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Christian Caple’s Keys to the WSU-Auburn Game

What went right

The Cougars’ offense looked much more settled and in rhythm, and that much was evident early – their 75-yard touchdown drive on the game’s first possession sent a message that they were ready to play. And it’s hard to be upset about 120 total rushing yards, considering WSU managed an average of only 29 per game a year ago. The defense allowed only 99 pass yards.

What went wrong

Too many big plays. First, there was Halliday’s interception to Robenson Therezie, which set the Tigers up in easy scoring position despite their offense having done nothing to that point. Auburn also returned a kickoff 100 yards for a TD and busted a 75-yard rushing score. Halliday’s final interception, from the 8-yard line on first down, will be hard to swallow.

Turning point

This game was too close to call until nearly the end. But after Auburn fumbled the ball back to WSU with 4:06 to play, Halliday and WSU’s offense struggled to move the ball, and a fourth-and-5 incompletion sealed the Cougars’ fate.

Difference maker

Grant was tough all night, totaling146 yards on nine carries for a whopping 16.2 yards-per carry average. Therezie had two interceptions, one early and one late, that were each crucial in making up for Auburn’s offensive inefficiency at times. Tre Mason’s 100-yard kickoff return quickly stifled the momentum established by WSU’s 14-8 lead.

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