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WSU’s loss to Stanford, the morning after

COUGARS

When I was in high school 40 years ago, we had an old Catholic priest who sobered up us freshmen real quick after we received our first quarter report cards. He said (cue deep Irish accent), “It's only a halftime score.” I thought of Father Cyril last night as I sat down to write the story of what happened to Washington State in its game with seventh-ranked Stanford. What Father Cyril was saying, and most of us were almost smart enough to understand, was those quarter grades, like football game halftime scores, mean nothing. Nowhere in the record books is a listing of who won the first half. The final score was, and is, what matters. In WSU's case Saturday night, that final score read Stanford 44, Cougars 14. Read on.


••••••••••

• Washington State: The rain is dripping off the deck as we sit down to write this morning blog post, an appropriate backdrop after the Cardinal poured it on after halftime against WSU yesterday. Instead of boring you with my thoughts about such mundane items as starting Jeff Tuel (the right choice) or the Stanford pressure (sometimes it looked as there was no outlet receiver for Tuel to dump the ball to) or the defense in the second half (WSU sorely missed Adam Coerper and Lenard Williams at defensive end and Sekope Kaufusi at linebacker, though Chris Ball said Chester Su'a played well), we'll get right to the links. There are a lot of them and they cover what happened so well, there doesn't seem to be a need for much more discussion. After the links, we have quotes. … Here's our game story as it appeared in this morning's S-R, along with a notebook John Blanchette and I put together. There is also John's column, the scoring, the statistics and my four keys. … Bud Withers of the Times has a column from the game and a notebook. … Freelancer Howie Stalwick has a game story and a notebook in the News Tribune. … A game report from CougCenter. … Now on to the quotes. …

• Paul Wulff on the pass protection: “We didn't block real well at times and at times we didn't get in the right protection.”

• On the drops and whether a new quarterback was part of the problem: “There's got to be some reason I guess. It was really unfortunate because it stopped us a number of times.” … “I think it can, some people would probably think not.” … “Had a thought before the game (it might happen) because balls come at you different. “It's different than what you've been working on in practice.” … “Surprised how much it was to a degree.”

• On Andrew Luck: “The first half Andrew Luck looked like a good football player. In the second half he looked like a great football player.”

• Defensive coordinator Chris Ball on the two halves: “That's sort of been their MO, to wear you down. They've been really strong in the second half all year long. Tried to prepare the guys mentally for it all week. But I don't think we got wore down. It didn't look like it on the sidelines.”

• On the difference: “They made plays in the second half and we didn't. We need to get off the field on third down. We tried to pressure him, didn't get him.”

• On the tight ends getting downfield: “We talked about having great eyes all week and then they get you on the play action and get behind you. You're going to get hurt.”

• On how the defense played: “First half was great. Besides the score, I could have ended it right there. We just didn't carry it over into the second half.”

• On pressuring Luck: “You just can't get to him.” … “Travis Long was getting close, but we just couldn't get him. Not many people have. We tried.”

• Defensive tackle Anthony Laurenzi on the second-half momentum swing: “They scored on us right away we just lost momentum. We were pumped going into the locker room. I feel like we got flat after that touchdown.”

• On the breakdowns in the second half: “The defense was out there a lot.” … “The offense, I feel like they supply the spark, with a long touchdown. We just didn't have that. It reflected throughout the game.”

• Safety Deone Bucannon on the two halves: “I feel the second half was a lot different. How, I'm not sure, maybe we didn't come out with as much intensity as we did in the first half, or something happened, I'm not sure. That's no excuse. We should come out strong all throughout the game.”

• On if the offensive struggles wears on the defense: “Of course it does, especially with a team like this. That's no excuse. We signed up for this. We need to go out there and make our offense right. Get the ball back for them.”

• On Stanford being able to play hurry up: “Sometimes we would get our personnel out later and they would already be on the ball and gash us.”

• Stanford coach David Shaw on whether the hit on Chris Owusu was with the defender's helmet: “Doesn't matter what he leads with. If there is contact on our guy's head, then it should be a penalty. That's what I explained on the sideline, but we will see how that plays out in film.”

• On the halftime attitude: “I wasn't concerned, I was mad. I was upset. I said if we come back and play our style of football, then we will win by three touchdowns.”

• On Stepfan Taylor's fumble: “I want to say that was probably the third of his career – from a guy that is a true junior. … There was nobody more upset about it than him, and he came back and ran like it.”

• Quarterback Andrew Luck on the first half: “First, they played good defense. Then little mistakes – my part especially. I'm not putting the ball where it needs to be, or stepping up, or making the right checks. They're correctable things, I think all of them are, as we showed in the second half.”

• On his interception: “It was underthrown. When a guy beats them off the ball as bad as Jamal did and the corner has a chance to catch up, it means the quarterback under threw it, which I did. Bad ball.”

•••

• Around the Pac-12: ESPN.com's Ted Miller gives out his helmet stickers. … The Los Angeles Times takes a look at the Moneyball aspect of Pac-12 sports. … The continuing shake up of the nation's conferences has folks shaking their heads. … Washington: The Huskies rout Colorado 52-24 and look like one of the nation's better teams, with one of the better offenses, while doing it. So how good are they? … Oregon State: The Beavers don't look like one of the better teams after their 38-28 home loss to BYU. OSU missed ample opportunities to take control of the game. … Oregon: It looks as if the Stanford/Oregon showdown will be for all the Pac-12 marbles, if the Ducks have a team left by then. They lose quarterback Darron Thomas in 41-27 defeat of Arizona State. … California: Nothing. … Stanford: Despite the outstanding second half for Luck and the Cardinal tight ends, despite playing without one of their playmakers, the win probably won't help the Cardinal in the polls. … Colorado: The road woes continue for the Buffs, as does a tough season. … Utah: The Utes' defense does a number on Pitt and Utah overcomes a handful of special teams mistakes to win 26-14. … USC: Nothing. … UCLA: Nothing. … Arizona State: Despite playing backups in crucial positions, Oregon has too much speed for the Sun Devils. … Arizona: Nothing.

•••

• That's all for this morning. We'll be back following Wulff's press conference tonight. Until then …


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