Both teams came out with energy and intensity, but the first quarter was owned by the Huskies. The Dawgs rolled for 274 yards of total offense and four touchdown drives.
The story for Wazzu was told by their inability to put consistent pressure on UW's Jake Browning. Given time by his offensive line and an impotent WSU pass rush, Browning shredded the Cougar secondary for 202 yards while completing 13 of 17 passes.
Following the first fifteen minutes of play, Luke Falk and his offense continued to be baffled by the Dawg defense. Wazzu was so far from resembling the team they've been all season that on a fourth and two play Falk backed away from trying to extend the drive by calling a timeout. Instead of going for it on fourth, Kyle Sweet and the punting unit were sent out to kick it back to the Huskies. Hardly the aggressive stuff Cougar fans have come to expect from Mike Leach.
Call it reverse psychology, but Leach may have found a way to fire up his guys.
A spectacular punt return by Wazzu's up man set up their offense first and goal from the UW 6. High energy turned out to be a detriment after a false start penalty because drive that would get WSU right back in the game ended with a failed fourth down effort by Gerard Wicks. The first play of the drive was a false start that can be attributed to trying too hard to do too much.
Washington State was able to restore a measure of order to the game after their defense force a fumble and cashed in the turnover for a touchdown.
With River Cracraft on the sidelines due to injury, the primary task for Washington's defense was to keep Gabe Marks from beating them. The Dawgs have done just that over the course of the first half.
Falk's chance to bring WSU within three scores at the end of the half ends when he throws and INT in the end zone.
The Cougs will need to find a way to dictate to Washington in the second half. That must begin at the line of scrimmage with Wazzu finding ways to move Browning around. He's too good a passer to allow time to set up in the pocket and make his reads of the coverage.
Luke Falk 14 of 20 for 102 yards, no TD's and one INT
Jake Browning 17 of 22 for 243 yards, three TD's and no INTs
WSU third down conversions: 3 of 7 and 0 for 1 fourth down attempts
Check back with CF.C our wall-to-wall coverage and lively message board conversation.