Last week I offered up some sleep-deprived thoughts after I had to get up early following a late-night WSU loss. Turns out, I have a knack for not getting much sleep after Cougar football, even when it is the weekend. This time, though, it was my own stupid fault.
The game got over around 2 a.m. local time, but I actually had stuff to do after. Not a fun thing like meeting friends for a late-night drink, I had actual real-life work to do. I had a deadline that needed to be met, on something I could certainly have finished earlier.
The funny thing is that the project is something I'm really proud of, an opportunity for which I'm excited. But that doesn't matter, perhaps my worst tendency (procrastination) left me wrapping up the work sitting in a sad Cougar football jersey on my sad couch at sad 4 a.m.
And because I'm a big fan of lazy analogies when I write them, my own experience with this project sure does remind me of the Cougs last night, because they did their own stupid crap that ruined what should have been a happy experience.
For much of the game, I held the hope that the Cougars would click and eventually overpower Nevada. After an easy 5-play, 80-yard drive pulled WSU to within 14-7 midway through the second quarter, it looked that was going to happen. Even the next drive looked great, up until a second-and-goal from the 3-yard-line was turned into a second-and-goal at the 8-yard-line by a false start penalty. An obvious defensive holding wasn't called in the endzone on third down and we had our justification for the drive stalling.
That was 10 points in two quick drives. Suddenly it was 14-10 going into halftime and I felt that we were in the middle of the inevitable Cougar run. Little did I know that the false start on second down was a sign of things to come--hinting at WSU's worst tendency, it's "waiting until after a football game that ends at 2 a.m. to finish a project," if you will.
The opening drive of the second half saw the Cougs once gain driving with ease. Chunk plays had them quickly inside the red zone. But then a holding penalty came, bringing up a first and 20 from which WSU couldn't recover. A field goal was missed.
Nevada and WSU traded punts, then Washington State was back to its attacking ways, using seven plays to move back inside Nevada's 20-yard-line. On cue, a holding penalty brought up another first and 20 from which WSU couldn't recover. A field goal was missed.
A defense that had been doing all it could to hold down Nevada as the offense struggled broke, and the Cougs were down double-digits in the fourth quarter. A big drive was desperately needed.
And it seemingly came with four plays to the Nevada 19. WSU faced a crucial third and 7, and even if it failed at that distance, it would seem that a fourth down try would come to keep hope for a touchdown alive. Instead, a false start is called, pushing the Cougs back outside of the redzone and in a much-more difficult position. Incomplete pass. New kicker makes a field goal.
Nevada drives down for a field goal of its own that, for all intents and purposes, ends the game.
If you were keeping score at home (don't, they have free box scores all over the internet), you'll know that between WSU's first touchown and Nevada's game-clinching field goal, the Cougars drove into the redzone four times. Four drives that amassed 191 yards but produced just six points--thanks to that frustrating, stupid tendency to commit back-breaking penalties.
There were a lot of stupid things about that football game last night, as Mark detailed in the recap, but the Cougars being so consistent in the way they failed inside the redzone was probably the stupidest.