First downs, rushing yards & beyond: CougFans will want to pore over every line item from official stat book

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, the final stats from Washington State's double overtime win at Oregon were a head turner with lots of line items for CougFans to pour over.

Among the more noteworthy statistics:

  • Even after the game ended, some of the local Oregon media game recaps said the Cougs didn't have much success running the ball.  We have no idea what game they were watching. Cougar running backs Jamal Morrow. Gerard Wicks and Keith Harrington had a combined 18 carries for 176 hashes (9.8 ypc). 
  • Luke Falk was uneven at times. he held the ball too long and took too many sacks -- but how do you argue with a stat line that reads: 50-74 passing, 505 yards, five TDs and no interceptions?  You don't.
  • Oregon's seven sacks resulted in minus-49 yards -- the Cougs finished with 136 net rushing yards on 30 carries.
  • Robert Barber and Destiny Vaeao (pictured above) along with the rest of  crimson stop corps forced seven Oregon punts and limited the Ducks to 123 net yards passing.
  • The Cougar D was gashed by Oregon RB Royce Freeman, who pounded out 246 yards on 27 carries. But with the game on the line, they had their finest series against the run.  WSU trailed 31-24 with time running out and with the Ducks in possession, they handed the ball to Freeman three straight times. The Cougs held him to eight combined yards. It was a group effort, with Darryl Paulo and Peyton Pelluer combing for the first stop, Parker Henry and Pelluer in on the second takedown and Charleston White and Shalom Luani combining on the final tackle. After Oregon's punt, WSU went 70 yards in scoring the tying touchdown with one second left in regulation.
  • River Cracraft led all receivers with nine grabs (85 yards). Gabe Marks claimed the game's yardage crown, with 111 hashes on eight grabs. Marks was virtually unstoppable for the first half before Oregon put more personnel his way.  Dom Williams had seven catches for 82 yards.
  • Luani had a roller coaster game. He tied for the team lead with eight stops (along with Pelluer, Henry and the unsung Taylor Taliulu) But he also had numerous attempted shoulder tackles that allowed Oregon to rack up yards after contact. In the end, however, it was Luani who snagged WSU's one and only interception to seal the victory on the last play of the game.
  • It doesn't show in the stat book but DL Hercules Mata'afa (two tackles, one sack) was a disruptive force. Despite not having started any of the Cougs' first five games, he has three sacks on the season. Fellow DL Daniel Ekuale may have had his best game as a Cougar, with the third-year sophomore posting five stops and forcing a fumble (recovered by Pelluer) early in the game with Oregon knocking on the door.
  • WSU ran 105 plays in racking up 31 first downs. The Cougs outgained Oregon 641-533 in total offense.
  • The pre-game conventional wisdom: if the Cougs won the turnover battle, they'd win the game.  No one estimated what would happen if they tied, which was the case with Oregon and WSU each turning the ball over twice.
  • There may be Saturdays to come where Mike Leach draws criticism for going for it on fourth down rather than trying a field goal, but in this game Leach pushed all the right buttons: WSU was four-of-five on fourth down tries. He also called a running play on fourth-and-two that had it failed, would have ended the game. And it looked like a grad assistant was emphatically imploring Leach to go for two at the end of regulation but Leach did the smart thing and kicked the extra point, sending the game to overtime and eventually, a humongous WSU win.  Here are the key stats:

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