Washington State dominates No. 15 Stanford powered by a highly impressive Cougar D

WASHINGTON STATE announced its Pac-12 North presence with authority Saturday night at No. 15 Stanford. The 42-16 victory didn’t do justice to how strongly the Cougars controlled, and dominated, the Card.

The Cougar D bludgeoned the Stanford offense, including Christian McCaffrey and the Cardinal o-line, all night long on The Farm. David Shaw (pictured above) saw his offense manage only a field goal until scoring a meaningless TD on the final play of the game.

And even when the Air Raid stopped itself and allowed Stanford hope (two interceptions, one returned for a TD, for starters) Luke Falk and Co. showed their mettle and seized momentum right back.

The dagger came with WSU leading 21-10 but with Stanford holding Ol’ Mo.   After the pick-six, Falk drove the Cougs down the field, shaking off a targeting hit to the back of his helmet. Faced third-and-goal from the 17-yard line. Gabe Marks, who became the No. 2 all-time leading receiver in Pac-12 history on Saturday, found some space in the back of the end zone. 

That’s a wrap.

River Cracraft had a ridiculous night, crossing the 100-yard mark early in the fourth quarter on six catches -- most  of the ooh and aah variety.  His seventh grab, a full extension TD catch over his shoulder with the defender mauling him in the air, was a catch of the year candidate -- the kind where you shake your head and say, “What he just did, couldn’t be done.”

The Cougar D, though, was the star of the night, racking up four sacks and a myriad of pressures.    At the end of three quarters, Stanford had 50 yards rushing on 20 carries (2.5 ypc).

Washington State’s stop corps forced three turnovers on the night – interceptions by Isaac Dotson and Shalom Luani and a forced fumble by Peyton Pelluer (recovered by Dotson).

The Cougs forced McCaffrey out of the game in the second half, he eventually returned to the sidelines with ice on his hip.  WSU limited him to 83 all-purpose yards (35 rush, 5 rec., 43 return).

Hercules Mata’afa was the most visible of the Cougar defenders, punishing the Card for four quarters. But the d-line, linebackers and secondary all took starring turns on stage.  To wit, Dotson’s improbable, diving interception was worthy of a star wide receiver.

In the fourth quarter, up 28-10, the Cougs started to work a little clock and started to go more to their run game. The Cougs crossed the 100-yard mark on the ground a short time later.

Stay tuned, we’ll have complete coverage coming up on Cougfan.com!

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