With spring practices winding down for the Washington State Cougars, defense dominated the day in the 2021 Crimson and Gray Game, as Gray (defense) “beat” Crimson (offense) by a score of 74-37 using coach Nick Rolovich’s customized scoring system:
It’s not unusual for the defense to have the upper hand in these games, given that the personnel rotation that’s typical of a scrimmage tends to have less effect on defensive assignments than it does on the timing — and, in the case of the Run and Shoot, WR/QB reads — of the offense.
That was exacerbated by this list of guys who didn’t suit up:
As has become de rigueur over the past few years, all eyes were on the quarterbacks, given the lack of an entrenched starter. Jayden de Laura remains suspended after his arrest for DUI in February, and it wasn’t a banner day for the rest of the crew.
Tennessee transfer Jarrett Guarantano got the nod for the first series, and he lasted all of one disastrous play:
Right after the ball comes out of Guarantano’s hand, you can see his arm pop back quickly as if he hurt his hand/wrist. pic.twitter.com/9Z9Vk5r1vB— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) April 24, 2021
The throw was bad, but the follow through was worse, as he seemed to catch his thumb on the back of center Brian Greene, who had been driven back into his throwing lane. Rolovich said after the game that he didn’t believe the injury was serious.
That left an opportunity for Cammon Cooper to get plenty of run, and he was inconsistent with the opportunity. He was 14-of-25 for 168 yards, two TDs and an interception. While the overall numbers were so-so, he did have a pair of pretty fades at the goal line for touchdowns:
Other quarterbacks who saw action included Victor Gabalis (10-of-20, 100 yards, 1 interception) and freshman early enrollee Xavier Ward (9-of-16 for 133 yards). Of the three guys who played the most, it was Ward who was the most interesting, flashing a good arm and plenty of athleticism.
As a group, they were 33-of-62 for 381 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Yikes.
One of the few guys on offense who looked to be in anything approaching midseason form was senior running back Deon McIntosh, who ripped off 38 yards on just 5 carries.
Kannon Katzer led the team with 71 rushing yards on 9 carries with two touchdowns, in case you were wondering just how deep into the roster WSU had to go in order to field a pair of running backs. He did have this very nice run:
Defensive back Armauni Archie had the best statistical day, leading the defense in tackles with six and also picking off a pass.
Hunter Escorcia, Marquise Freeman and Nathaniel James each had five tackles, while Justus Rogers and Jaylen Watson also had interceptions.
I think Max Borghi captured the spirit well:
Borghi is watching the game the same way we all are pic.twitter.com/2y7OTZwfEX— Emma Weightman (@emmaweightwoman) April 24, 2021
The Cougs have two more practices this week before the end of spring workouts.
Oh, and this is how the game started. Pretty hilarious.