Spring game: Secondary puts on a good show

SPOKANE – Washington State's young secondary took it upon itself Saturday to answer any questions people had about how it feels it would would fare against a Pac-12 opponent. The answer: just fine. The two defensive backfields for each team combined for five interceptions in the Crimson and Gray game in which the Crimson team prevailed 23-19.

Stealing the show was Daquawn Brown, who most expect to be the Cougars' shutdown corner. The sophomore had two of the most explosive defensive plays of the afternoon, starting with an interception on Crimson quarterback Connor Halliday.

"The pick to River (Cracraft), I just kinda threw without seeing him," Halliday said after the game. "I threw it to the spot he's always at. He ran the post outside; I thought he was gonna run it inside."

And Brown wasn't done taking advantage of Halliday's miscues after that. His second interception of the day came on a ball Halliday rifled toward Drew Loftus in the back of the end zone. Halliday used his legs to buy himself some time as the pocket collapsed, but put slightly too much air under the ball, leaving room for Brown to step in front of Loftus and make the play.

"For some reason Connor just kept trying me today," Brown said. "It wasn't going down today."

Still, Halliday and Loftus would later connect for a score against Brown in that same end zone.

After the game, coach Mike Leach said the guys who played the best were those who relaxed and performed the same way they do in practice.

His statement essentially summed up the play of Beau Glover, who has consistently made big plays since moving into a starting role.

"Beau is Gig Harbor, man. I love Beau," Defensive Coordinator Mike Breske said. "Beau knows ball. He's fun to be around, he loves this game, believes in the Cougs, believes in his teammates, and he gets it done."

Glover, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound safety who played with the Crimson team, made his presence known early in the game when he intercepted a pass quarterback Tyler Bruggman intended for receiver Kristoff Williams in the first half. The pass, which was Bruggman's third interception and final pass of the day, got batted in the air and nearly landed in Williams' lap before Glover took it away.

The play drew praise from Glover's teammates, as well.

"Beau Glover, that's the name, that's the one who stands out," BUCK linebacker Ivan McLennan said. "Beau is the hardest worker on the team and he's just a real consistent player. He might be small in stature, but he has the biggest heart on the team."

Glover's interception put the final touches on what was somewhat of a rough day for Bruggman. The redshirt freshman went 12 of 28 for 154 yards and no touchdowns. Each of his three series ended with an interception.

On his first series, freshman cornerback Marcellus Pippins almost had the first pick of the day on a batted ball but couldn't hold onto it. On the ensuing play, Bruggman wasn't as fortunate. The ball landed right in the hands of senior corner Tracy Clark, marking the first of many turnovers the defense would generate. On the next series. MIKE linebacker Jeremiah Allison made a one-handed grab for Bruggman's second turnover, which was intended for junior receiver Tyler Baker.

"No question, too many turnovers," Leach said. "That happens when you have guys playing with one another that aren't on the same page … The turnovers were bad decisions."

When the secondary wasn't snagging passes away from the offense, the pass rushes for both teams each had decent performances, particularly the guys up front on the Crimson defense.

The unit totaled six "sacks," with McLennan and defensive lineman Xavier Cooper leading the way with two apiece. Linebacker Dylan Hanser and defensive lineman Daniel Ekuale both tallied one sack as well.

On the Gray team, defensive end Destiny Vaeao record one sack and two hurries.

NOTABLE NOTES
  • Leading the both squads in tackles was freshman linebacker Peyton Pelluer, who played on the Crimson team and finished the afternoon with eight. Sophomore safety David Bucannon tallied seven for the Gray squad.

  • The biggest hit of the day came from Darius Lemora, who ran with the Crimson team. The freshman safety laid a big pop on Williams as he extended for an overthrown pass by Luke Falk over the middle of the field. Williams was slow to get up but walked to sideline under his own power and eventually returned to play.

    "That first play with Kristoff didn't help – when I set him up," Falk said. "I told him he can throw one at me when Darius is hitting me."

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