Ow, that one hurt just to watch. Stanford is big, mean and pretty violent for a bunch of eggheads that live in paradise. That actually brings me to my first thought, which is after the jump.
-- Now let me preface this thought by saying that I we don't get 10 replays from every angle and I may change my mind after watching the game on a TV. But I don't think the officiating was one-sided. Yes, the Stanford players got away with a fair bit of targeting (and some of the ball spots early on were absurd) but the WSU defensive backs also looked like they got away with interference on more than a couple passes downfield, some of which could have been pretty critical plays for the Cardinal. There were two plays in particular where the anemic crowd got quite animated and I didn't think they were wrong either time. But what I will say is that if the officials are going to "let them play" that's naturally going to favor the Cardinal. Washington State starts three freshman and a sophomore in its secondary, Stanford starts two seniors and a junior. The Cardinal defensive backs average a hair over 200 pounds, the WSU defensive backs average almost 179. With that kind of size and age difference a physical game is naturally going to favor the bigger team, and that's what I saw tonight.
-- I don't think the WSU offensive line played very well early on, but I think they dug in and got better instead of tucking their tails between their legs. They're not going to face a front seven this good again this year, and they'll probably be better for the experience.
-- That being said, it's a win for WSU that Halliday survived. He was sacked four times, but was hit seemingly four times every drive.
-- To answer a question I'm getting online, yes, Dom Williams did play. He didn't play much and he didn't record a catch, but he got in sparingly.
-- It's a good time for a WSU bye week. Seven consecutive games is going to be rough on any team, much less one that is still fighting depth issues, and a chance to get guys like Charleston White, Rickey Galvin, Kristoff Williams, Dom Williams, etc. healthy isn't a small thing. It will also be good for guys like Halliday and the offensive line to have a few days off their feet, physically and mentally. The Cougars are 2-5, they are what they are, but their toughest games are behind them and now they can take a breather before trying to claw back into bowl contention.
-- Quentin Breshears sure rebounded well after missing that kick against Cal. His 46-yarder in the third quarter was a great kick.
-- Stanford really seemed like the ideal team to counter WSU's Air Raid. Not only do they get after the quarterback, but the Cardinal tackle as well as any team I've seen. Yards after catch/contact are a big part of what makes the Air Raid so successful, and Stanford did a great job of closing in on the receiver and bringing him to the ground immediately. That forces the WSU offense to attempt more plays per drive and increases the chances that it will make a mistake.