When previewing last Saturday’s game I was surprised to see how high Utah’s Travis Wilson ranked nationally in both YPA and TD% (3rd and 5th). Even though he only had 58 attempts on the year, it made me nervous since those stats were near on par with Marcus Mariota's before he torched the Cougar defense.
Mike Breske’s bunch brought Wilson and the Utah passing offense back to Earth on Saturday. Wilson threw zero touchdowns, passed for 4.1 yards per attempt and in one game went from top 5 nationally in both categories to 33rd in YPA and 23rd in TD %.
As Jeff Nusser pointed out, comebacks like this are very rare, but WSU had a chance because aside from Devonte Booker’s 76-yard scamper the defense played lights out.
If Booker’s touchdown run is excluded, the Cougar defense gave up just 2.9 yards per carry rather than 4.8. On top of that, they allowed zero points in the red zone. The defense kept forcing three and outs and giving Connor Halliday and the Cougar offense opportunities to do their job.
Jamal Morrow and Gerard Wicks combined for 104 yards rushing, River Cracraft did River Cracraft things (9 catches, 126 yards) and Vince Mayle and Robert Lewis combined to make my favorite play so far of 2014.
Five games in to 2014 and the Cougar Air Raid is rolling, having gained 2,665 yards. The Cougar offense had only gained 1,893 yards in 2012 and 1,940 yards in 2013 after 5 games. Mike Leach, y’all.
After the game against Rutgers I was frustrated with this defense and their coaches, after Nevada I felt the same toward the offense. After Utah I can’t help but smile looking at how they continue to progress and turned that progression into a well-earned, memorable victory. Let’s pack Martin Stadium and get to 3-3.
One note on the views, I’m trying something new with recaps and the dashboards comparing the offense and defense show each team’s per game stats heading into the game for the season and how they performed in the game.