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The Good, Bad and Ugly of WSU’s Arizona beatdown

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That was a stress-free game!

Arizona v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

Good Morning. Ok, I have done exactly zero research on this, but I’m just gonna throw out there the idea that this WSU-Arizona matchup has had the greatest three year scoring differential in college football history. To boot - In 2016, WSU absolutely curb-stomped Arizona, scoring nine touchdowns enroute to a 69-7 win. In 2017, WSU got caught up in Khalil Tate’s path of destruction. That, coupled with approximately 65 WSU turnovers resulted in a 58-37 Wildcat win.

On Saturday, we saw the next chapter in this high-scoring series. Turns out there was only one team who scored a ton of points, and it was our beloved Cougars, who found the endzone 10(!!!) different times. It was a great opportunity to #Drop70, but the place kicker and his center/holder combo inexplicably didn’t let that happen. Anyway, that amounts to a WSU 62-point win, followed by an Arizona 21-point win, followed by a WSU 41-point win. College football has a looooooong history, but you’d probably be hard-pressed to hunt down a three-year set of results that differed to that degree.

Thankfully, the Washington State Cougars have been on the right side of the two biggest blowouts, while the Arizona Wildcats have to be hoping that they never ever ever see Pullman again. As much as I love Pullman, who can blame them?

The Good

  • When you’re the decided favorite, establishing yourself as such early on is important. WSU did exactly that with the first drive.
  • James Williams continues to make defenders look hapless and I am here for all of it.
  • Great one-handed play by Marcus Strong to get the ball right back for WSU.
  • I don’t know how they did it, but credit goes to the WSU equipment team for somehow magnetizing the facemasks. Arizona’s hands couldn’t stay away from them.
  • Do Arizona defenders get partial credit for scoring when Boobie and Max Borghi carry them into the endzone?
  • The Cougs did a great job to answer Arizona’s first touchdown with a touchdown of their own, and squash any doubt that may have been creeping in.
  • Congratulations to Calvin Jackson Jr. on his first (and later, second) touchdowns as a Cougar.
  • To be honest I was more impressed with Jackson’s sock/tape combo.
  • Great play fake on the Dezmon Patmon touchdown pass.
  • My god that WSU kickoff that became a WSU touchdown was all kinds of hilarious. Technically, WSU scored two touchdowns in one second. I’ll go ahead and say that’s a record of some sort.
  • Credit goes to Kainoa Wilson for securing the ball after a couple other guys couldn’t. First career touchdown for Mr. Wilson!
  • Minshew’s ability to move in the pocket and keep his eyes downfield is uncanny.
  • Happy Birthday to Max Borghi. Though I wonder, which teammate bought you that turf monster?
  • Follow-up question: Has the WSU Track coach contacted you regarding a spot on the hurdle team?
  • Incredible strip by Jahad Woods with Arizona threatening to score near the end of the first half. That’s two straight games where Woods just stole the ball from a running back. Part of me is very glad there wasn’t a good angle because the ball may have been across the goal line. Oh well! Woods then pounced on another fumble later on. Jahad has a nose for the ball.
  • Not a bad ensuing drive, Cougs. Two plays. 80 yards. First half double nickel.
  • The halftime spot with the ESPN reporter was vintage Leach, and was also perfect.
  • WSU had 96 rushing yards to Arizona’s 57. At halftime.
  • Gardner Minshew II threw 33 passes in the first half. His incompletions equaled his touchdowns. I wonder if that’s good enough for the ignoramuses at the Pac-12 office to give him the Player of the Week award.
  • Welcome back, Davontavean Martin!
  • But seriously that catch he made, in which the ball went from hands to legs back to hands was a marvel. I should also add that his facemask was pulled by the Arizona defender (not called) while he was making said catch.
  • Speaking of great catches, hell of an effort by Calvin Jackson Jr. to go up and steal that pass from the Arizona defensive back.
  • The defense didn’t have a spectacular game, but they did a good job of making Khalil Tate uncomfortable enough to induce a fair amount of mistakes.
  • Watching Keith Harrington get the ball a few times made me happy.
  • WSU ran 79 plays. 39 percent of those plays resulted in either first downs or touchdowns.
  • 10 WSU players had multiple receptions.
  • Eight tackles for loss Saturday. That’s not bad!
  • I got an instant stomach ache when Logan Tago was laying on the field. Luckily he was fine, and came back into the game.
  • J.J. Taylor, who eviscerated WSU last season, averaged 3.5 yards on 20 carries. As a team, Arizona averaged 3.4. WSU’s run defense continues to impress.
  • WSU averaged 8.6 yards-per-attempt and 7.7 yards-per-play. That’ll do, donkey. That’ll do.
  • On a personal note, the old DVR gets put in this category. Given all the stops for penalties and reviews, it was nice to speed through that game in far less time than the nearly 3.5 hours of actual time.
  • 10 wins in 11 games for the first time in over 20 years. As many words as I’ve written this season, there really are no words to describe what incredible run this has been.

The Bad (yep, there was a surprising amount to put here, despite the score)

  • Before we get to WSU, let’s make fun of Arizona. Kevin Sumlin is who he is, and the lack of discipline shown by his players is a direct reflection on their coach.
  • Speaking of Sumlin, I’m still trying to figure out what’s in his head. His team trailed 55-21, and faced 4th-and-six at the WSU 44. Seems like a great spot to go for a first down. Sumlin...punted. White flags for all of my friends!
  • Arizona has a position on defense called “Stud.” Might be time to rethink that one, Marcel, after giving up a verified f***ton of points.
  • Ok, on to the Cougars - Once again, the kicking team couldn’t execute simple plays. First, it was yet another botched PAT. Then Blake Mazza missed another chip shot. Kicking game failures were a principle reason that WSU suffered its only loss, and if WSU is in another close game, chances are that the kicking game will cost them dearly, again.
  • Turd quarter. Yuck. Though to be fair, I’m sure it isn’t easy to come out with the proper amount of motivation if you’re up 41 at halftime.
  • If Minshew has one bugaboo, it’s the screen passes. He is consistently inaccurate on a play that requires absolute precision to work.
  • In the “Further proof that nobody knows what targeting is” category, I present Arizona safety Scottie Young Jr. He launched himself into Max Borghi in the second quarter, hitting Borghi in the jaw with the crown of his helmet. For reasons I will never understand, #Pac12refs thought it was a legal hit. Mr. Young Jr. couldn’t stand for that, so he DECIDED TO DO THE SAME EXACT THING TO MAX BORGHI AGAIN IN THE 4TH QUARTER IN NEARLY THE EXACT SAME SPOT ON THE FIELD. This time those rubes in the replay booth threw him out.
  • I’m sure Darrien Molton is a nice guy, but he is not a good defensive back.
  • That said, both pass interference calls on Molton were borderline-to-terrible. He didn’t interfere on the first one, and Shawn Poindexter literally pushed him to the ground on the touchdown pass, yet #Pac12refs called Molton for PI. That is 100% due to his reputation, and it’s obvious that the flag was a result of what the ref thought he saw, and not what he actually saw.
  • These defensive backs, man. Way too many instances where Arizona receivers were running free.
  • Jamire Calvin, I’m really happy that you caught a touchdown pass, but please stop dropping the ball.
  • On a personal note, I was nearly beside myself when WSU wasn’t calling timeout after the Borghi catch/hurdle. So of course they proved me right by...throwing a 50-yard touchdown pass. NEVERMIND!

The Ugly

  • Incredibly unlikely to have anything in this category after a 41-point win, but there is one. If you are someone who is still going after Megan Coghlan for something she wrote five years ago, when she was in college (hell, even if you went after her back then), you really need to take a step back and evaluate what got you to this point in your life. And if you think you’re some sort of tough guy (or gal) by continuing to act all tough on your keyboard, I can assure you that you’re the opposite.

So now the Cougars are on to the Apple Cup where, for the third year in a row, they can clinch a spot on the Pac-12 Championship game with a victory over Washington. I don’t need to remind you how that’s gone prior to this season. Is this year different? Of course. Will that matter? We can only hope.

Football

I usually link Jon Wilner’s Saturday reaction column, but I just can’t do it anymore. I’ve lost an immeasurable amount of respect for Jon over the last six weeks or so, especially due to his refusal to come off the nonsensical position that the CFP would select an unbeaten UCF over one-loss, conference champ WSU. He pitched this position to Stewart Mandel, who quickly stomped all over it, but that hasn’t stopped Jon from shouting into the darkness. I don’t even mind the fact that he’s picking Washington to beat WSU, because that’s totally reasonable given the recent series history. Nonetheless, Jon continues to let his preconceived notions get in the way of his objectivity. And that’s a shame, because he used to be a dependable reporter.

Seventh heaven: Washington State thumps Arizona behind Gardner Minshew’s record-breaking seven TD passes | The Spokesman-Review
It’s been a season of milestones for Washington State in 2018, and the Cougars were eyeballing another one Saturday night, trying to become the sixth team in program history to nail down 10 wins in a single season, and the first one to do it since 2003.

Quirky special teams touchdown, goal-line forced fumble go Washington State’s way as rout of Arizona starts early | The Spokesman-Review
Although Arizona had plenty of problems stopping Washington State in the first half Saturday night, the blowout-in-the-making included two bizarre plays that made Cougar fans scream.

Difference makers: Garnder Minshew adds more highlights to Heisman campaign, Calvin Jackson Jr. scores first touchdowns | The Spokesman-Review
Jackson Jr. was on the end of two of Minshew’s touchdowns – the first two receiving TDs of his Washington State career – catching one in the first quarter and another in the second.

Pullman businesses and fans energized by football team’s meteoric rise | The Spokesman-Review
Washington State’s victory Saturday night against Arizona gave the Cougs their sixth 10-win season; Mike Price coached three of them.

By slamming Arizona 69-28, Washington State and Gardner Minshew give the Huskies something to ponder | The Seattle Times
Yeah, if I were a UW fan, my nerves would have just tripled in population. I’d be having nightmares of mustaches and wilting roses.

Another nightmare in Pullman: Arizona falls to Washington State 69-28 | Arizona Wildcats football | tucson.com
The Wildcats rarely pressured Minshew, struggled to cover WSU’s receivers, committed a boatload of costly penalties and put the ball on the ground five times.

Greg Hansen: While others rebuild, Mike Leach — the Palouse Pirate — continues to win | Arizona Wildcats football | tucson.com
Wildcats will face off against Pac-12's iconoclastic coach Saturday night in Pullman, Washington.

This Week in Parenting

Quite a few things I could write here, having been gone for a month, but I’ll keep it brief. I probably would have slept all the way through the WSU game (it was safely on DVR), but the 7 year-old rushed into our bedroom before 0630, panicking at the fact that he needed the Netflix password on his Kindle (I’d been forced to change it because someone in either Nepal, Estonia or both hacked it). No more than 30 seconds later, the 10 year-old was in our room asking about the same thing. So get up I did. Luckily the Cougs made the lack of sleep worth my while.

And you may not be aware of this, but November in Germany is not exactly suntanning weather. So when Florida kid sees frost on the ground, he has to go out and touch it.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: If there’s a better breakfast than a Canadian breakfast, I haven’t found it.

Pabst Blue Ribbon Could Go Extinct Because of Big Beer Legal Battle - Maxim
PBR and MillerCoors are fighting over allegations that MillerCoors is trying to put Pabst out of business.

Non-Sports

Will Stanich's Ever Reopen? Why America's Best Burger Spot Closed Down - Thrillist
Thrillist named Stanich's the best burger in the country. Five months later they were closed.