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HALFTIME: Ground Leach and a big Robert Barber spark

WASHINGTON STATE led Idaho 21-3 at the half after beleaguered nose tackle Robert Barber sparked Washington State with a blocked field goal attempt that corner Marcellus Pippins took back for six.

Barber’s momentum-seizing play came midway through the second quarter and with Idaho threatening to trim WSU’s 7-3 lead.  In a heartbeat it was instead WSU up 14-3.

The Cougar D forced a turnover on the very next Idaho series when Frankie Luvu punched the ball away from the Idaho QB, and Gabe Marks snared a Luke Falk bullet in the end zone to push the lead to 21-3.

WSU’s offensive game plan against Idaho surely opened some eyes. The Cougs, with second-year freshman running back James Williams leading the way, ran the ball (11) more that they threw it (8) in the first quarter.

Williams displayed a strong ability to earn yards after contact.  Unfortunately for Cougar fans, the D didn’t force enough Idaho punts to get the ball back to the Cougar offense enough for much of the first half.

For the first 1 ½ quarters and before the two quick back-to-back WSU scores, the Cougars left something to be desired. The Wazzu defensive pass rush was so-so when the Cougs rushed four d-linemen, and only marginally better when WSU blitzed.  The Cougar front did do well against the run, but on balance Idaho converted several third downs and moved the ball reasonably well for the majority of the first half.

Four of the WSU’s first five plays on offense, and seven of the first 10, were runs.  The biggest early WSU play was Luke Falk’s 50-yard bomb on the move to Kyle Sweet down to the 2-yard line, setting up Williams’ first career touchdown. Erik Powell missed a field goal at the end of the first half.

NOTABLE NOTE:
Nickel Parker Henry was injured in the first half, with safety Shalom Luani coming up in the box to fill his slot and Robert Taylor taking Luani’s place at safety. The Cougs have moved Luani and Taylor into those spots often throughout this season in practice. Marks was also injured briefly, it looked like he got the wind knocked out of him, but he returned and caught the TD pass.


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