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Highs & Lows: WSU vs. Stanford

The Spokesman-Review

High point

After allowing Stanford to march down the field at the end of the first half, the Cougars kept the score tied when defensive tackle Aaron Johnson rose up to block a Michael Sgroi field-goal attempt as time expired. Usually, momentum-building plays like that at the end of the half can carry over in to the third quarter. Unfortunately for WSU, that wasn’t the case.

Low point

With precious few minutes left in the game, the Cougars’ defense had a sterling opportunity to get the ball back for its offense with the Cardinal facing a third-and-8 from its own 22-yard line. Quarterback Trent Edwards had run the draw successfully all day, and it seemed that everyone in the stadium saw the play coming except for 11 Cougar defenders. Edwards scampered for 17 yards and a first down, helping to seal the game.

Play of the game

Edwards’ draw was probably the game’s biggest, but we’ll choose a play more symbolic of the Cougars’ struggles here. Midway through the second quarter, Stanford’s Jay Ottovegio punted deep into WSU territory for what should have been a touchback. But punt returner Michael Bumpus lost track of where he was, fielding the punt inside his own 1-yard line, having called for a fair catch. That saddled WSU with impossible field position for a drive and also summed things up nicely.

Player of the game

Much as WSU running back Jerome Harrison deserves credit here, it’s impossible to ignore Edwards, who’s been horrible against every other opponent, but for the second straight year picked WSU apart in the air and on the ground. Averaging just 133 passing yards coming into the game, Edwards threw for 257, ran for 92 and made the Cougar defense look bad in the process.

Stat of the game

Four of WSU’s 11 possessions in the game were three-and-outs. Meanwhile, 11 of 12 Stanford possessions resulted in at least one first down. The lone exception? The last drive of the game, when the Cardinal took a knee to kill the clock.

Glenn Kasses

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

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