Saturday, September 20, 2008

Final Thread - WSU 48, Portland State 9


Nice to get a W. Everyone around the team will feel good about it, just to get in the W column. And for someone looking for something, anything, to be happy about, well, I'm not going to piss-n-moan about this one. It wasn't great, hardly a masterpiece, but when you rack up 640 yards and 38 first downs? After the way we started the season, I wondered if we could do that against air, let alone another football team. I'll take it. Heck, there were some that thought this was going to be a nail-biter, if not an upset loss, but things went about how we thought.

The Good: The running game was pretty much unstoppable from the first play to the last. 279 rushing yards, on 5.5 yards per carry. The o-line did a decent job of opening up holes, and the combo of Ivory, Tardy and even Mitz all averaged between 6.4 and 7.3 yards per carry.

Devin Frischknecht looked good, his best game since the Apple Cup last year with over 100 yards and a TD catch. He's been hurt early this year, but he was finally on the field for an extended time for the first time this year. We liked his upside last year, and he might be a nice option for the QB to check down to as the season goes on.

And dare I say it, but have we found our QB of the future? Marshall Lobbestael was an efficient, productive QB tonight, 9-for-12 for 149 and a couple of TD's. An impressive 12.4 yards per attempt, and best of all, NO INT'S! That's a huge problem with the other two guys, obviously, and it was continuing tonight with three first-half INT's, until they were both knocked out of the game. I know it wasn't against a top-shelf BCS opponent, but still, he looked good.

There were a couple of throws that will stand out, too, in fact three throws to the tight ends that look promising. One an over-the-shoulder fade that he threw ON THE MONEY to Frischknecht, a play that big Devin took to the house for a 53-yd TD. But he also later found Frischknecht up the seam and laid it in perfectly in a spot only Devin could go get it. Finally, he had a real nice roll-out off play action and found Tony Thompson in the flat on a perfectly thrown ball to get the ball inside the 2-yard line. Really nice job, really accurate. I understand why people were excited about him when he signed with Doba and company a few years ago. The kid looks like he has some moxie, but most of all, ACCURACY out of the QB position is a welcome sight!

The passing defense handled the run-n-shoot pretty well. 238 yards passing allowed is an OK day at the office, but the real thing to look at is the completion percentage (20-for-49), third-down efficiency (1-for-13), and just 4.9 yards per attempt with one TD pass. Plus we actually had a couple of takeaways, with a fumble recovery and a couple of INT's (and ONE that was robbed by the replay official!).

The running defense was excellent, just eight rushing yards on 11 attempts. But we knew they wouldn't be able to run the ball, as they hadn't even hinted at a running game this year. So a good thing, but not a surprise.

The Bad: The offensive line better pick up the blitz. Other teams are going to bring the house against our QB's, whoever it happens to be. Not only will the QB's need to burn the blitz and get on the same page with the WR's, but the o-line, jeez. Both hits that knocked out the QB's were blitzing linebackers, and both guys came completely IGNORED by the o-line. And that's against a 1-AA opponent? I shudder to think what Oregon's speed and energy on defense is going to do to our offense next week. Shudder I tell you!

The pass rush was weak. I know we had three sacks, but they were usually the coverage type sacks. There were far, far, far too many times when the QB had all day to throw the ball. There were a ton of three-man fronts with eight dropping into coverage, which is a good strategy against a run-n-shoot offense, but wow, are we not good up front. Next week should be a real eye opener, as Oregon's o-line is considered right there with Cal as the best in the conference.

The Ugly: PENALITES. Same as at the half, but this was a dirty, ugly game. 18 total penalties, 10 by us. Lots of defensive fouls in the secondary, late hits, etc. It got pretty chippy there a few times, but you think about it - you had a BCS team in WSU told how awful they are, while you had a 1-AA opponent playing their one and only BCS team this season, so they came in loose and free and nothing to lose. So it wasn't a good situation. Plus there is no love lost between Wulff and Glanville, as Wulff mentioned a few times he was mad at Glanville last year for standing by the EWU sideline talking to his players before their game in '07. Glanville had defeated Wulff the last few times they met, so, there might have been a little bit of a grudge here.

The INT's were ugly, ugly, ugly. Lopina really threw some bad balls, the first INT right into the teeth of triple coverage, the second just a 30-yard flutter ball thrown up for grabs. Lopina threw the ball a lot better last week, but this week, forget it. His wrist was really bothering him, or he's just got absolutely no arm. I hope it's the former, not the latter.

Rogers too, the INT at the goal line was ugly. There was no need for him to force it, as they still had a chance at points at 2nd down, a time out and 13 seconds to go. He had done well up until that point, but then morphed back into slinging it into coverage.

Now that both QB's are injured, who knows what he's out with the neck injury, who knows what he'll be able to give us the rest of the way. It's going to be an interesting week. Oregon will come in pissed after losing at home to Boise State. And they are down to their fourth or fifth string QB's right now, so we'll see. They will clearly be a big favorite, and their running game is still fantastic regardless of who or what is at QB. We will still have to take tremendous steps forward on many levels just to stay in the game with them. But we'll see how the week goes.

Finally, ENJOY THE WIN! There may not be many more of these in 2008, so, feel good while you can. Have a good night. GO COUGS!

Half-time:
WELL, that was one UGLY half. Turnovers, penalties, poor line play. Lopina is probably out for the rest of the game, so it's Gary Rogers from here on out.

The Good: The offensive line has been run-blocking extremely well. Tardy with 54 yards at the half, Ivory with 33. Both guys combined are averaging almost 5 1/2 yards per carry. I'll take that. Decent balance overall, with 251 total yards. And Rogers looked pretty comfortable when he's had time to throw the ball.

The passing defense has done well, just 114 first-half yards for a team averaging almost 400 through the air. PSU can't run the ball, just 6 rushing yards, but they barely even pretend to run it based on their scheme. But the pass defense has done well, and Hubel's only averaging 4.8 yards per attempt (that's REALLY bad).

Good job on third downs too - 1 for 7.

The Bad: Even though the passing yards have been decent, it's a bit misleading. Even before Lopina's injury, he was throwing some real wobblers. And some poor decisions on both INT's, one he forced into triple coverage. Overall just 7-for-17, less than 50%.

Not totally his fault though, as the dropsies have returned. Gibson dropped three balls in the first half. Although at least two of them were poorly thrown, still, a player like Gibson has to haul those balls down.

The offensive line better learn to pick up the blitz, and fast! Lopina was just absolutely blown up by a linebacker who came 100% free off the edge. Nobody even looked at him, and Lopina never saw it coming. And Rogers has taken some big shots already. I know the O-line is inexperienced and some shuffling has something to do with it, but wow, they look terrible against the blitz.

The d-line has barely breathed on Hubel, but, we've shown a ton of three-man fronts. We're dropping eight into coverage repeatedly, and the passing defense numbers are good, so we can get away with it for now.

The Ugly: PENALTIES have been absolutely brutal. Eight for 90 yards, and they have come at the worst times. It's pretty "chippy" on both sides, really, some late hits and such from both teams.

The INT call that was overturned was just terrible. I don't know what the hell they are watching in the booth, but every FSN replay they showed never had the ball hitting the turf. That was a hell of a catch by Justin, with one hand, and for them to over-rule the ruling on the field on something like that, without clear evidence the other way, is baffling.

The INT thrown by Rogers right before halftime was awful. 2nd down and you are already in field goal range, 13 seconds left, and you have one timeout. Why try and just fling it near the goal line? The color commentator was right, that was an awful decision.

Enjoy the second half!



Not sure if you are at the game (and judging by the attendance, it sure doesn't look like it) but we've got a game about to start. Feel free to chime in with comments.

Interesting one with Oregon and Boise State. The Ducks were getting humiliated at home 37-13, losing QB's left and right. But put in the frosh QB (and fifth stringer) and stormed back to within five pts with 2 minutes to go. But the Donkeys hang on and shock the Quack in Autzen. They'll be nice and pissed next week when they come to Pullman, won't they??

Enjoy the game.

44 comments:

Sedihawk said...

GREAT start to this one - INT on first play, then convert the short field to points on the ground. Got to push around that non-D-1 defensive line.

Anonymous said...

Nice touch Lopina on the screen and good call on the read option. We can run all day long on these guys.

PortlandCoug said...

You have no idea at the horror I will face on monday if we lose this one. Good guys 50 - PSU 13.

Sedihawk said...

Another big turnover. What a lousy exchange on the handoff!

Anyone notice all the 3-man fronts we're showing so far?

Sedihawk said...

Lopina with a brutal throw into triple coverage. So much for that.

Anonymous said...

HOW MUST WE GET SO MANY PENALTIES!!! SLOPPY.

PortlandCoug said...

Hubel is not very good. We have no business losing to these guys. We should be booted from the Pac 10 if we lose this one.

Sedihawk said...

This one is already getting a little chippy. Another personal foul. But boy, talk about penalties. That's five already on us. Awful.

Anonymous said...

I like Ivory but he still dances too much. Where's the flag on the facemask? Why even pass the rest of this game, just RUN run run they cannot stop it!

Sedihawk said...

Good point Anony. I love Ivory and he is one of out biggest threats but he does seem to try to do too much?

NICE TD by Tardy to bounce it outside, 14-3. Just run it, I couldn't agree more!

Sedihawk said...

HOW could they overturn that INT?!? The refs are absolutely brutal. It never touched the ground. Gesser is right, you have to have clear evidence that it hit the ground, but the replay showed it hit his hand. Just a terrible call.

Nuss said...

Welcome back, Andy Mattingly. Now please do that against a Pac-10 offensive lineman.

Sedihawk said...

Hey Nuss, you betcha on Mattingly! It would be nice to see him do that against a quality opponent. Although I did hear Wulff say that he's really improving at DE.

Nuss said...

Gosh, I hope so. We need him. Badly.

Boy, that was a great pass. Perhaps that wrist is bothering him more than Wulff wanted us to believe.

Sedihawk said...

Hate to say it....but wow, what a bad throw by Lopina. Deep balls are not his friend!

Anonymous said...

Lopina is not a bcs QB. Not even close.

Nuss said...

I think it's bad when the starter for the FCS school you're playing would be the starting quarterback for your school. By a long shot.

Sedihawk said...

That is now five INT's by Lopina in about four quarters of playing time this year. Yeesh. He better clean it up or else grab the clipboard and baseball hat.

PortlandCoug said...

Hubel would not start for us. He is slow and innaccurate and makes too many mistakes over full games. Id much rather have Rogers.

Anonymous said...

Lopina is launching ducks today! Those drop by Gibson shouldn't be on him, STFU Calbaro! Bad sign with the quackers dbs next week.

Sedihawk said...

LOOK OUT! That didn't look good. WOW did he get lit up.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe how poor the pass rush has been. I know it is a 3-man rush on a lot of these but we are so bad up front.

Sedihawk said...

Welcome back Xavier Hicks! That is a big-time hit.

Sedihawk said...

Couldn't agree more on the pass rush too Anony. It is non-existent, and this is a 1-AA offensive line they are facing.

Sedihawk said...

Rogers sure looks comfortable when he has time to throw. He's throwing darts right now, a lot like the end of the Baylor game.

Sedihawk said...

WOW, what a great run-n-catch by Gibson. Good throw too, got away from the corner and in front of the safety. Good blocking downfield as well. The run set that drive up though, I swear you could tell PSU we're going to run it and we'd still get five yards. I say throw it a few more possessions the rest of the quarter, then just hand the damn thing off!

Sedihawk said...

Walden is going nuts about Rogers never looking off and says that is the number-one reason he isn't starting anymore.

And Rogers just got KILLED on a late hit! Facemask to facemask. Lobbestael time.

PortlandCoug said...

Hawk, the play calling is bad. Why throw it when you are doing so good running? We have the lead, the weather sucks, and we cannot block the blitz like you said. We are getting our qb's destroyed.

Sedihawk said...

It's officially a neck injury for Gary Rogers. Bill Drake said that he did have full movement on his arms and legs, but there was enough of a neck injury that they followed protocol with the ambulance. He's headed for the hospital for CT scans.

PortlandCoug said...

This one is done. Phew. Thanks to God himself that we won or else I would have caught so much on Monday. time to flip to the ASU game.

Anonymous said...

great throw by Lobster! Nice touch.

Anonymous said...

Man our defense really sucks and Lopina is not the answer......I can not believe this game was this close.....I am starting to think we are on the bottom 10 in BCS.....very sad even considering what Wulf had to work with.....I am sorry, u have a great WR and great RB....WTF?? How can u not get them the ball?? Lets subdivide and simplify - get play makers the ball....very simple.....

Billyblaze
Reno, NV

Sedihawk said...

You are right Billy, Lopina is NOT the answer. I thought he looked a lot better last week, but he's still tossing a lot of INT's and not much arm behind him. Both guys are still throwing picks, and that just cannot continue. Let's see if they go with the redshirt frosh who at least looks like he has better accuracy than either Rogers or Lopina.

Oh, and we WERE on the bottom 10 of the ESPN "bottom 10" this week! We should sneak out of the basement, but still a LONG way to go.

atlantacoug said...

I am just happy that we beat someone whom we are supposed to beat....with a score that looks like it should. But they way we treated PSU is how the rest of PAC-10 is going to treat us. There might be a surprise or two, but the only games left on schedule where I like our chances are UW and Hawaii. That ain't good.

Oklahoma Cougar said...

What a lousy to thing to say ANON... You're happy that a guy has a broken vertebrae. And a COUG no less...

This is despicable.

Sedihawk said...

That was pathetic anonymous, and your comment has been removed. Being happy for someone's injuries is the lowest point for any sports fan. It's your life, and if you want to feel joy for one of your own suffering a serious injury, that's your deal. Just don't come here and say that. Please be a stranger.

Sedihawk said...

Oh, and ATL, yeah, we did to them what's been done to us this year. But let's not completely lay down for the rest of the season. Look around the conference, and you can see there are issues with almost every team. We might catch a few napping. But nobody can really argue that outside of USC, the quality of the conference is way down this year. Last week with the worst week ever, and now yesterday with Oregon losing at home to Boise State JC? I don't think it's such a lead pipe cinch that we are doomed for defeat the rest of the way.

Anonymous said...

I'm not the Anonymous who apparently had his post removed ... wouldn't say something about wanting a player to get hurt (not even a Husky!).

Good win by the Cougs. Hard to go wrong with tying a school record for first downs. Except for the bad pass blocking and our QBs throwing it to the other team, I thought we looked okay.

Still need to do a LOT to stay in the game this coming week. The Ducks will be POed and I would hate to see a bunch of Duck fans yucking it up in our stadium in their hideous bright yellow jackets. Let's hope it's a good game this coming weekend.

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