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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

WSU-UO notebook: Cougars’ ground game more productive than Oregon’s passing attack

EUGENE—One of the weirder notes to come out of Washington State’s 45-38 double-overtime win on Saturday is that the Cougars rushed for more yards than Oregon’s quarterbacks threw for.

The 136 yards the WSU running backs found on the ground were the most of the Mike Leach era and the most for the Cougars since 2011. UO quarterbacks Jeff Lockie and Taylor Alie, meanwhile, completed just 13 of 24 passes for 123 yards.

Much of the credit for WSU’s productive day rushing the ball must go to running back Jamal Morrow, who matched his season total in carries, with eight, and more than tripled his total yardage.

Morrow gained 68 yards on the ground – he had 34 rushing yards all season heading into the game – and added another 43 yards on five catches for the Cougars.

“I was formationed into a couple plays but when the ball was in my hands I had to take advantage of it, and I did that,” Morrow said.

He was also responsible for WSU’s key fourth-down conversion during the first overtime. If the Cougars had failed to convert they would have lost, 38-31.

Morrow was WSU’s leading rusher last season and its fourth-leading receiver, but did not receive as many touches as fellow backs Gerard Wicks and Keith Harrington in the team’s first four games.

“I thought Morrow did really well, brought us some leadership skills, which I think he’s good at anyway,” Mike Leach said.

Calvin Green played on defense for the first time

At the start of UO’s third offensive drive, Calvin Green entered the game for WSU. Green’s presence in a game is not especially notable, the sophomore has played, even started for the Cougars before. But that he entered the game, his first this season, on defense is something new.

Green came to WSU as a receiver and was good enough to play as a true freshman in 2014, starting WSU’s game at Nevada. But he caught just 13 passes for 68 yards and the Cougars had other options coming in at outside receiver such as freshmen Kyrin Priester and Tavares Martin, who were ahead of Green on the depth chart.

So, Green was moved to safety during WSU’s preseason camp in Lewiston and has moseyed his way up the depth chart, taking more and more snaps with the second team defense as the season progressed.

“I truthfully have a defensive mindset,” Green said. “So they made a great move moving me to defense.”

In the practices leading up to Saturday’s game, Green saw time as the defense’s second string nickel behind Parker Henry, who is starting while Isaac Dotson is out with an injury. Dotson did not travel to Eugene with the team.

Extra notes: WSU’s second quarter fumble recovery by Daniel Ekuale was its eighth takeaway of the season, matching last year’s total. … Dom Williams caught his 23rd career touchdown pass, tied for second-most in school history. … Luke Falk’s five touchdown passes bring his career total to 28, tied for ninth most in school history with Mark Rypien.