The Washington State Cougars had no trouble with the Colorado State Rams, taking care of business with a 38-7 victory.
WSU (3-0) controlled the game from the start, never letting CSU (0-3) really get within reach. The Cougars scored on a Cam Ward touchdown pass on each of their first four possessions of the game, taking a 28-0 lead into the halftime break. WSU tacked on a field goal to open the second half and closed it with a Kannon Katzer-fueled drive, ending in a Katzer touchdown.
With the win, WSU is already halfway to bowl eligibility and completes a perfect sweep on non-conference foes. Daiyan Henley continues to accent into superstardom, notching 13 more tackles, three sacks and forcing two fumbles. He headlines a defense that only allowed 35 points in their first three games — the lowest points allowed in the Cougars first three games since 1994 when they only allowed 12 points to Illinois (9), Fresno State (3) and UCLA (0).
The dominant victory over the Rams was much needed. WSU’s offense had only scored 38 points in their first two games against Idaho and Wisconsin, and they put some of those doubts to rest in the first 12 minutes of the game. After a quick three and out to begin the game, Colorado State punted the ball away but didn’t get too much on it, giving the Cougs the ball at the Rams 46 yard line. A 23-yard carry from Nakia Watson and two strikes from Ward to Donovan Ollie later, the Cougs took the early 7-0 lead. A near exact replica of each team’s opening drives unfolded on the next two possessions. A short punt from the Rams preceded a five-play drive ending in another fade to the corner of the west end zone, this time hauled in by De’Zhaun Stribling to make it 14-0. The Rams finally began to raise some eyebrows on their next drive, moving 48 yards into WSU territory on 10 plays, but they couldn’t knock a 44-yard field goal home.
Watson then gashed through the Ram defense for a 39-yard carry, and two plays later, it was Ward to Stribling again in the west end zone for a dominant 21-0 first quarter lead.
CSU again put together a long drive, but again couldn’t capitalize. A botched snap led to a long sack finished off by Ron Stone Jr. to put the Rams out of field goal range. WSU again drove down the field for a fourth touchdown, going at a much more methodical pace: 13 plays, 82 yards in just over five minutes ended in Ollie’s second touchdown grab and Ward’s fourth passing touchdown of the game.
The Rams got another chance to get the on the board in the first half for the first time all year after a Ward fumble near the end of the second quarter. CSU elected to go for it on fourth and three at the WSU 28 with 10 seconds to go, but Millen would be sacked and the Cougars would go into the half up 28-0.
After such a dominant first half, the Cougars appeared to take their foot off the gas in the second half. Dean Janikowski put a 22-yard field goal through the uprights on the opening second half drive, but that would be one of the rare positives of the half.
WSU’s next three drives resulted in two punts with a turnover on downs sandwiched in between. The Rams finally got onto the board with 11:07 left in the game with a 14-yard touchdown pass that looked all too easy. WSU again looked sloppy on the next possession, culminating in an interception as Ward tried to throw the ball across his body into coverage. Thankfully, the defense stepped up again, sacking Millen on a fourth and five with 7:26 to go. The Cougars put together a long six and a half minute drive to punch in their only touchdown of the second half, locking up a 38-7 win.
With non-conference play out of the way, the Cougars turn their attention to the Pac-12, welcoming in an Oregon Ducks team that just routed the 12th ranked BYU Cougars at home, 41-27.