Cougar defense dominates Thursday Night Football, turning back offense each time

PULLMAN – The Cougar D has played well on Saturdays of late. There's some promise behind the scenes, too, as Washington State's youngsters showed up and played some defense during Thursday Night Football.

Last week's TNF was a competitive battle between the offense and defense, but that wasn't the case Thursday, as the defense dominated and smothered the offense on all three drives. Nnamdi Oguayo and Skyler Cracraft had good nights on defense.

Peyton Bender's turn was first, but he never really got into rhythm. Bender had two fourth downs come up during his drive, and he had only two completions. Bender's first completion showed promise for the drive, connecting to Kaleb Fossum for 15 yards. But after that, Bender was just 1 of 3 for three yards, and 2 of 6 for 18 yards during the drive.

It never hurts Bender to get the reps, however.

“Thursday Night Football gives him the chance to get some real reps, it’s a scrimmage type situation, so it gives him a chance to go run the offense,” WSU offensive line coach Clay McGuire said. “He gets to sharpen his skills, he had a good throw that I don’t think was caught, but he anticipated it well.”

Up next was Tyler Hilinski. He's been the most consistent quarterback each TNF in terms of scoring, however, even Hilinski couldn’t avoid the tenacious Cougar D on this Thursday. Hilinski was 7 of 10 for 56 yards, with one interception. Hilinski got the Cougars into rhythm with a pair of 6-yard completions to Erik Anderson, and an 11-yarder to Fossum.

Oguayo picked up his first sack to push the offense back, but Hilinski got right back to work. On third-and-10, Hilinski hit Xavius Boone for 19 yards down to the 11. After a 7-yard pass to Boone, Hilinski took a shot at the end zone, but was intercepted by Skyler Cracraft.

Christian Jorgenson stepped in, and tried to continue the success he had last Thursday when he led his first touchdown drive. The defense would not let him get into synch. After three plays, two of which he was sacked (once by Drew Griffin and one by Jeremiah Mitchell), the offensive line was switched out. Jorgenson completed two passes for 12 yards before being sacked for a third time, this one Oguayo’s second of the session. On his final play, Jorgenson had an interception dropped by Deion Singleton.

Needless to say, the offense had to do up-downs as punishment.

“Nnamdi’s a real talented young kid, that we just think is going to get better and better,” McGuire said. “He’s got a great frame, good speed, and before it’s all said and done he’s going to be a good player.”

Notable Notes:  Check out the video above for Thursday’s Notable Notes.

Offensive Thursday Night Football

QB: Peyton Bender / Tyler Hilinski / Christian Jorgenson

RB: James Williams / Alijah Lee

LT: Andre Dillard / Cedric Bigge-Duren

LG: Cody O’Connell / Noah Osur-Myers / Chris Paz

C: Sam Flor / Carlos Freeman / Noah Osur-Myers (When Paz at C)

RG: Moritz Christ / Mack Hopkins / Cody O’Connell

RT: B.J. Salmonson / Brandon Evers / Andre Dillard

X: Erik Anderson / Kaleb Fossum

Y: Kyle Sweet / Madigan Taulelei

Z: Xavius Boone / Nick Begg

H: D.J. Thompson / Kainoa Wilson

Defensive Thursday Night Football

DE: Jeremiah Mitchell / Jacob Laird

NT: Ngalu Tapa / Devonte McClain

DT: Hunter Mattox / Kingston Hernandez

Rush LB: Logan Tago / Dylan Hanser / Nnamdi Oguayo

WIL LB: Frankie Luvu / Paris Taylor

MIKE LB: Chandler Leniu / Triston Brock

NICKEL CB: Treshon Broughton / Colton Teglovic / Darius Lemora

CB: Kirkland Parker / Dakota Sinchak / Kyle Torres

CB: David Bucannon / Deion Singleton / Aaron Hecker

FS: Hunter Dale / Skylar Cracraft

SS: Calvin Green / Willie Roach / Kameron Powell

Offensive 1s

QB: Luke Falk

RB: Gerard Wicks / Keith Harrington

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: Daniel Ekuale / Robert Barber

DT: Destiny Vaeao

Rush LB –Ivan McLennan

WIL LB – Jeremiah Allison

MIKE LB – Peyton Pelluer

NICKEL: Parker Henry / Treshon Broughton

CB: Darrien Molton / Charleston White

CB: Marcellus Pippins

FS: Taylor Taliulu

SS: Shalom Luani  

 

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