James Snook/USA TODAY SPORTS

3 takeaways from WSU win over Idaho

PULLMAN – Cougar fans, this is the running back you've been hearing about for the past year-plus. James Williams, who tore it up against the scout team in 2015 while redshirting his true freshman season, and the guy who has had so many memorable moments in practice this season and last, took center stage on Saturday in WSU's 56-6 win over Idaho. And you know what?

1.     Williams lived up to the hype

After WSU coaches decided to move James Williams up the depth chart, their decision proved to be extremely effective in Saturday’s game. Williams showed incredible balance as he was able to run through tackles and stay on his feet after contact. He picked up 126 yards on 14 carries, and totaled 15 yards through the air with 3 catches. Williams had one score on the day coming off a two yard run that gave the Cougs their first touchdown on the day.

2.     WSU special teams come up big

Cougar special teams turned in a huge performance accounting for two touchdowns against the Vandals. The first score came after a blocked field goal by Robert Barber where Marcellus Pippins picked it up and returned it to the house. The last time WSU blocked a field goal was back in 2015 against Wyoming. Who made that play? Robert Barber. The second special teams TD came after Dylan Hanser forced a fumble on kickoff coverage. Gerard Wicks alertly snagged the loose ball and rumbled straight into the end zone. Cougar special teams have shown huge improvement in the first three games this year. The punt return game is starting to come together. Kickoff coverage looks better than I’ve ever seen it.

3.     Defense pitches a shutout

It wasn’t Washington State's best defensive performance by any means, but they kept the Vandals out of the end-zone all day while holding them to just 6-points on a pair of field goals. Hercules Mata'afa (pictured above) spent most of the game in the Idaho backfield. The Cougar D tightened up their pass coverage after being attacked on multiple deep throws early in the game. In the second half, the defense really started to dominate Idaho’s offense. They played physical football all day, especially in the final three quarters. It didn't matter which of the three quarterbacks took snaps, they couldn't move the ball down field.

 


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