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PRACTICE: Tyler Hilinski & offense explosive in Thursday Night Football session

PULLMAN – Thursday Night Football was filled with big plays and highlights by the Cougar offense while a true freshman linebacker stood out with outstanding coverage and big hits.

3 takeaways

1.     Offense moves with ease in TNF

-       Whether it be Tyler Hilinski (pictured above), Anthony Gordon, or Trey Tinsley at the controls of WSU's Air Raid, the offense had no trouble moving the ball. Hilinski, Wazzu's backup quarterback, was on target with crisp passes while getting in valuable reps to keep his game sharp. They scored on just about every drive and had defensive coordinator Alex Grinch harping at the D constantly. The offense ate up yardage big chunks at time. Routinely 10-yard to 20-yard pickups happened one right after another as the offense stormed down the field on the arm of each QB.

2.     Acrconado and Lee making a name for themselves in TNF

-       JC transfer receiver Brandon Arconado and third-year sophomore running back Alijah Lee have been making big plays in all four TNF sessions. Arconado has been as consistent as they come, running his routes with precision and catching everything thrown his way. He had several big pickups on the day and created missed tackles by the defense. Lee has had explosive plays in each TNF. This week he ripped off a big 25-yard touchdown run by changing lanes and dodging would-be tacklers all the way to the endzone.

3.     Woods good in coverage and in open field

-       True freshman linebacker Jahad Woods showed great pass defense when he dropped back into zone coverage and also displayed a great ability to make tackles in the open field. He was super tight in coverage and broke up a few passes both short and deep. He was responsible for at least three incomplete passes, one coming on a deep throw that was lofted into the end zone by Gordon.

Other notable highlights:

-       Marcus Strong battled C.J. Dimry for most of the TNF session. Strong broke up a few passes that targeted Dimry in the early going. The senior receiver bounced back and had a couple big catches.

-       One of Dimry’s big plays came on a screen that he took 15-yards up field, put on a spin move then strolled into the end zone.

-       Hunter Dale had an incredible interception against Hilinski. He sprinted from the midfield safety spot all the way across to the sideline where he came up with the pick.

-       Riley Krenz made an impressive catch-and-run on a toss from Hilinski, picking up 29-yards on the play.

-       Alofagia Faalavaau made the only sack on the day after slashing into the backfield and quickly wrapping up Gordon before he could do anything.

-       D'Jimon Jones made two great open field tackles. He showed a lot of power on contact and good tackling technique. Jones made a big stop on a 3rd and 15 conversion attempt.

-       Dimry converted a 4th and 9 attempt on the very next play, taking the ball to down to the 2-yard line.

-       Next play, Gordon runs it in for a 2-yard rushing touchdown.

-       At the nickel spot, Colton Teglovic laid out to breakup a sideline pass.

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