Here are my three takeaways from WSU’s 45-17 Apple Cup loss:
1. Defensive meltdown
It didn’t matter what call or scheme the Cougs were running on defense because nothing the Cougars did was going to stop the Huskies on this day. Everything that the Dawgs did worked. They made it look easy and flat out embarrassed the Cougar defense. UW was bigger, faster, and clearly played smarter. Cougar fans who thought defensive coordinator Alex Grinch might be leaving sometime soon might not have that concern after the past two games that saw the Cougar D beaten on the ground and through the air.
2. Yards tough to come by for Cougar offense
WSU fought for every inch on offense while giving up free yards on D in massive chunks by way of missed tackles and missed assignments. Cougar ball carriers often went down after the first hit while Husky ball carriers seem to make every would-be tackler miss. When Wazzu had the ball, first down markers appeared to be miles away. When UW was in possession, it felt almost inevitable that they would move the chains. Competition was non-existent.
3. Squandered opportunities
After being blown out in the first quarter and trailing by 25 points at the half, Wazzu had some opportunities to get back in the game during the third quarter but came up short time after time. The Cougs converted less than half their third down opportunities and went 1-4 on fourth down. Two trips into the red zone were stopped short and both ended with WSU turning the ball over on downs. That’s 14 potential points. WSU's offense needed everything it could get with the Husky O moving at will, but nothing was working.
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