Shawshank Redemption was on my mind heading into Friday’s game as it really felt as though the Coug’s bowl hopes would be revived or put to the sword depending on the result.
After the game (and with Halloween approaching) I was more reminded of a 30 Rock sketch with Tracy Morgan. It’s an odd sketch, but the punch line is a song, the chorus singing "Wearwolf Bar Mitzvah, spooky scary, boys becoming men, men becoming wolves."
The Stanford defense was giant, they have made the transition from boys to men, and they roamed like a pack of wolves devouring yards after the catch and harassing Connor Halliday all night long.
Coming into Friday the offensive line had gone 90 passing attempts without giving up a sack and was averaging 32 drop backs per sack on the year. Stanford was sacking the QB every 10 throws, but got to Halliday every 18 pass attempts and sacked him 4 times.
Our young o-line played hard, but couldn't give Halliday enough time to go to work, resulting in the lowest YPA (4.2) and yards per play (3.3) of the Leach era.
Stanford’s defense is exceptional; they lead the nation in YPA allowed (4.3 YPA per game) and yards per play (3.64), so a huge offensive performance wasn't expected. All that to say, tip of the cap to the Stanford defense, but I’m confident WSU gets back on track and am not worried about the Cougar offense performing from here on out.
What is scary is the Cougar defense. Kevin Hogan had his best game since facing UC Davis in Week 1 and the Cardinal, who were averaging 3 plays per game over 20 yards, busted ot eight against the Cougs. The result? Stanford posted its highest yards per play versus an FBS opponent this season.
Mike Breske and the Cougar defense will have two weeks to prepare for Arizona and their sixth-ranked defense. If there is going to be any Pullman magic on October 25, it will be because the Cougar defense gets some stops to give River Cracraft, Vince Mayle and company a couple more possessions to work.