Vince Grippi’s Keys to the Game
What went right
In the final 15 minutes, Washington State scored 16 unanswered points. It’s been almost a calendar year since the Cougars have rallied like that, and that was in their last victory, a 30-27 overtime win against SMU. Interceptions also played a big part in that one, with Myron Beck and Alex Hoffman-Ellis both returning picks for scores. This time neither scored, but Beck’s interception seemed to turn on a switch for WSU.
What went wrong
WSU started last week with a fumble on its first offensive play. The Cougars started this week with Jeff Tuel throwing an ill-advised interception, giving Montana State the ball at the WSU 23 and leading to three points. Tuel made the right check, coach Paul Wulff said, but made the wrong choice, trying to hit Jared Karstetter on the outside when the middle was open. It was the first of three WSU turnovers, leading to nine Bobcat points.
It was Beck’s late third-quarter interception, but in hindsight a tackle made two plays before was even more important. Orenzo Davis, who led MSU with 67 rushing yards, burst through a hole in the middle, made Justin Clayton miss and seemed destined to run 68 yards for a game-clinching score. But cornerback Daniel Simmons was able to reach out his right arm and trip the junior, saving a sure score and a 29-7 MSU lead.
James Montgomery doesn’t believe he is as fast as he was before his injury. And maybe he isn’t. But he’s still WSU’s best hope to break a big run, something he did early in the second quarter. Running what offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy calls an outside zone play to the left, Montgomery found a seam inside and busted down the sideline for 70 yards. The play was blocked well at the point of attack by David Gonzales and Andrew Roxas.