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Vince Grippi’s Keys to the Game

What went right

The WSU offense moved the ball through the air for much of the game, most obviously in the first half when Jeff Tuel threw for 171 yards. “We moved the ball, got a lot of first downs, lot of completions and seemed to finish on some of those drives,” Tuel said. For the game, WSU had 256 yards passing, with both scores coming through the air, but Tuel also threw three interceptions.

What went wrong

The defense couldn’t stop the Trojans, mainly because no one could tackle. The WSU defensive scheme had the linemen occupying space so the linebackers could roam and make tackles. The group combined for 12, with the starters – Mike Ledgerwood, Alex Hoffman-Ellis and Myron Beck – finishing with just four. The number of missed tackles was at least triple that, helping USC run for 285 yards.

Turning point

After Washington State had scored on its first possession, marching 80 yards to do so, the Martin Stadium crowd was in a frenzy. Then Matt Barkley handed the ball to fullback Stanley Havili on the Trojans’ first play. Havili started left, weaved through traffic, avoided tackle attempts by Mike Ledgerwood, Chima Nwachukwu and Tyree Toomer and rumbled his way 59 yards for a tying score. It served notice there would be no upset.

Difference maker

The USC offensive line, led by center Kristofer O’Dowd, dominated the line of scrimmage, often moving it back 3 or 4 yards on running plays. The group also was near-perfect in pass protection, with quarterback Barkley rarely hurried and never sacked. With the line opening holes, three Trojans running backs gained 79 yards or more, led by Allen Bradford’s 84 on seven carries, a 12-yard average. Barkley completed 16 of 25 passes.

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