Shutting out the opponent requires excellent performances from individual players, and the unit as a whole. So when WSU held Montana State to zero points Saturday night, logic would suggest that the team’s standout player came from that side of the ball. Well, logic would be wrong.
Anyone who watched more than a series or two of 2017’s first Cougar game knows who was the star of the show. That doesn’t mean a defender or two didn’t make a run at the top spot, but in the end, this was an easy call.
Second Runner-Up: Jalen Thompson
In addition to collecting his first career interception, Thompson led the team in tackles with seven, including six solo stops. Even though it was hard to tell from the tight camera angles, Thompson seemed to play pretty disciplined. Montana State tried a couple trick plays, including a reverse-pass, but the defensive backs played them perfectly. If the safety is out of position, the result is often far worse for the defense.
First Runner-Up: Hercules Mata’afa
Will anyone be surprised if Hercules and our winner hold down the top spots for at least half of the games this season? Hercules tied for second on the team in tackles with five, and collected 1.5 sacks and another tackle-for-loss. Jeff Choate found out what we all know, that trying to block Mata’afa with one lineman is a fool’s errand. Even when he wasn’t making a tackle or sack, Mata’afa was disrupting play after play, and is probably the biggest reason the MSU quarterback couldn’t get anything going.
Winner: James “Boobie” Williams
Yeah, this was full of suspense. James Williams was the best player on the field Saturday. I don’t think this is the last time I will write that sentence in 2017. Williams caught 13 passes for 163 yards, and scored twice. Even though a few players have two games under their belts, Boobie’s 13 catches rank fifth in the NCAA, and the 163 yards rank eighth. Not bad! He also rushed for 45 yards, compiling over 200 yards from scrimmage on the night. That’s ok I guess.
Congratulations to Boobie. Something tells me we’ll see you again in this space.
Who was WSU’s Player of the Week?
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