PULLMAN – Here are three difference-makers and a key moment from Washington State’s 10-7 loss to Stanford on Saturday night.
Ward was far from perfect, his accuracy suffering in the second half, but earlier he supplied one of the plays of his life. He dropped back, didn’t see an open teammate, so he drifted even farther back in the pocket – where Stanford lineman Anthony Franklin grabbed hold of his jersey.
No matter. Ward backpedaled and escaped Franklin’s grasp, then looped around, eluding another Stanford defender. He drifted forward, angling toward the sideline, when he saw receiver Josh Kelly open, uncorking one downfield. Kelly hauled it in.
That play covered 39 yards, but Ward provided that and much more. All told, Ward completed 24 of 40 passes for 241 yards and one touchdown, which came on a 9-yard scoring pass to Kelly in the second quarter.
Stanford’s backup quarterback, a 6-foot-2 bruiser the Cardinal use more to run the ball, made a world of impact in the third quarter. On a trick play, he unloaded a 27-yard throw to tight end Sam Roush, who hauled it in at the WSU 1. One play later, Lamson punched it in, tying the score with a shade under 3 minutes to play in the quarter.
Lamson rushed 20 times for 54 yards and one score.
Late in the first half, Stanford was threatening to tie the game right before halftime. Jackson made a play that might have flown under the radar: On fourth-and-1, Jackson beat his matchup off the line – and he did so quickly enough to bring down the Stanford ballcarrier, Lamson, good for a turnover on downs.
That kept Stanford off the board for the moment, and it added to Jackson’s stellar day: seven tackles, 1.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks. He recorded his first sacks in three weeks. That was huge for WSU – and potentially for Jackson’s confidence.
Key momentOne of the more crucial moments came on a play that WSU couldn’t make. It arrived early in the third quarter, when Daniels dropped back to pass, and he threw an awful one, a wobbler that fell right in the lap of WSU defensive back Kapena Gushiken.
Gushiken got his hands on it, but could not hold on. If he could, he had nothing but green grass ahead of him, and with the way the Cougars’ offense languished, they could have used that score.