Vince Grippi’s Keys to the Game: WSU vs. UCLA
What went right
UCLA’s defense has been playing well, and it befuddled Washington State’s offense in the first quarter. But once Jeff Tuel and WSU’s spread starting clicking, the Cougars moved the ball at will, piling up 349 yards of total offense in the final three quarters. Eighteen of Tuel’s 20 completions went to wide-outs and he was not intercepted. He also brought the Cougars back from a 14-point deficit to lead by eight.
What went wrong
When a team yields 437 yards rushing, allows the opponent to go 99 yards for a fourth-quarter score and later gives up a clinching drive all on the ground, it’s obvious the run defense is not working. The Bruins played a part, as their pistol offense has worked well the past few weeks, but WSU once again had trouble tackling. “There were some things that weren’t very good, but there were some things that were better,” coach Paul Wulff said.
This one was obvious. It was when WSU had first-and-goal from the 1 with the score tied at 28 early in the fourth quarter and didn’t score. First Tuel tried a sneak. Then he ran a bootleg right that was supposed to be a pass-run option, but the back went the wrong way. Still, he was ruled in but the call was overturned. An incomplete pass and James Montgomery’s unsuccessful run capped it and WSU turned it over on downs.
This was a two-headed beast wearing UCLA blue. Running backs Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman gashed WSU for 402 yards combined. Franklin had a career-high 216 on 30 carries, for a 7.2 average. Coleman made that average look puny, going off for 185 yards, also a career high, on just 15 carries, a 12.3 average. Overall, the Bruins ran for 437 yards, averaging 7.8 yards every time they ran the ball.