Halftime and the Cougars trail by 19, if my math is right – and it better be or someone will complain. Last year at the half it was 31-0, so there has been a 12-point improvement. Read on for thoughts on the first half.
• So how have the Cougars done as it relates to my three pregame keys. … They haven’t been able to limit Toby Gerhart (62 yards on 13 carries) all that much, though there have been individual moments. The goal-line stand comes to mind. … Passing the ball hasn’t worked all that well (the two quarterbacks are 8 of 14 combined for 86 yards), mainly because they haven’t had the time. … Finally, they are taking care of the ball, though Dwight Tardy probably fumbled near the goal line, but it worked like a turnover when Nico Grasu missed the short field goal.
• The key points: Kevin Lopina and Marshall Lobbestael split the time, though Lobbestael had three possessions to Lopina’s two. The Cougars moved the ball much better with Lopina at the controls, so I expect he will run the offense to start the second half – WSU gets the ball. … James Montgomery is the real deal and Tardy has run well at times too. … Tony Thompson made two catches that were better than anything WSU had last year. … The lack of points at the end of the 19-play, 85-yard drive really hurt. Duh. … Alex Hoffman-Ellis probably should have made the interception during the Cardinal’s last touchdown drive. It’s that playmaker thing again. … The long touchdown pass was a combination of Brandon Jones losing his footing and LeAndre Daniels taking a bad angle. Plus there was no one else on the defense that could have run Chris Owusu down. … Andy Mattingly showed once again, on the fourth-down play near the goal line, he still has great straight-line speed.
• That’s it for now. We’ll be back later. Until then …