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The Good, Bad and Ugly of WSU’s win over San Jose State

Lots of good, but some bad, too.

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

Good morning. That was...I can’t really decide what that was. I’m talking about the game, of course, but also waking up before 5am to watch a live college football game. Kinda weird!

A 31-point victory, piled on top of a shutout no less, is nothing to sneeze at. The Washington State Cougars came out and established themselves right off the bat, building a 14-0 lead, and keeping the San Jose State Spartans at bay for the entire game. Good teams pull the old playground move against bad teams. You know, where the tough guy gets his opponent on the ground and just sits on him until “mercy” is declared.

That said, man did the Cougars leave a lot of points on the field. Minshew’s two interceptions, on consecutive series, were both particularly bad. More on that below. The third quarter was an exercise in futility, and WSU lost the turnover battle 3-1. That kind of ratio isn’t going to get it done against teams that aren’t horrible, and yes, I know one of them came from Anthony Gordon.

Mostly, this was a very good night, even if parts of the on field action were a painful watch.

The Good

  • The uniform jinx is dead. Let us rejoice and be glad.
  • It’s not easy to hang a goose egg on anybody, and the Cougs have now done it thrice in two seasons. Quite impressive, especially when paired with SJSU’s 109 total yards.
  • The first quarter - Make it five straight possessions ending with a touchdown.
  • Another QB sneak! On fourth down even! (The next fourth down was ok too)
  • 4-5 on fourth down? Hell yes I’ll take that.
  • Taylor Comfort’s sack was cool. Taylor Comfort’s post-sack homage to The Bushwackers made him my favorite player.
  • Great job by Deion Singleton to stay with his man on that trick play, preserving the shutout.
  • Tay Martin is a damn playmaker.
  • Minshew’s 8.1 YPA is a big improvement. Hopefully he stays closer to that number than last week’s average.
  • Pretty sure that last play of the first half didn’t get run as planned, but all’s well that ends well.
  • San Jose State averaged 3.6 yards per pass. They gained nine times as many yards per pass as they did when they ran the ball.
  • Enjoyed Ryan Leaf’s debut as an analyst. He needs a fair amount of polish, but he’s quite adept at pointing out the nuances of quarterback play.
  • Far as I could tell, there weren’t any serious injuries. Always good!
  • Got a 4-mile run in at halftime. Ok, halftime and part of the third quarter (I am old and slow, after all). Got caught up on Slow Burn along the way!

The Bad

  • Should’ve been 21-0 after three drives, but Minshew ignored the uncovered Z receiver, who would have walked into the end zone, and forced a throw that was picked. Then he threw an ugly interception in the red zone. Come on, man.
  • Cindy Brunson, if you’re gonna go with a “first time since” statistic, don’t make it “the first time since last year.”
  • Dear San Jose State coach, I don’t know who you are, but consistently punting from midfield, when you need to score, isn’t a great series of decisions. I mean, 11 punts!
  • Trey Tinsley was actually in a game for the first time ever, until he wasn’t. A knee pad violation? A dumb rule that nobody enforces until now? Ok then.
  • I have a bad feeling that teams with stout interior defensive linemen are going to take advantage of Frederick Mauigoa when the schedule gets tougher. He gets put on roller skates far too often.
  • The third down conversion rate has to get better - 4-14, on top of 3-14 last week.

The Ugly

  • My internet connection was, as Charles Barkley would say, turrible.

All in all, that was a TCOB-type of game. Now Cougs, please, for the love of all that is holy, beat Eastern Washington next week.


Analysis: Washington State offense hits some lulls, but defense does enough to preserve shutout in 31-0 win over San Jose State | The Spokesman-Review
The third quarter is when a better team could’ve caught the Cougars, who’d definitely started to lag on offense after shelling out 24 points in the first half.

San Jose State vs. Washington State - Game Recap - September 8, 2018 - ESPN
Washington State beat San Jose State 31-0 on Saturday night, but that doesn't mean Cougars' coach Mike Leach was happy with his team.

Washington State offense finds fourth-down success in first half against San Jose State | The Spokesman-Review
The Cougars five times left their offense on the field on fourth down in the first half against San Jose State on Saturday and came away with five first downs and one touchdown to Tay Martin.

Gardner Minshew’s shoes gives Washington State another weapon | The Spokesman-Review The final two years of Falk’s illustrious career included exactly zero rushing touchdowns.

Difference makers: Gardner Minshew, Tay Martin connect for two TDs in blowout win | The Spokesman-Review
Good things usually happened when Gardner Minshew threw it up to the sophomore wide receiver Saturday night.

Tyler Hilinski’s family takes part in flag-raising ceremony prior to Washington State-San Jose State game | The Spokesman-Review
Tyler Hilinski’s parents, Mark and Kym, and brothers Kelly and Ryan took part in an emotionally stirring moment before Washington State’s home opener, raising a crimson flag in the east end zone amid a chorus of cheers just minutes before the Cougars kicked off against San Jose State at Martin Stadium.

Saturday Night Five: Colorado, ASU carry the Pac-12's torch
With victories over Big Ten opponents, Colorado and ASU helped the Pac-12 avoid what looked like a Black Saturday following the losses by UCLA and Arizona.

This Week in Parenting

As I sat back down to watch the rest of the game, around 715am, the 6 year-old came into the living room. When he saw the screen, his eyes lit up, and he asked “Are you watching the Cougar game?” He sat next to me, with his head on my shoulder, and watched most of the rest of the game. It was great. The 10 year-old didn’t have much interest, but I’ll take what I can get.


Best beer I had this week: I’ve had a good amount of Belgian beer over the last month, but the Trappistes Rochefort 10 I had Saturday night was the best of them all. Those Belgian monks are something else.

When it comes to beer, 'craft' isn't always synonym for 'good'
Despite all the excitement about craft beer, this sector of the industry is still in its infancy, and it’s still making rookie mistakes.


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When the reading brain skims texts, we don’t have time to grasp complexity, to understand another’s feelings or to perceive beauty.