LOS ANGELES – Washington State right guard Grant Stephens was tagged with a targeting penalty and ejected during the third quarter of the Cougs’ game Saturday against No. 6 USC.
The penalty will keep the senior Northern Colorado transfer out of the WSU lineup for the first half of the team’s Pac-12 game next weekend at Oregon State.
On a third-and-7 play late in the third quarter with his team trailing 24-14, WSU quarterback Cameron Ward scrambled around the pocket and scanned the field for options. Stephens lowered his shoulder and laid a hard block on a trailing USC defender, and was hit with a questionable targeting call.
Offensive line depth is a concern for the Cougs, who have five respectable starters but almost no experience behind them. Fourth-year sophomore Quinn McCarthy made his second-career appearance on WSU’s O-line in place of Stephens.
The Cougars, who entered the game having committed just 23 penalties this season – ranking 19th nationally in that category – were called for 11 against the Trojans. WSU committed two offsides penalties on third downs. A pass-interference call against Cougar defensive back Armani Marsh in the end zone on a third-and-long play extended a USC drive late in the second quarter. The Trojans ended up scoring a TD on the series.
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