martin Stadium if the conference had passed a one-time provision for a 15-minute, running-clock second half.

Vince Grippi’s three takes: This Cougars team continues to show special qualities | The Spokesman-Review
Dominating isn’t the right word. It’s not strong enough. It was 35-0 at half – WSU was a four-touchdown favorite coming in – and the rout continued in the second half.

Difference makers: Hercules Mata’afa and Washington State defense shut down Nevada | The Spokesman-Review
Mata’afa had two sacks through WSU’s first three games. On Saturday, however, the brawny defensive tackle totaled 2.5 sacks on Nevada’s first six offensive plays.

No Peyton Pelluer, no problem for Washington State defense | The Spokesman-Review Pelluer wasn’t occupying his usual MIKE linebacker spot on Saturday against the Wolf Pack. Instead it was redshirt freshman Jahad Woods.

Nevada at Washington State: Follow along live
The Pack didn’t reach the red zone until midway through the fourth quarter, when Nephi Sewell’s interception gave Nevada the ball on the Washington State 8-yard line before David Cornwell was intercepted in the end zone.

What we learned in Pac-12 football in Week Four
From Washington's dominating performance and Cal's rise to Arizona State's strong stand and UCLA's meltdown, here's a quick look at hot topics in the Pac-12 in Week Four.

Power Rankings Week 4: Winning away from home
TCU and Washington impressed on the road, Penn State and USC had hard-fought wins, and Oklahoma just looked shaky. And you don't want to be the visitors playing at Georgia.

Volleyball

WSUCougars.com | Washington State University Athletics
Led by the 16 kills of Taylor Mims, the Washington State volleyball team evened its Pac-12 record to 1-1 and advanced its overall record to 12-2 with a 25-22, 25-21, 24-26, 25-17 win over Arizona (7-4, 1-1) at the McKale Center in Tucson Saturday evening.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: I’m a big fan of flavored stouts. So when local brewery Angry Chair released their Rocky Road Imperial Stout Saturday, I really wanted to get my hands on some. Unfortunately, youth baseball got in the way, and the uber beer nerds bought all of it before I could get up there. I was able to sneak up in the afternoon and snag a 12oz. draft, and it was as good as I could have imagined. Super duper tasty.

The Craft Beer Seal is Hitting Shelves and Will Revolutionize How We Buy Beer | VinePair
The future of the Brewers Association independent beer seal is unknown, but what happened to Certified Organic is a good indication of what's to come.

Non-Sports

The Girl Gangs of El Salvador - Pacific Standard
Joining a gang seemed like the best way to evade violence for women in El Salvador, but in many cases it only put them more squarely in danger.