COUGARS • UPDATED: 10 A.M.
We're in the San Diego airport – Lindbergh Field for those of you who know, and enjoy, your history – and we have a few minutes. So we thought we would post the Washington State stories before we get on the plane. We'll be more when we get up in the air. Read on.
• Washington State: Remember, this isn't our usual morning-after post. Just links for now. … We have our game story, notebook, keys to the game, statistics and scoring from today's S-R and this blog post from last night. … Bud Withers of the Times was in San Diego and had this column from the game along with a notebook. … Freelancer Howie Stalwick has this game story and notebook in the News Tribune. … From San Diego, there is this gamer from the Union-Tribune and one from the North County Times. …
• UPDATE: So we are now above 10,000 feet, connected to the Net and able to finish what we started in San Diego. Unlike the Cougars last night. Cheap shot, I know, but tellingly true. But we have a bone to pick with people like myself, who last night saw the 21 points WSU gave up in the fourth quarter and figured that's when the Cougars lost the game. After further review – lying in bed last night replaying the game in my head – I'm more of the mind now the Cougars lost this game by leaving too many points on the field. In the first 45 minutes. There are five series with five key unmade plays that I can point to, all of which would have led to more than the three points the Cougars got from the possessions. Let's take them in order. On the second possession of the game, which ended in Andrew Furney's 48-yard field goal, Marshall Lobbestael threw a fade route on a first-and-10 play from the San Diego State 28. Only Jared Karstetter had given the signal for a stop route – and was wide open inside the 15. Incomplete pass and the field goal. Three possessions later, the Cougars started with the ball at their 20. San Diego pressed and Karstetter took off, getting a yard or two behind the defender. Another six, except the throw was short and the connection missed. The next possession was short-circuited when Marquess Wilson dropped a well-thrown stop route that would have given the Cougars a first down inside Aztec territory. After halftime, and even after the botched blocked punt attempt, WSU had a chance to get into Aztec territory again on the next possession. But Karstetter couldn't hang on to an open out-route and a first down was lost. Finally, on the next possession, with the Cougars still ahead 24-21, Lobbestael found Wilson on a deep in, hit him in the hands in stride for big gain on third-and-18 on the fourth quarter's first play. Except the sophomore clanged it and WSU had to punt. That was the last time WSU had a chance to expand on a lead. … Now we're not passing these plays on to call anyone out or even to say they all would have been made if only Jeff Tuel was healthy. It's just that these are the type of plays the Cougars need to make if they want to go bowling. They don't have to score every possession, but they need to take advantage when the defense gives them an advantage. If those five possessions had resulted in just 15 points instead of three, the entire game is different. The Aztecs would have been forced to play a different type of offense, one that relied more on quarterback Ryan Lindley than running back Ronnie Hillman. And throughout the game they showed that wasn't their strength. … One last thing before I move on to the postgame quotes. This result may not have finished Washington State's bowl hopes – it's way too early in the season to say that – but let's just look at the math. A win and the Cougars are halfway to the requisite six wins. Now they are only a third of the way there. Winning four of nine conference games, with five on the road and six outside of Pullman, won't be easy, especially when two of the nine are Stanford and Oregon, two top-15 football teams. If there is no upsets against those schools, WSU needs to win four of the other seven. It all starts in 13 days with Colorado in Boulder. … Now on to the postgame comments after we pass along this link from CougCenter and this one from the WSU Football Blog. And some highlights, courtesy of WSU …
• Paul Wulff on the game: “We made a lot of football plays but we also gave up some football plays (in) all three phases of our game.” … “We ran into a tailback that was really, really good. The kid's a great football player.” … “We turned the ball over four times. You can't do that.” … “We had a two-score lead there halfway through the third quarter and we let that slip away. We never quite got our composure (back) after that.” … “I don't know we lacked composure but the momentum had shifted and our defense probably got a little tired.”
• Wulff on the blocked punt attempt after I asked whether that was Wulff's call: “It was a decision that was made, you know, we were in position to block the punt, you know. The kid fell short of the punter, went right at his feet, fell right on his feet and they called it right away.”
• On the inability to run the ball: “They were playing some man coverage and loading the box up at times. That forced us to have to throw it a little bit. That's when we struggled in the run game a little.”
• On Mitz not playing: “We were going with Rickey (Galvin) and Carl (Winston). It has nothing to do with Logwone at all. He's been fine, doing well but these two kids have earned the right to play. They really have had tremendous practices. They've earned the right. It just didn't work out this week for Logwone.”
• Lobbestael on Wilson: “He's a great player. Made a lot of good plays.”
• On the second half. “We just didn't execute on as high a level as we did in the first half. There were times we had opportunities and didn't make plays. We turned the ball over too much and it catches up with you in the second half in close games.”
• Chris Ball on what SDSU did different after halftime: “They just ran that power play. They ran power weak (away from the two tight ends) a lot more than they had coming in. They had been running power strong.”
• On Hillman: “He's really patient. It's not like it's a downhill power. He runs it up in there and finds lines and cracks. He's got great vision, sort of jumps around in there and finds and opening.”
• Around the Pac-12: We're not going to pass along as many links as usual because we're running low on battery power. … ESPN.com's Ted Miller passes along what we learned on Saturday…. Washington: There were a lot of comments about the officiating after the Huskies lost 51-38 at Nebraska, but Steve Kelley is having none of that. He blames the UW defense. … Keith Price says he's OK. … Oregon State: The Beavers had a bye. … Oregon: Ducks roll over overmatched Missouri State, winning 56-7. … California: The Bears make Jeff Tedford their all-time winningest coach with a 62-13 rout. … Stanford: After a slow start, the Cardinal pound Arizona 37-10. … Colorado: The Buffaloes get their offense going in a 28-14 win over rival Colorado State. … Utah: Speaking of offense, the Utes roll over BYU 54-10. … USC: The Trojans play their most complete game in routing new ACC school, Syracuse, 38-17. … UCLA: The Bruins' 49-20 home loss to Texas puts the onus on Rick Neuheisel. … Arizona State: Brock Osweiler never gets untracked in 17-14 loss at Illinois. … Arizona: The second-half roll-over really hurts in Tucson.
• That's all for now. Wulff is on a press call at 5 and then we'll be back with his thoughts and our story. Until then …
• That's it for now. We'll add more when we get airborne. Until then …