Washington State starters face off during team time, and it takes an extra play to decide a winner

PULLMAN – It may be a bye week for Washington State, but the Cougars are hardly gearing down in practice. Thursday's workout included extended team time that pitted the offensive and defensive starters against each other.

The team time battle featuring the starting units ended with the defense rallying to beat the offense in a tightly-contested battle.

The scrimmage started with Luke Falk at quarterback, and it immediately started in the offense's favor with a big catch and run by Kyle Sweet. Falk threw a touchdown pass and made a great handoff call that Keith Harrington ran in for another TD.

Peyton Bender came in with the offense leading 8-6. He ran with the second O-line against the second team defense for three plays before the defensive 1s came in. Bender moved the team down the field, but also nearly threw an interception to Taylor Taliulu, but the senior safety dropped the easy pick. Gabe Marks picked up some slack and ran a short pass through the defense for Bender’s only score. Bender finished his time with three incompletions, including two pass breakups from Kirkland Parker (pictured above).

Falk returned for the last drive of team time, trailing 14-13. His first few plays didn’t gain a lot, and the defense had a 17-14 lead. However, the offense tied the score at 17 after three straight plays of seven yards or more including a great throw and catch between Falk and John Thompson. The defense stood up the next two plays getting the score to 19-17, but Falk hit Tyler Baker for a touchdown to even the score at 19.

Mike Leach allowed one more play to decide a winner. Falk threw to Dom Williams, but the pass went just between the fingers of the receivers’ outstretched arms. The defense won 20-19, giving the offense up downs as punishment.

Earlier in practice, the Cougars went through skeleton drills. The offense and defense 1s and 2s battled, as well as the scout teams. Falk and Bender had a few good moments. Falk connected with Robert Lewis after Darius Lemora misplayed the trajectory of the ball. Both QBs were throwing bullet passes into some areas the ball had no business being thrown. However, the passes were caught and not intercepted, so there was no harm done.

When skeleton moved to the goal line, the offense was very successful. Falk threw three touchdowns with Marks, Dom Williams, and Tavares Martin Jr. all making TD grabs. Bender hit Daniel Lilienthal and River Cracraftfor his two TD throws of goal-line skeleton work. Bonus highlight: against the scout team, Tyler Hilinski threw a great pass to Kainoa Wilson, who made a beautiful catch for a touchdown.

Notable Notes

  • Suli Hameed, Matt Abramo, Amosa Sakaria and C.J. Dimry were limited Thursday. Michael Cole was active for the first time in a few weeks. Isaac Dotson was still nowhere to be found at practice.

  • Erik Powell got some work in kicking field goals, hitting 6 of 7, missing a bomb just left. Powell's miss was from the Cougar logo, so you can understand the difficulty in the kick. All seven kicks were against a live defense.

  • The Cougars finished practice with punt work before team time. Coach Eric Mele worked on wedge blocking in front of the punter. They also worked on punting (with no rush) to work on coverage against returners. Similar to the kickoff from Wednesday, they worked on staying in their lanes.

Offensive 1s

QB: Luke Falk 

RB: Gerard Wicks 

LT: Joe Dahl 

LG: Gunnar Eklund 

C: Riley Sorenson 

RG: Eduardo Middleton 

RT: Cole Madison 

X: Dom Williams 

Y: River Cracraft 

Z: Gabe Marks 

H: Robert Lewis 

 

Defensive 1s

DE: Darryl Paulo 

NT: Robert Barber 

DT: Destiny Vaeao 

Rush LB: Ivan McLennan 

WIL LB: Jeremiah Allison 

MIKE LB: Peyton Pelluer 

NICKEL: Logan Tago / Parker Henry / Treshon Broughton (handful for Broughton) 

CB: Darrien Molton 

CB: Charleston White / Marcellus Pippins 

FS: Taylor Taliulu 

SS: Shalom Luani 

 

Offensive 2s

QB: Peyton Bender 

RB: Jamal Morrow / Keith Harrington 

LT: Andre Dillard

LG: Cody O’Connell 

C: Sam Flor 

RG: B.J. Salmonson 

RT: Brandon Evers 

X: Kyrin Priester 

Y: John Thompson 

Z: Tavares Martin Jr. 

H: Tyler Baker 

Defensive 2s

DE: Jeremiah Mitchell 

NT: Ngalu Tapa  

DT: Reggie Coates 

Rush LB: Dylan Hanser 

WIL LB: Nate DeRider 

MIKE LB: Chandler Leniu 

NICKEL CB: Darius Lemora 

CB: Pat Porter 

CB: Charleston White / Marcellus Pippins 

FS: Hunter Dale 

SS: Kirkland Parker 

Dom Williams

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