Vince Grippi’s Keys to the Game
What went right
Washington State freshman wide receiver Marquess Wilson showed what all the fuss was about in fall camp. The 6-foot-3, 173-pounder from Tulare, Calif., made his first appearance midway through the first quarter. His best catch and run came with 10 minutes left before the half. Jeff Tuel found him in a seam on the left sideline, he made the catch, cut inside to avoid the safety and finished off a 48-yard touchdown reception.
What went wrong
The tackling was awful, at best. “We were horrible,” WSU coach Paul Wulff said of the missed tackles. “We were absolutely terrible and we’ve worked on it all camp a tremendous amount.” Safety Tyree Toomer led the Cougars with eight tackles, seven solo, but even he missed a few. His running mate in the back line, Chima Nwachukwu added six more, highlighting the inability of the front seven to make stops.
The Cougars’ fumble on the first play of the game seems like the likely subject, but Brandon Weeden’s 42-yard perfectly thrown touchdown strike to Justin Blackmon with 9 minutes, 10 seconds left in the second quarter was just as crucial. WSU had just cut the Oklahoma State lead to 17-10. But Blackmon’s ability to screen Anthony Carpenter from the ball and make the catch killed any WSU momentum.
Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter was a force in 2008, earning All-America honors in some quarters. Last year he suffered a series of nagging injuries and just wasn’t the same guy. But he was Saturday, gashing the Cougars for 257 yards on 21 carries, a 12.2 per-carry average. He had more yards rushing than either team had passing. He moved into OSU’s top-10 career rushing list (eighth) with 2,890 yards.