Washington State’s Phillip Glover said hello and goodbye to a fraternity brother on Saturday, all on one bone-crushing hit in the second quarter.
Glover, a reserve linebacker, sent Montana kick returner Scott Spraggins to the sideline for good with a tackle that is coming soon to a highlight film near you.
Spraggins was knocked out briefly when Glover leveled him at the Grizzlies 14.
“It’s safe to say I was out on contact,” said Spraggins, whose Grizzlies fell 38-21 at sun-baked Martin Stadium.
WSU linebacker Chris Hayes explained that Glover and Spraggins belong to the same fraternity at their respective schools. After the game, Hayes sought out the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Spraggins and offered him some advice, albeit a tad late.
“I told him, ‘The next time you see Phillip Glover coming, you duck, because he bench (presses) 400 pounds and runs a 4.3 40,”’ said Hayes, who delivered some jarring tackles during the game as well.
“I thought he killed the boy.”
Spraggins was angling toward the right sideline when Glover (6-0, 228) lowered the boom early in the second quarter. Spraggins thought he saw daylight; instead he ran into a Glover-powered freight train.
WSU linebacker James Darling was talking with defensive coordinator Bill Doba on the sideline and didn’t witness Glover’s tackle.
“I didn’t see it, but I heard it” Darling said, shaking his head. “Oh man.”
Darling sounded sort of like the umpire after a batter questioned a called strike on a Nolan Ryan fastball. “Because it SOUNDED like a strike,” the ump told the batter.
Glover didn’t seem particularly impressed by the collision.
“I didn’t know if he had the ball or not,” Glover said. “I just hit him and I saw the ball pop out.”
Officials ruled the ground caused the fumble and blew the play dead.
Spraggins wasn’t sure where Glover hit him, but he had an idea. “I think it was here,” he said, pointing to his chin, which required stitches to close a sizable gash.
“I saw a little seam, and I tried to poke it up in there as hard as I could,” Spraggins said. “The next thing I knew they were picking me up off the ground.”
Spraggins briefly lost his senses, but not his sense of humor. Surrounded by about six reporters in the Grizzlies locker room, he joked, “This is kind of a funny thing, getting interviewed for getting knocked out.”
Spraggins didn’t suit up for the second half. He said he’ll be ready for UM’s next game.
Turning over a new Leaf
Backup quarterback Ryan Leaf made his first appearance as a Cougar, though it didn’t come as a QB.
He was the up-man on WSU’s punt team. The Great Falls, Mont., native had asked coaches to let him play against his home-state Grizzlies.
“Everybody has a fake punt sometimes,” said Leaf, a redshirt freshman. “I’m in there for that maybe.
“I’ll protect (the punter) because I want to hit the hell out of Montana. He (coach Mike Price) put me in and I got to do that, which was fun.”
On his first play, however, Leaf was the one getting tossed to the ground.
In the fourth quarter, Montana’s Josh Remington blocked a punt. Leaf said Remington “came through the middle right. I had middle left.”
Late in the fourth quarter, Leaf directed a scoring drive that put the game on ice. He audibled out of a run on one play and fired a 31-yard completion.
“I don’t know what was up with Montana. They kept blitzing, I think they wanted to hurt me or something,” Leaf said. “I just audibled to what I was supposed to do.”
Running on empty
Several WSU defenders admitted to tiring as they chased Montana receivers throughout the secondary and waterbug quarterback Dave Dickenson around the backfield.
“I got fatigued,” WSU defensive back Brian Walker said. “So did some of the other DBs.”
“He’s a good quarterback,” Darling said of Dickenson. “I was real tired, that guy could scramble.”
Dickenson was sacked six times. The Cougars often sent Darling or Hayes - or both - on blitzes, prompting Dickenson into improvisational escape routines.
“Darling’s a heck of a player, and Hayes, he had a bead on me all day,” Dickenson said. “We made some things happen but their defense is so quick.”
Per usual, Montana shunned the run (only 14 attempts) in favor of 59 pass attempts.
WSU and Montana combined for 25 penalties for more than 200 yards.
Several were of the ridiculous variety.
WSU once was whistled for having only six men on the line - on a punt.
Montana receiver Mike Erhardt was flagged for violating the NCAA’s new celebration rule.
Erhardt, who later left with an injured knee, made a nice catch on a third-down play, taking a punishing hit before landing. He popped to his feet, did a hop step and arm-motioned a first down.
For that, he was flagged.
The penalties, and Montana’s 59 pass attempts, turned the game into a 3-hour, 34-minute marathon.
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