Snow is no problem for Peyton Bender, Tyler Hilinski during Thursday Night Football

PULLMAN – Let it snow? Not even the youngest of Cougars, some who may be seeing the white stuff live for the first time in their lives, didn't let it affect them during the latest installment of Thursday Night Football.

The offense and defense had their TNF moments. Peyton Bender had a great series, leading a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Tyler Hilinski led an eight-play 75-yard TD drive and a five-play drive that stalled on fourth down. Christian Jorgenson's 12-play drive got near the red zone, but didn't finish with a score.

Bender was very methodical during his drive. Bender was 7 of 9 for 47 yards and a touchdown, completing his first five throws. Bender faced only two third downs, converting both, including a third-and-three that went for a 7-yard touchdown pass to Xavius Boone.

James Williams complemented the drive with 24 yards on three carries, and one catch for seven yards.

Hilinski followed Bender’s successful drive, and got right to work. Hilinski completed three passes on his first eight plays of the drive, but the third one was the most important, hitting Kainoa Wilson on a slant route. Wilson broke free of an Aaron Hecker tackle, then bounced off Skyler Cracraft, racing to the end zone to complete a 42-yard touchdown play.

DC Alex Grinch was not happy, and the defense did 15 up downs and then some snow angel making; yes you read that right.

The offensive coaches let Hilinski stay in, but not for long. Hilinski's first pass after the long TD hit D.J. Thompson, who ran a great route and picked up a 21-yard gain. Dylan Hanser sacked Hilinski to blunt the offense's momentum. On fourth down Hilinski dropped back and Jacob Laird got a hand on him, so the play was technically over for a sack. Hilinski threw the ball regardless, leading to an interception by Calvin Green.

Hilinski finished 4 of 6 for 89 yards and the Wilson TD. Hilinski was also sacked twice.

Jorgenson took his turn, and also relied on Wilson, who caught the first pass of the drive for 22 yards. A few plays later, Alijah Lee broke off a 20-yard run for a first down, but the ball was pulled back. The first down stood, but for some reason, the yardage didn’t.  Later in the drive Greg Hoyd III sacked Jorgenson for a 10-yard loss. It was downhill from there, as Jorgenson didn't complete another pass. Jorgenson completed 3 of 8 passes for 45 yards, while getting sacked twice.

Some of the notable TNF stats: James Williams, seven carries for 51 yards, and one reception for seven yards. Kainoa Wilson with four receptions for 65 yards and Hilinski’s only touchdown. Xavius Boone with three catches for 26 yards and Bender’s TD. Alijah Lee had two carries for 29 yards.

Notable Notes

  • The team worked on several small drills before TNF. The defense came down with several interceptions against the scout offense that were mostly bad throws. A few poor overthrows and some miscommunication with the receiver and quarterback led to the turnovers, so it almost seems unfair to count them. A few were impressive including a Calvin Green pick that slipped through Parker Henry’s hands and a falling interception from Darrien Molton.

  • The offense looked strong against the scout defense. Luke Falk and Peyton Bender didn’t look to be affected by the weather. The two quarterbacks were placing their passes with good precision and were accurate considering the cold weather.

  • Pullman did get its first snow of the season, but mostly stopped falling before practice started.  Some rain fell before the TNF play began.

  • Special teams worked on every aspect of their responsibilities from field goals, kickoffs, onside kick recovery, kick return, punt return, and punting. Each drill consisted of one of the aforementioned starters and the scout team. Erik Powell kicked pretty well.

Offensive Thursday Night Football

QB: Peyton Bender / Tyler Hilinski / Christian Jorgenson

RB: James Williams / Alijah Lee

LT: Andre Dillard / Cody O’Connell (when Cedric at LG) / Cedric Bigge-Duren (when Noah LG)

LG: Cody O’Connell / Cedric Bigge-Duren / Noah Osur-Myers

C: Sam Flor / Carlos Freeman / B.J. Salmonson (when Evers at RT)

RG: Drew Norvell / Noah Osur-Myers

RT: B.J. Salmonson / Brandon Evers

X: Erik Anderson / Kaleb Fossum

Y: Kainoa Wilson / Madigan Taulelei

Z: Xavius Boone / Nick Begg

H: D.J. Thompson

Defensive Thursday Night Football

DE: Kingston Hernandez / Jacob Laird

NT: Ngalu Tapa / Devonte McClain / Austin Brown

DT: Hunter Mattox / Kingston Hernandez (when Laird at DE)

Rush LB: Nnamdi Oguayo / Logan Tago / Dylan Hanser

WIL LB: Frankie Luvu / Paris Taylor / Nate DeRider

MIKE LB: Chandler Leniu / Triston Brock / Greg Hoyd III

NICKEL CB: Treshon Broughton / Colton Teglovic / Darius Lemora

CB: Kirkland Parker / Willie Roach / Dakota Sinchak

CB: Charleston White / Deion Singleton / Aaron Hecker

FS: Hunter Dale / Skylar Cracraft

SS: Calvin Green / Kameron Powell

NOTE: If you’re wondering where our customary listing of the first string offense and defense has gone, WSU has made it clear all interview access to coaches and players will be denied if we continue to publish who is running with the 1s.

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