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PRACTICE: TNF extended by Mike Leach

PULLMAN - Even a Washington State Thursday Night Football scrimmage leading up to Apple Cup can provide some controversy. Keith Harrington appeared to score a touchdown that instead was arguably a score for the defense. Mike Leach had no choice but to settle the dispute with one final play to determine a winner of this week’s Thursday Night Football - technically Wednesday Night Football, but let's not get technical. Let's get to a recap of the action.

It was a back and forth type of scrimmage. The offense methodically moved it's way down the field to put up a few scores, and the defense periodically made big plays to slow them down to eventually end a couple of drives.

When it came down to the end of another TNF, Anthony Gordon had the offense in a position to score with the ball on the two yard line. After a quick dump off to Harrington out of the backfield, two WSU defenders screamed down hill to prevent a potential touchdown. Harrington (pictured above) made a quick one-step move then leaped in the air and stretched for the goal line. 

From my angle it appeared that ball did cross the plane of the goal line, but in the midst of the play the ball was popped loose and ended up in the hands of Hunter Dale who took it 100 yards all the way for a defensive TD. 

The entire Cougar D raised their fist’s signaling that it was in fact a turnover and the offense held two arms in the air signaling for a Harrington touchdown.

Without hesitation, Mike Leach called for one more play to declare a winner.

Everyone circled around their respective units and hyped up their same color jersey. Most of the players were focused on Dezmon Patmon and Skyler Thomas, who were out on an island in an obvious one-on-one matchup. Thinking a goal line fade was sure to come, Gordon took the snap and handed it off to Harrington who hit the line and drove his feet all the way in for the deciding score.

The defense who thought they had it sealed after the scoop and score was stunned that it was the offense who got the last laugh. A big letdown for one side, and all celebration on the other.

That’s football for you. Gotta love it.

Play of the day:

On the offense's first drive, Tyler Hilinski pushed the ball down the field and ended his drive with a goal line fade. Patmon high pointed the ball perfectly, out jumping freshman corner Josh Emmy. In the football world, we call that getting “Mossed”.

Here are more takeaways, and evaluations of a few players that have shined throughout 13 TNF scrimmages this season:

Grant Porter put on a show today displaying everything that you want to see from a Cougar receiver. His routes were crisp, his hands were sure and he was extremely explosive after the catch. Porter was a guy whom I thought might see some playing time this year. After watching how much he has developed from day one until now, I think a redshirt season was a very wise decision. WSU will lose River Cracraft, Gabe Marks and John Thompson, three of Wazzu's top wide receivers, to graduation. Porter looks ready to be one of the next men up at WR. This kid is going to be a stud for the Cougars next year.

Jahad Woods continues to impress me every single time I watch him in TNF. Again and again he makes plays and is always near the football. He’s a natural tackler and brings a big punch on every hit. From day one of fall camp, watching Woods take reps with the defensive scout team, I instantly looked at him and thought he would eventually become a huge stud for WSU. After watching him in 13 TNF’s this year, I can tell you that is exactly the direction that he’s headed.

Two more players that have really impressed me this year who will likely become full-time starters next year are freshman Frederick Mauigoa and second-year freshman Noah Osur-Myers. These two offensive linemen, center and guard respectively, are another example of natural athletes that have an incredible combination of balance, footwork and strength. Mauigoa and Osur-Myers have been playing side by side in every TNF this year. With a solid foundation of chemistry and experience, these two will be well prepared when it’s their turn to step up next season.

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