The WSU defense recorded three turnovers in TNF this week, one coming on the very first play from scrimmage.
Things got underway with a short completion to third-year sophomore running back Keith Harrington. Freshman inside linebacker Jahad Woods quickly pursued to the football swarming Harrington then stripped the rock right out of his hands and proceeded to take it the other way for an easy walk-in score.
After second-year freshman quarterback Tyler Hilisnki (pictured above right) restarted the drive, he restored order by steadily driving the offense down the field. Inch by inch he hit one short throw after the other, eventually completing the drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to first year receiver Dezmon Patmon on a slant route.
When freshman quarterback Anthony Gordon took over on the next possession, he struggled to move the offense when faced with some fierce play from several Coug defensive backs.
Walk-on fourth-year junior corner Dakota Sinchak made a couple nice plays that really sparked the beginning of a big night for the WSU D. Sinchak shut down a quick slant route to freshman receiver Grant Porter. He then went on to break-up another pass headed for Porter that would have easily given the offense a first down. A few plays later on a fourth down attempt, another walk-on, sophomore corner Josh Emmy responded with a pass break-up of his own that quickly ended Gordon’s first drive of the night.
After the failed fourth down attempt, Gordon started his second drive. Just two plays in he made a throw that he probably wishes he could’ve taken back. On a quick outside throw to Patmon, Emmy was there to make another play by quickly jumping the route, intercepting the pass, and took it all the way back for a pick-six.
Remarkably, Gordon kept his composure and remained confident as he connected with sophomore receiver Brandon Arconado on the very next snap for a 55-yard touchdown pass. It was a perfect throw and perfect catch on a corner ball that had Arconado running untouched for about 30-yards to the end zone.
That explosive play was about it for the offense as defensive coordinator Alex Grinch’s DB’s continued to make more and more big time plays.
When Trey Tinsley stepped in at quarterback, he too tried to turn things around for the offense only to be shut down as a couple more DB’s stepped up in clutch situations.
On a third-and-two, Tinsley dropped back and quickly felt pressure from a blitz. He looked for Harrington as an outlet and finally spotted him wide open in the middle of the field. While falling backwards to avoid a sack, Tinsley hurriedly tossed the ball up to Harrington who was met by a screaming D’Jimon Jones closing from the safety level. Jones seemingly came out of nowhere and put a big hit on Harrington to force the ball to fall harmlessly incomplete.
Now faced with a fourth-and-two, it all came down to one final play. Convert, and the offensive lives to see another series. Fail, and TNF was over.
With the pressure on, Tinsley took the snap and looked for his man Arconado on a go route up the middle of the field. Tinsley put great touch on the ball and it looked like it was going to be caught for a first-down. Arconado had freshman nickel Justus Rogers beat by just a step or two. Caught in a trail position, Rogers had no choice but fall back on his coaching which teaches him to play the receivers hands after getting beat over the top. Without looking back, Rogers timed the throw perfectly and threw his hands up right when the ball was about to hit Arconado in the chest. The pass was broken up and the defense erupted in celebration as the whistles blew for the end of another wild Thursday Night Football scrimmage.
Here are more highlights and takeaways from this week’s TNF:
- Deon Singleton recorded two pass-break ups during Hilisnki’s scoring drive. One of the two was almost an interception, but went straight through Singleton's hands.
- Greg Hoyd played extremely well in TNF this week. He made a handful of open field tackles at the line of scrimmage and laid some monster hits on a few ball carriers.
- Tristan Brock and Jeremiah Mitchell each recorded sacks that went for a loss of seven-yards each.
- On a third-and-17 play, Porter moved the sticks with a 20-yard pass completion from Trey Tinsley. The play ended with a big hit from Jones that put both Porter and Sinchak on the ground.
- Patmon caught a screen pass for a 12-yard gain that ended with a huge truck stick putting freshman DB Skyler Thomas right on his back.
- After three dropped INT’s last week, Dillon Sherman had another opportunity for a pick tonight but let it slip out of his hands. Still, he has tallied four pass break-ups in the past two weeks which is pretty impressive.
- Porter had a handful of good catches on the day. Two going for more than 20-yards, and a handful of first down conversions.