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 …