Vince Grippi’s Keys to the Game: WSU vs. California

SUNDAY, NOV. 7, 2010

What went right

The running game resulted in 144 positive yards, with Logwone Mitz and Jeff Tuel combining for all but 17 of those. Mitz, the 6-foot-1, 230-pound junior, ran hard between the tackles, including a 10-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Tuel, calling his own number at least 10 times, showed the ability to elude tacklers. The Cougars have tried to limit Tuel’s rushes, but with the season winding down, gave him the ball.

What went wrong

Washington State’s offensive line did run block better, but the pass protection broke down all too often again. Tuel was sacked six times (resulting in 39 yards of losses), hurried many more times and forced to scramble on occasion. The Cougars’ offensive line was also called for an illegal chop block, two false starts and a hold – declined – on a sack. The pressure showed, as Tuel struggled finding receivers.

Turning point

WSU led 10-7 at the half and got the ball to start the third quarter. Two runs left it with a third-and-4 on its 26. A screen right was called and seemed set up for success, but Tuel never had a chance to throw the ball. The snap was at his feet, he couldn’t handle it and the onrushing defensive linemen snowed him under. Though Reid Forrest booted a 49-yard punt, the Bears covered the 65 yards in four plays to take the lead for good.

Difference maker

If it weren’t for Bryan Anger, it would probably have been WSU senior Forrest. The senior was called on to punt eight times and averaged 48.5 yards. His best was his last, with a little more than 2 minutes left. With WSU at its 16, Forrest’s punt hit inside the Cal 20, took two hops and went into the end zone. The 84-yarder was the second best in WSU history. Cal’s Anger punted five times for a 47.6 average, including a long of 53.

Click here to comment on this story »