For the sixth time this season, the Washington State Cougars played a football game. For the sixth time, WSU won that football game. As per usual, there were standout performances throughout. The bulk of the players who had great games came from the defense, and only one came from an otherwise forgettable special teams performance.
How great did the defense play on Saturday against the Oregon Ducks? Consider this, courtesy of Chris Vannini at The All-American (shameless plug - this is a pay website and is absolutely worth the money):
The Ducks’ 10 points were their fewest in a game since 2009 at Boise State (8). It was their fewest in a Pac-12 game since 2008 at USC.
So yeah, next time someone says that Oregon didn’t play well on offense because of the Justin Herbert injury, shove that one in their face.
Honorable Mention: Kyle Sweet - While the offense didn’t exactly set the place on fire, they still put up 30+ points. Sweet led the team in both catches and receiving yards, with seven for 86. His 38-yarder on the first drive of the 3rd quarter set the Cougs up for a Renard Bell touchdown and got them a nice two-score cushion.
2nd Runner-Up: Hunter Dale
Dale kind of came out of nowhere and turned in a outstanding performance Saturday night. I don’t ever recall him impacting a game like he did against Oregon. The junior from New Orleans posted a career-high 10 tackles, with three tackles for loss and one sack. Dale even forced a fumble that Robert Taylor recovered, which led to a WSU field goal. Heckuva game, Hunter.
1st Runner-Up: Frankie Luvu
One of these days, I’ll come to my senses and realize that my personal man-crush deserves a spot atop these weekly awards. If another guy hadn’t turned in such a great performance, Frankie definitely would have been the winner. Luvu was also living in the Oregon backfield, collecting two TFLs, including one sack.
One play stuck out to me, so I made sure to look it up. WSU led 13-10 in the 2nd quarter, and Royce Freeman had just ripped off his longest carry of the day, 26 yards. Two plays later, Oregon faced 3rd-and-1 at the WSU 34. Needing one yard, Oregon again handed the ball to Freeman (who is pretty big/fast/good). Luvu met him in the hole and completely stoned him. It was man-to-man, and Luvu won it. I sat there with my mouth agape as Oregon tried again on 4th down, but Jahad Woods and the aforementioned Hunter Dale stuffed Taj Griffin. Cougar ball. Cougar win.
Winner: Erik Powell
Until Saturday, Erik Powell’s longest field goal was 47 yards. In 2016, Powell hit just nine of his 15 attempts. So when a WSU drive stalled at the Oregon 35 and Powell jogged onto the field, I voiced my displeasure at the impending miss. My wife (bless her naive little heart) chided me and told me he’d make it. Well whaddaya know, he made it! It was a no-doubter too, right down the pipe with room to spare.
If that wasn’t enough, Powell equaled his previous career high with a 47-yard kick in the 3rd quarter. For the game, Powell was 4-for-4 and none of his kicks left a doubt. This season, Powell has only missed once, on an attempt that was blocked. He is 12-of-13 overall, and he played a huge part (punting aside) in the WSU victory. Congratulations, Erik. You earned this one.
Who was WSU’s Player of the Week?
This poll is closed
All of Oregon’s injuries but let’s not mention WSU’s injuries, right announcers?