Notebook from WSU loss to EWU

PULLMAN -- It was like some kind of cruel magic trick, performed over and over again during Washington State's 45-42 loss to Eastern Washington. No matter what the Cougar D did on Saturday, they barely slowed down the Eagles' offense, let alone stopped them.

CF.C Player Of The Game: Gabe Marks
Marks was Washington State’s only answer on offense when the Cougs needed a big play. Marks scored the first touchdown of the game on his first catch of the season, a 53-yard TD run after catching a short slant from Luke Falk. Marks was constantly the go-to receiver but when he wasn’t targeted, the Cougs struggled and drives stalled.

Biggest surprise:
Cougar defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Alex Grinch had no answer for Eastern Washington’s balanced attack. The defense, save for the first EWU possession, was on their heels from start to finish. Whatever scheme changes or adjustments were made at halftime, or throughout the game for that matter, didn't slow EWU’s offense down. The Cougar defense gave up 606 total yards of offense against a lower division FCS school.

Noteworthy stats:
- Marks caught 10 passes for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Luke Falk completed 41 of 51 passes for 418 yards with 4 TDs against one interception.
-  WSU's defense allowed star EWU receiver Cooper Kupp to catch 12 passes for 206 yards and 3 touchdowns, one of them where no Cougar was within 10 yards of Kupp in the end zone. He also rushed for 29 yards on two carries and completed a pass for 22 yards that set up a touchdown.

Leading tackler:
Peyton Pelluer had 10 tackles on the game with 1 1/2 tackles for loss and one pass break-up.

Misleading stat of the game:
-  EWU rushed for 110 yards. But virtually all of it came from quarterback Gage Gubrud. He carried the ball 14 times for 77 yards and ran in a score to seal the game. Gubrud was very mobile outside of the pocket and kept many drives alive because of what he could do with his feet. And when he did scramble out of several would-be sacks and pressures, he made accurate throws on top of it. Gubrud completed a staggering 34 of 40 passes against WSU, racking up 474 yards and 5 TDs.

Play of the game:
-  WSU had EWU in third-and-nine on the Eagles' game-winning drive. All the Cougs had to do was come up with one more stop to give their offense a chance to make a last minute comeback. But Gubrud completed the pass to Kupp for a first down with less than two minutes left on the clock.

Injuries noticed:
- Marks was limping badly towards the end of the game.
- Robert Lewis went down at the end of the game but returned later on.

Mike Leach quotes:
“The best player on the field was Cooper Kupp and the second best player was their quarterback who’s got a name I can’t pronounce."

“We shouldn’t have put ourselves in a position to make a comeback – but the other thing is – make no mistake – it’s like I said earlier in the week: Eastern Washington’s first level guys are as good as our first level guys are. And they proved it today.”

Up next:
-       Washington State at Boise State next Saturday, Sept. 10 (TV: ESPN2, 7:15 pm)


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