Report Card-inal: WSU

A brief review of Saturday's 58-0 domination of an overmatched Cougar team that is going through a very tough season. While we wish our pals from Pullman happier times, we are nevertheless pleased that those happier times did not arrive on this particular day! Too much Toby, too many turnovers by WSU. It got ugly early and often - just the way we like it!


Still letting that score sink in! Here is a very quick review of Saturday's soaked, but satisfying win over struggling Washington State. As expected, the Cardinal ran through the Cougar defense at will , generating a staggering 344 yards on 55 carries including 132 yards on 22 carries and four first-half touchdown from star running back Toby Gerhart. Yes, "star" running back. One of the best kept secrets in college football, but one has to believe that is starting to change. 13 touchdowns and more than 100 yards per game will garner some attention.

It is pretty late so this review will be updated at some point Sunday morning

The Good: 

  • Just about everything. 58-0 (31-0 at the half) was just what the doctor ordered. Take care of business. Dominate the opponent. Send some young guys in. Get ready for the Ducks. 
  • Stanford was +5 in turnovers, +4 in the first half alone. Overall it was three fumbles lost and two interceptions from the Cougars and we gave nothing back. Nice.
  • The Cardinal defense, which recorded its first shutout since the San Jose State game last year (37-0), needed a couple of sets of downs to get used to the wet turf, but pretty much dominated thereafter. Allowed conversion of just 3 of 13 WSU's third-down attempts.
  • Offensively, we owned the clawless Cougars on the ground, averaging more than six yards per carry.
  • Only two penalties for 20 yards in the first half, only five for 40 on the day. 
  • On a dry day and if we hadn't built up such a big lead, Toby would have gone for 200+ yards rushing
  • Toby's four rushing TDs in the first half set a new record and tied a single-game record set held by Tommy Vardell (at Notre Dame in 1990) and Kerry Carter (at Oregon in 2001 and USC in 2000)
  • Senior Anthony Kimble (#5) replaced Toby in the third quarter and was immediately off to the races, scoring on a 62-yard burst on his first carry after Gerhart sat down..   
  • PR Doug Baldwin helped give the offense great field position with several fine returns. His first went for 26 and almost got back to the Cougs' original line of scrimmage.
  • It made us nervous, but you have to like QB Alex Loukas (#15) lead-blocking for Gerhart!
  • 4-4 in the redzone in the first half, 7-7 for the game. We held WSU scoreless in their only two trip inside the 20. Superb! Kudos to Shaw, Dalman, and Harbaugh for going with what was working and not getting fancy on a day it wasn't necessary.
  • On a tough day for long balls, it was nice to see true freshman WR Chris Owusu (#81) stretch the field with his 41-yard grab.
  • (#45) Alex Menke, a true freshman walk-on linebacker/fullback from Piedmont, CA  got to come in and get some time as a fullback after Marecic was injured. Author's Correction: That was actually Andrew Fowler going in at FB wearing #45, not Menke (Sorry, Alex - you'll have your chance!) At that point I admit I was staying dry upstairs and couldn't really tell from above. Took a quick glance at the roster when I saw the clean jersey and didn't notice there were two #45s. My bad!
  • The starting OL got to rest early, giving way to guys like Joe Dembesky, Tyler Mabry, and Derek Hall
  • Had to love seeing hard-working guys like James McGillicuddy in there on the d-line, QB Nick Ruhl getting to take a few snaps. Freshman walk-on #17 Griff Whalen, got in at WR and even supplied a nice catch and average return on a punt return. Others played too, but at that point it was a bit wet to be taking good notes.
  • Great to see Mom Reuland back to wearing two shoes!
  • Nice to see back-up FB Josh Catron and true freshman RB Delano Howell get their first career scores. Would have been nice to see Toby get a record fifth TD, but you have to be happy for Catron, who has become a solid contributor!
  • We threw just 12 times, completing six of those for 65 yards, plus a nice pick-up on a PI flag. For once, hard to argue that we should have thrown any more than we did. We could run and they couldn't stop us. End of story.
  • The halftime tribute to the 1978 Bluebonnet Bowl team was very well done (Nice job by Marketing's Bob Carruesco and the football office staff!) Note: We will have some audio interviews with a few of the members of that team in the coming days.

The Bad/Not So Bad:

  • It was a miserable day, weather-wise, and the crowd was, to put it nicely... modest. Darn rain ruined our traditional tailgating plans.
  • Ok, if we have to find something to crab about - our kick-offs were a tad shallow, but geez Louise, it was to be expected in that weather.
  • Linebacker Nick Macaluso (#50), fullback Owen Marecic (#48), RB "Patch" Stewart (#34), and a couple of other guys got banged up. We'll know more soon.
  • The big win wasn't televised, which given the sparse crowd, may have been a blessing.

The Ugly:

  • Other than the weather and the turn-out? You would have to make something up. 
  • For WSU, it can't get much worse, can it? Seriously, they need to start taking strategic measures to shorten their games or they may continue to get blown out.
  • Not to beat a dead horse, but with Stanford's 58-0 victory over WSU and with USC crushing Washington 56-0, that had to be the combined worst day in the proud history of college football in the state of Washington. 114 to nothing! Ouch!

The Bottom Line: 

  • Washington State can't afford any mistakes to be competitive these days. They made a lot. You had to feel for them. An Apple Cup victory would help things.
  • Those of us who remember being ahead of WSU 35-7 in the third quarter in 1984 (at Stanford) and watching Rueben Mayes and coach Jim Walden's Cougars claw their way back to a 49-42 win, will feel we got a tiny piece of pigskin payback this time. It happens I had the honor and privilege of walking out of the stadium with Coach Walden today (the WSU head coach from 1978-1986, he now does color for the Cougar radio broadcasts and is a class act). I hassled him for taking it to us in that 1984 game and he laughed and admitted it was one victory he would never forget.
  • The Cardinal is 5-4, baby! One more win would be great, two better, three and we could be in the Rose Bowl. Not saying it will likely happen, but we can dream, right?  
  • We are now 4-0 at home and can be very proud of that fact. The "C-House" is back and should be tested when the Trojans roll into town in a couple of weeks. Get your tickets now, people! It could be hard to get in the building!

Next week we travel to Eugene and the unfriendly confines of raucous Autzen Stadium. A fun and challenging place to play. Go Cardinal! Foil the foul-feathered Ducks! 

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