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WSU football vs. Southern Utah: Revisiting the One Thing

Did we see what we wanted to see from the Cougs in the game on Saturday? Let's look back.

William Mancebo

Each week, I record a video akin to a vlog in which I tell you about Three Things I want to see from WSU in its game that weekend. They aren't keys to the game; rather, they are things that -- if I see them -- will make me feel good about the direction the team is heading. I tend to think globally.

(Sometimes, though, they sound an awful lot like keys, so I wouldn't blame you if you get confused.)

The video is to the right if you missed it on Saturday; I modified to include just one thing. Here's how I thought the team graded out.

Total utter domination?

The final scoreline looked pretty good -- 48-10 -- and the Cougs handled the Thunderbirds with relative ease. While WSU was a little bit slow out of the gate, it's not like it ever really felt like SUU was going to seriously threaten to win the game. To compare it to last year for just a moment, Eastern Washington made enough plays down the field to look dangerous, but SUU was just moving slowly and surely with a lot medium runs and short throws.

It just didn't feel like it was the sort of thing that was sustainable, and because of that, WSU never truly felt threatened.

However, I don't know that anyone would classify that performance as "total utter domination." It looked to me like the defensive line was getting shoved around a little bit, something we didn't see a whole lot the first two weeks against vastly superior offensive lines. There wasn't really pass rush early on, either.

It did change, as Mike Breske started working in some blitzes and using new starting Buck Kache Palacio in exotic ways, which is what allowed WSU to cruise in the end. But SUU ran 64 plays to WSU's 65, largely a function of the Thunderbirds' ability to move the ball for stretches.

Additionally, while the offense was able to come up with some big plays, there were times when it seemed to sputter a little. The Cougs averaged "only" 7.1 yards per play, which is obviously very good, but not on par with what WSU did to Idaho State (8.3) and UNLV (7.9) in 2011.

To be truthful, it appeared WSU was treating this as a preseason game at times, throwing the ball against fronts that begged for a run in a short-yardage situation and mixing in a lot of personnel (Leon Brooks as an inside receiver on the first drive?), which perhaps is to blame for the fact that WSU didn't score an offensive touchdown over more than a quarter's worth of game time from the second to third quarters. But the net result was an offense that was merely very good, rather than dominant.

Not quite total utter domination on Saturday. But still pretty darn good.


Your turn. What did you hope to see, and did you see it? And do you agree or disagree with my assessment of WSU's level of dominance on Saturday?