Luani keeps WSU close at the half

BOISE - WSU struggled to find some offensive flow in the first half against Boise State. But Shalom Luani not only was a calming presence for the Washington State defense, he made the Cougs biggest play of the first half.

Without a great play on the ball by senior Shalom Luani, Washington State might have been shut out in the first half Saturday night in Boise, Idaho. 

Things got off to what appeared to be a great start for Luke Falk and the Cougar offense. They were marching toward the first score of the game when miscommunication between Robert Lewis resulted in a pick-six for Boise State. Instead of what seemed certain to be a WSU, they fell behind just five minutes into the first quarter. BSU 7 - WSU 0

After BSU kicked off, WSU began their second drive. The offense looked out of sync and the drive eventually stalled after six plays primarily because of a pass in the flat sniffed out by the Bronco D resulting in a loss of 6 yards. Kyle Sweet launched a nice punt pinning the Boise State back on their 15-yard line.

The Cougar defense couldn't slow down the running game of the Broncos who used 13 plays to march methodically downfield to increase their lead to 14-0. The key to the drive came early when Brett Rypien went to Thomas Sperbeck for a clutch 12-yard completion on 3rd and 8 on their own 14-yard line. From there BSU steadily threaded their way through the Cougar D. Jeremy McNichols run the ball in for the TD.

Falk appeared to have WSU moving well on their next possession when a holding penalty put the Cougs behind the chains. The Cougs opted to try and pin BSU deep and punted effectively pinning the Broncos back on their 12.

Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch moved from the press box down to the sidelines for this game. Whatever he said to get the attention of his defense worked. BSU was forced to punt after 6 plays.

When Falk brought the WSU offense back on the field, they drove the ball 55-yards down the field only to settle for a 36-yard field goal attempt. BSU penetrated the line enough to get a paw up and block Erik Powell's kick.

Once again the Cougar defense did their job and forced Boise State into a 3-and-out.

Washington State continued their offensive futility. Falk just could get the team into rhythm and gave the ball right back to the Broncos.

Just when it seemed BSU had the Cougs on their heels, Shalom Luani stepped in front of a Rypien pass for an interception to give the offense another chance. And that turned the momentum for Washington State. Falk needed just 6 plays to complete a TD drive with a shovel pass to Jamal Morrow for the score.

Rypien completed a couple of long pass plays to set up a short 36-yard FG.

Halftime score Boise State 17 - WSU 7

We'll have a complete report following the final 30-,minutes of play.

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