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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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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.

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