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Vince Grippi’s Keys to the WSU Game

What went right

The passing connection of Marshall Lobbestael to Marquess Wilson. They teamed on an 80-yard bomb to open the game, then opened the second half with a 78-yard connection that was really a combination of a 1-yard pass, two great blocks from Isiah Barton and Jared Karstetter, and Wilson’s speed. Lobbestael finished with a career-high 368 passing yards, 236 of them to Wilson, also a career high.

What went wrong

We could turn to the final 25 minutes but instead we’ll look at WSU’s running game. Using Rickey Galvin and Carl Winston almost exclusively – usual starter Logwone Mitz did not get on the field, which according to Paul Wulff was a coaching decision based on Galvin’s and Winston’s play – the Cougars, who came in averaging 5.7 yards per carry, averaged 1.8 in this one. Part of that were the six sacks for a loss of 44 yards, but not all of it.

Turning point

This one is easy to pinpoint. Coming into the game, the Cougars thought they could get at least one of Brian Stahovich’s punts and, leading 24-14, they went for the knock-out blow on a fourth-and-3 at the San Diego State 38 early in the third quarter. They didn’t get it, and were instead flagged for roughing the kicker. The Aztecs went down the field after the flag, scored and rode the momentum

for the rest of the game.

Difference makers

There was really only one. Aztecs running back Ronnie Hillman was as advertised, especially on his late 59-yard TD run. The sophomore finished with 32 carries for 191 yards, and many of those came after absorbing the first hit. “We all know he can jump sideways, make people miss and outrun people,” said SDSU coach Rocky Long,

“but what you saw tonight was when he was corralled in there … he moved the piles forward.”