Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Fog 27° Fog

Jacob Thorpe’s keys to WSU-Miami Sun Bowl game

What went right

The Washington State defense rarely budged against Miami, holding the Hurricanes to one first down over five offensive series during a particularly dominant stretch. Even when the Cougars did bend, they rarely broke, allowing UM into WSU territory seven times and giving up just two scores, thanks in part to three critical takeaways.

What went wrong

The WSU offense went lifeless in the second half, putting up zero points and averaging just 4 yards per play. While the pounding snow and slippery field surface doubtlessly made things harder for the offense, its inability to provide any extra cushion over the final two quarters gave the Hurricanes chances to take the lead late in the game.

It was over when

While Shalom Luani’s interception ended Miami’s final threat, the Cougars were not safe until Luke Falk kept the ball on a read-option play, picking up the game’s final first down and allowing the Cougars to run out the clock on the Hurricanes.

Difference maker

Redshirt freshman defensive end Hercules Mata’afa has turned into the player that coaches and teammates have hinted at since he first started dominating underclassmen scrimmages last year. Mata’afa sacked quarterback Brad Kaaya despite drawing a double team throughout the game, which freed up the rest of WSU’s defensive linemen to attack the Miami backfield.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.