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

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Streaks! So many streaks!

PULLMAN, WA - OCTOBER 9: Washington State receiver Travell Harris (1) runs past a defender after the catch during the first half of a PAC 12 conference matchup between the Oregon State Beavers and the Washington State Cougars on October 9, 2021, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, WA. Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Sveiki, iš Vilniaus, Lietuva, kur jie mėgsta alų ir bebrų mėsą, o mes - pumas!

Good day from the most southern of the Baltic States! Well, that was some game, eh?! The streets of Vilnius are still packed with thousands of fans reveling in the big win! Well ok, the only win anyone around here cares about is Lithuania’s win over Bulgaria in the World Cup qualifier, but still. Regardless of the paucity of Washington State Cougars support in these parts, there was a connection to Saturday’s game against the Oregon State Beavers. What is that, you didn’t ask? Here ya go!

Well whaddaya know. For the eighth straight year, the Cougs gobbled up all that beaver meat! Full disclosure - my current time zone is a full 10 hours ahead of PDT, so it was “lights out” at halftime. All I can say is that y’all can thank me for hitting the rack, because I was clearly the problem with WSU’s offensive awfulness in the first half. Pretty sure I’ll be snorting crushed Ambien at halftime of every game from now on. Anyway, let’s get to it.

The Good

  • The second half.

The Bad

  • The first 29:30 of the first half.

The Ugly

  • The final 30 seconds of the first half.

Welp, good night everybody! Ok, let’s expand a bit.

More Good

  • Travell Harris’s shoes.
  • The band playing the ESPN hockey theme.
  • This kid!
  • Good to see Brian Greene back in there. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we saw the o-line’s best performance (in my view) on Saturday.
  • Jaylen Watson sure made some big plays - first stuffing a third down run to force a field goal, then snuffing out a fake punt to get the offense the ball near midfield.
  • Really great tenacity shown by Kyle Thornton on that fourth down pass defense.
  • Speaking of big plays, Brennan Jackson wasn’t done making them last week. He seemed to give OSU’s line problems quite a bit, and that interception that prevented OSU points is not exactly the kind of athleticism you normally see from a defensive lineman.
  • George Hicks III had a pretty great interception himself!
  • Seemed like we were watching Jayden de Laura mature before our eyes in the second half. After an opening half that we’ll discuss further along, he came out of the locker room a different quarterback, slicing up the defense, making good reads and keeping his eyes downfield instead of taking off and running, That was especially true in the fourth quarter when he could have probably run for a first down, but instead hit Harris for 20 yards. His 8.7 YPA is exactly what this offense needs.
  • Can’t say enough about the offense’s third-down performance, and it wasn’t like they only needed one or two yards. Many of those explosive plays came on 3rd-and-7 or longer.
  • Congrats to Joey Hobert on that catch-and-run score, but De’Zhaun Stribling made a really good block to make sure Hobert took it the distance.
  • Max Borghi in the second half was the Max Borghi we’re used to, and the offensive line absolutely bulldozed a path for the skill players inside the red zone on that possession.
  • Deon McIntosh: Man’s man
  • To elaborate - A key play began when Deon met Omar Speights head-to-head in the hole, and the play ended with McIntosh dragging Speights six yards further.
  • Lincoln Victor is slippery.
  • Speaking of that touchdown, Jarrett Kingston absolutely erased Jaydon Grant on that play, and Grant tried pretty hard to make a business decision when he saw 52 headed toward him.
  • Kind of a big sack by Ron Stone on the last OSU drive.
  • I watched the winning touchdown three times and it’s still not clear whether de Laura turned the wrong way. All indications are that he ran it just as it was drawn up, and that is a hell of a play design.
  • Credit to Nick Rolovich and the staff for flipping the script. After game upon game when the offense clearly regressed in the second half, whatever they said/adjusted at halftime was quite the elixir.

More Bad

  • First half Max Borghi.
  • de Laura certainly atoned in the second half, but his first half included some really bad deep throws and a play where he nearly sent Calvin Jackson to the morgue.
  • I don’t know who drew up that off tackle run to McIntosh on WSU’s field goal drive, but take that page out of the playbook and find an incinerator.
  • I just have to assume that Ted Robinson messed up several times, but I never noticed!
  • I mentioned Watson’s play on the fake punt and Jackson’s interception, but I have to trust that they happened on faith alone. Why? Well, BECAUSE THE IDIOTS AT THE PAC-12 NETWORKS DIDN’T INCLUDE EITHER DRIVE IN THEIR TRUNCATED TWO HOUR REPLAY. DO THEY HAVE A BUNCH OF BABOONS EDITING THESE GAMES?! AM I YELLING??!! IT FEELS LIKE I’M YELLING?!
  • I know OSU is quite adept at running the ball, but the Cougs got absolutely gutted on cutbacks, and it seemed like they were completely helpless to do anything about it.
  • Armani Marsh has had his share of big moments this season, but Saturday was rough. At one point it seemed like he had tire treads on his jersey.
  • Our hearts really can’t take many more plays like that 4th-and-19, fellas. Next time it would be great if you stopped the ball carrier more than a yard or so shy of the first down marker. Hell, I was a wreck and I knew the outcome in advance!

More Ugly

  • If there were a WSU Hall of Shame, Nick Rolovich’s management of the first half’s final 30 seconds would have its own exhibit in the Gesser wing. WSU had OSU’s defense on its heels, and the offense was humming with a 1st-and-goal at the four yard line. So instead of capitalizing, Rolovich inexplicably called WSU’s LAST TIMEOUT. This did two things, both of which were bad for the team he’s leading. First, it allowed OSU to regroup and substitute on defense. Second, it eliminated any possibility that WSU could try a running play. As such, WSU could do nothing but try and pass, which it has done quite poorly in that area thus far in 2021.
  • So what happened? Well I don’t have to tell you, but I will anyway. The Cougars went nowhere on first and second down, and de Laura made one of the worst plays you will ever see (this is absolutely not hyperbole) on third down. Two red zone trips, zilch.
  • There’s no way to describe the second half performance of the linebackers other than utterly pitiful. I don’t know whether they should burn the tape or be forced to watch it all week on repeat, but not one of them looked like they belong in FBS.
  • I don’t know if it was worse than Rolovich’s end-of-half tactics, but the officiating was amazingly one-sided on some key plays. Let’s count ‘em up.

1) Derrick Langford is called for a phantom pass interference penalty that sustains what would become an OSU field goal drive.

2) ON THE VERY NEXT POSSESSION, Travell Harris is mugged in the end zone on fourth down and the officials ignore it, almost certainly costing WSU points.

3) It just couldn’t sit with these halfwits to allow WSU to be happy when it scored the winning TD. Nope, they had to flag number 53 for excessive celebration.

4) Speaking of pass interference, mad props to the idiot side judge for flagging Marsh on 4th-and-10 with the game on the line, while completely ignoring the arm bar that the receiver was applying.

5) What else did the officials ignore on that vital play? Oh, nothing much, just Brennan Jackson’s jersey getting pulled apart like saltwater taffy as he was bearing down on the quarterback. Nothing to see here! But luckily they’ll be held to account for this awful display, right? Hahaha sure.

In the end, it was a helluva team effort and a great win against the division leader, and it is especially nice to be back even on the season. Just don’t make me play the “what if” game yet, because I want to savor the ocho. We may not be that great, Beavers, but we own your asses.

Football

'It was bound to happen.' Washington State offense dazzles in second half as Cougars turn back Oregon State | The Spokesman-Review
WSU’s offense – which had become known this season for its tendency to get stuck in the mud for long stretches – flipped a switch, and began to glide downfield with ease.

Washington State's run-and-shoot explodes for big plays as offense lights up second half | The Spokesman-Review
The Cougars connected for their second- and third-longest passes of the season, both in the second half.

John Blanchette: Seeing the right choice in Nick Rolovich's vaccination saga requires no visionary | The Spokesman-Review
The Cougs have won eight straight in the series. And in the yet unrepaired eye, well, there’s this big blur.

Difference makers: Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura leads Cougs to second straight win | The Spokesman-Review
The Cougars’ electric sophomore led the way as WSU’s offense had its most productive and proficient showing in the Nick Rolovich era.

Canzano: Oregon State played to its weakness instead of strength in loss - oregonlive.com With the game on the line, 14 yards from the end zone, armed with two time outs, Oregon State should have put the game on the widest set of shoulders in The Palouse.

Oregon State comes up just short on final drive as Washington State beats Beavers 31-24: Game at a glance - oregonlive.com
Oregon State came up just short on its last drive of the game, and the Washington State Cougars held off the Beavers for a 31-24 victory on Saturday afternoon.

OSU football: Beavers' winning streak ends with 31-24 loss to Washington State | Beavers Sports | gazettetimes.com
With 43 seconds left in the game and the ball at the Washington State 23, OSU quarterback Chance Nolan was forced to throw underneath to Trey Lowe. The running back evaded multiple defenders but was tripped up just short of a first down.

Non-Sports

Searching for Mr. X - The Atavist Magazine
A man who lost his memory lived at a mental hospital in Mississippi. But was recovering his identity the happy ending he was looking for?