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The Good, Bad and Ugly of WSU’s 38-35 win over Oregon State

It was another great win with lots of good!

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

Hello there! Not sure if you’re aware, but the Washington State Cougars have played four games in 2023, and won all of them. Those include two wins over ranked opponents, followed by two glorious field stormings. And while WSU starting this season 4-0 and finding itself inside the Top 20, it was almost certainly not probable. But unbeaten the Cougs areIn the words of Jack Buck, “Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!”

As with the Wisconsin game, WSU took an early lead and maintained it throughout the remainder of the game. Matter of fact, WSU led the game for more than 59 minutes! So that means there weren’t any anxious moments moments down the stretch, right? Never a feeling that this one might get away from the home team, right? RIGHT??!! Uhhh, let’s just move on.

The Good

  • Another big game, another boisterous sellout crowd. Let’s keep it up!
  • The white/anthracite/white uniform combination was my all-time favorite before Saturday, and I see no reason to come off that stance!
  • Cam Ward, my lord what a player. The guy throws four touchdowns and only six incompletions? Nearly 12 YPA? And runs for a fifth score? In nearly any other season, Ward would be leading the pack for conference player of the year. But, for many reasons, this is not any other season. Even so, Ward’s performance has been spectacular. He hasn’t even thrown an interception!
  • As good as Ward was, he didn’t throw for all those yards himself. But whereas last week saw a wealth of catches spread throughout the roster, Saturday overwhelmingly featured two guys who absolutely eviscerated the OSU defense. New wideouts Kyle Williams and Josh Kelly had a career’s worth of highlight plays in one game, starting with a Williams 63-yard touchdown on the game’s second play, and continuing with Kelly making a series of amazing grabs.
  • Think Williams was open here?

I thought that was a really cool angle. Nate featured the Josh Kelly amazingness in the game recap, so I’ll avoid the redundancy here, but y’all know how incredible he was. In all, Williams - who caught all seven of his targets, and Kelly combined for 15 catches, 333 yards and four touchdowns.

  • Ok fine, I’ll post one more replay of Josh Kelly against the Oregon State defense.

Seems the transfer portal isn’t hurting the Cougs too badly!

  • Oregon State had a pretty solid defense coming to the game. I stress had because it sure didn’t seem that way against WSU’s offense! And here’s where I give some due credit to the offensive line. Ward was pressured a bit, but he was only sacked one time. Also, while Saturday wasn’t a exactly a steamroller performance on the ground, WSU running backs were a lot more effective, with Watson and Jenkins averaging 5.7 yards on 13 carries. Neither of them were tackled behind the line. So, big hat tip to the uglies up front.
  • Really appreciated the unsportsmanlike conduct that helped lead to WSU’s second touchdown, Beavers. Thanks!
  • Double tight end push across the goal line worked again!
  • Underrated and also awesome - a kicker who just boots every kickoff through the end zone. Then, the one time he didn’t, he probably saved a touchdown near the end of the first half.
  • Huuuuuge Cam Lampkin tackle of Damien Martinez in the open field after he broke contain. Lampkin saved what would have been at least a 20-yard run. Instead, OSU faced third and long, then fourth and long, and didn’t convert.
  • Lampkin and Chau Smith-Wade actually led the team in tackles. Probably not great when your corners are having to make so many tackles, but both guys collected TFLs.
  • I was loving it when WSU forced OSU into passing situations and brought as much heat as possible. That included the zero blitz on 4th-and-7 after Lampkin’s stop, when Jaden Hicks sacked Uiagalelei to kill a drive. Uiagalelei is a big guy with a big arm, but he absolutely melts under pressure, and WSU did its level best to make him uncomfortable.
  • That play where Ward escaped pressure and hit a wide open Kelly for WSU’s first TD of the second half was just sublime.
  • Big fan of Jonathan Smith passing on 4th-and-1 with two running backs who combined to average SEVEN YARDS PER CARRY.
  • Related: Deshaun Fenwick has been playing college football since 2018. In that time, he’s rushed for a total of 1,777 yards. Approximately 1,760 of those have come against WSU. (for real, he averages 7.67 YPC against WSU. He has three career 100+-yard games. Two came against WSU. So why is this in the ‘Good’ category? He’s out of eligibility!
  • How ‘bout the onions on our head coach? 4th-and-10 deep in his own territory, and he calls for the fake punt! Perfectly executed, despite the doofus officials. That conversion ended in the end zone a few minutes later, and a 35-14 lead. Incredible.
  • Nusi Malani is shaping into an impact player on the defensive interior, collecting another sack on third down that forced an OSU punt and collecting five tackles.
  • Weekly bullet: Jaden Hicks is so goddamn good.
  • Tip of the cap to the left upright in the east end zone. You were crucial on Saturday!
  • If you’re an old like this writer, you remember the obligatory Matt Kegel series in 2002 when he would come in, throw some 1-yard slant pass, run a draw on 3rd-and-9, and then the punt team would come on the field! Well, the package that Ben Arbuckle has put together for John Mateer is the complete opposite of that. The Mateer plays actually work! Running! Passing! Receiving! I’m here for all of it!
  • Speaking of Mateer, I thought it was a funny moment when Dickert grabbed Mateer’s facemask on the sideline and slapped his back because Dickert was so fired up.
  • Before WSU even faced fourth down near the OSU goal line, I was hoping they’d go for it. WSU did. More later.
  • Kyle Thornton and Cooper Mathers should share Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors. Just my unbiased opinion.

The Bad

  • This whole Lee Corso internet dustup is mostly sad all around. Corso has become Ron Burgundy, reading anything that a producer puts in front of him.
  • WSU was up 7-0 before I even made it back to my hotel room. Why is this bad? Because I decided to be social for like an hour before the game began, and that was the thanks I got??!! #badfan
  • WSU tackled fairly well, but man, the defense really struggled to bring down those running backs on first contact.
  • Lincoln Victor. Please be ok. Please.
  • Mark Helfrich says, “This offense doesn’t know how to operate against this defense on 3rd-and-8.” Fast forward five seconds. Ward to Williams for 18.
  • As long as I live, I will never understand how receivers commit false starts. Happened twice!
  • Jenkins fumbles. Again. This game shouldn’t have been as close as it was. Can’t happen.
  • Dean, buddy, we really need these kicks to go in.
  • Cam Lampkin had quite an adventurous series late in the game. First he tackled Damien Martinez for a three-yard loss, then breaks up a pass to set up 4th-and-13. Then on the fourth down he gets flagged for interference (very ticky-tack but Pac-12 refs!) to keep the scoring drive alive.
  • Gotta get better at bleeding the clock at every opportunity. For example, WSU had the ball with the clock running, and snapped it with 22 seconds on the play clock. Can’t happen.
  • About that fourth down - Cam Ward and the receivers were slicing OSU to pieces. The running backs were doing well. Ward’s legs are a huge threat. So why on earth did WSU call a 50/50 fade pass? Good strategy, poor tactics.

The Ugly

  • This whole Lee Corso thing is just dumb. Sad and dumb. At this point, Corso should have been retired for several years. God bless him, he just doesn’t belong in front of a live camera. But there’s no way ESPN can tell him “no” if he wants to keep going. That’s led to Corso becoming a modern day Ron Burgundy, a guy who sits there and reads whatever is put in front of him. Here’s what Jake Dickert had to say about it.

Dickert is right (even if he misheard what Corso said), and I’m happy that he’s taking every opportunity to point out the madness and hypocrisy surrounding the Pac-12’s demise.

Now, I will say this as devil’s advocate:

  • Dickert going after a senile ESPN personality is not the best use of his ire. I mean, who the hell cares what that guy says? I understand the counter that he speaks for ESPN, and ESPN drives overarching thoughts and stories on the sport. But nobody who pays attention thinks Lee Corso has cogent thoughts on the sports anymore. He shows up for the start of the program, sits on a bus for two hours, then comes back for the last segment. And if we’re going to slice up the Pac-12 Demise Pie of Blame, Lee Corso and ESPN have a much smaller slice than the following: Larry Scott, George Kliavkoff, idiotic and myopic school presidents, and Fox. Those four entities did far more damage than ESPN (who by the way gave the Pac-12 a better offer than anyone else).
  • For years, I’ve seen coaches talk about “ignoring the noise” while stressing that “it’s about the people inside these walls, not what’s on the outside” blah blah blah. It’s no secret that coaches have always had their antennae up, regardless of the “we ignore the noise” nonsense. But when these coaches say that, it’s clear that they want it both ways.

That said, this is an uncommon circumstance. Dickert is lashing out because his school’s athletic department and his program were cast into an existential battle through no fault of their own, and he will rightly take every opportunity to defend his program and shout from the mountaintops that what’s happening is insane. And he’s right! In the big picture of all this realignment nonsense that ended with the Pac-12’s ruination, anyone who says ESPN is blameless is is full of shit. ESPN helped broker the deal that sent Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC, a rather gigantic proverbial domino.

Finally, here’s the problem with anyone defending Corso and ESPN: After he says whatever he says, he starts fake crying, Herbstreit snickers and Pat McAfee starts laughing. So even though he may have been misquoted, and even though he doesn’t belong anywhere near a TV camera, the reaction is what should have WSU fans upset. GTFO with that, you assholes. You can watch it here.

Oh, and ol’ Kirk didn’t have the same thoughts when it was his alma mater’s coach getting pissed off about an old windbag yelling on ESPN.

Aside from all his Twitter nonsense trying to defend what happened, Kirk (who pays for Twitter Blue) took the only ‘L’ on the set. Hey Kirk, tell us how our ass tastes.



Folks I’ve rewatched the highlights and we still won! May watch a few more times to be sure!

Soak this in, y’all. Every last damn drop of it. So awesome.



'We belong': No. 21 Washington State shows worth to Power 5, TV networks in win over No. 14 Oregon State | The Spokesman-Review
Washington State was hard-to-miss TV on Saturday.

Washington State defense 'made just enough' plays in win over Oregon State | The Spokesman-Review
Washington State football followers will get lost in the weeds trying to find a reason why the Cougars won Saturday based on defense.

Washington State's next men up – Josh Kelly and Kyle Williams – combined for 333 receiving yards, 4 TDs in Oregon State upset | The Spokesman-Review
hen No. 21 Washington State’s top wideout, Lincoln Victor, left Saturday’s game against No. 14 Oregon State midway through the first quarter with a lower-body injury, the Cougars quickly turned to the next man up in the receiver rotation.

Difference makers: Cam Ward, transfer receivers produce 4 TDs for No. 21 Washington State in win over No. 14 Oregon State | The Spokesman-Review
Ward threw most of the critical passes for WSU , but punter Nick Haberer played a small role in the passing game with a key fourth-down conversion in the third quarter.

No. 21 Washington State shreds No. 14 Oregon State’s defense, Cougars hold off Beavers’ late rally -
What was the nation's No. 7 defense is no more after Ward and the Cougars offense have a big day against the Beavers.

Bill Oram: Once solidarity is put on hold, Oregon State’s loss to Washington State reveals some major concerns for Beavers -
The Beavers defense played its worst game of the season at the worst time and DJ Uiagalelei looked ordinary.

College football winners, losers in Week 4: Colorado hype takes a hit, Florida State passes big test -
In four games under offensive coordinator Ben Arbuckle, Ward has thrown for 1,390 yards, 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions.

What Jonathan Smith said after Oregon State’s loss at WSU: ‘We didn’t have enough tonight’ -
Smith assesses the Beavers' performance in their 38-35 loss to the Cougars.

This Week in Parenting

I mentioned last week that Saturday was rough for the 11 year-old’s baseball team, as the Wave went 0-2, losing both games badly. What I learned was that Saturday was purely for seeding, and Sunday featured a single elimination tournament. Since the Wave were the #7 seed (out of seven!), I figured we’d be in and out after our 11 a.m. game Sunday, and I’d be home in time to catch the second half of the early NFL games. But then, we won. Hooray?Ok, well now we’re playing the #3 seed surely it’ll end here. Nope. Your final score, Wave a lot, other team a little. On to the championship.

Before first pitch, I gave in to the kiddo’s relentless onslaught and bought him a pair of those gaudy sunglasses he was pining for. #sucker. Well now that we’ve reached the title game, there’s no point in hoping to get to the couch early, so let’s win the whole thing! Except that we were playing the top seed, a team that had beaten us badly on Saturday. But wait! The Wave jump out to an early lead! Not only that, but the 11 year-old is suddenly striping the ball, getting two RBI singles. WHAT IS HAPPENING??!! WHO IS THIS TEAM??!!

It was then that little league coach went little league coach. We were leading something like 6-3 when an opposing batter ducked to avoid an inside pitch. Except that his bat stayed upright, the ball hit the bat, and the ball rolled into fair territory. Our catcher alertly jumped up and threw the ball to first for the out. So of course the six coaches on the other team (I’m not exaggerating, there were six!) lost their minds, arguing up and down that the ball hit the batter before rolling fair. I’m here to tell you that it didn’t. I saw it plain as day, and the umpire was right. One of the coaches wasn’t having it, and yelled so much that he got thrown out. Thrown out of a little league baseball game. For arguing a call that was correct. In front of pre-teens. Such exemplary conduct!

The Wave took an 8-4 lead into the last inning. And after a couple nervy moments, including a fly ball to right field that the kiddo caught while looking straight into the afternoon sun - thank god he talked me into those sunglasses! - we closed out an 8-6 victory and tournament championship. These days, they apparently give out rings instead of trophies, which I’m all for!

As we were eating dinner that night, the 11 year-old became his old self, cocky and boisterous, bragging. That led to the following exchange:

“I bet you never won a ring when you played sports, dad.”
“No. You know what the reward was for winning a tournament in my day?”
“No, what?”
“A ride home.”

That one even got Mrs. Kendall, who has put up with my nonsense for more than two decades, to lose it. Mission: Accomplished

On the JV Dolphin front, WE ARE OFFICIALLY ON A HOT STREAK!!! The ‘Fins went on the road and, after s bevy of self-inflicted wounds, found themselves trailing 14-0 at halftime. One of those scores was a pick six. It was shaping up to be that kind of a night. But like the Wave, the Dolphins had not yet begun to fight! After a score cut the lead in half, the Dolphins kicked onside, and recovered! Another touchdown drive tied the game. We’re back in it!

The opponent was wise to it now, though, putting the “hands” team in for the next kick. No matter. The Dolphins went onside again. And recovered! Again! And scored! Again! We nursed the lead down the stretch, but the opponent drove down the field in the waning moments, getting inside the red zone and threatening to steal a win. It was then that the hyper-sensitive linesman struck. In the first half, he’d flagged our coach for loudly pointing out a missed holding call. The coach didn’t say anything untoward, but this guy flagged him anyway.

Back to live action. After an incomplete pass, an opposing receiver protested that he’d been held. I guess he protested a bit too loudly, because rice paper skin ref flagged him. That backed the offense up to the 30, where a desperation pass was intercepted. Dolphins win! We’re now .500!

tl;dr despite all the usual kid and dog nonsense (poor Buda the dog was home alone for a lot longer than we planned on Sunday), the sports were good this week!


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