What They're Saying, 10/24

IN CASE YOU needed reminding of just how ugly things were at Reser Stadium yesterday, here's a sampling from various eyewitnesses to Oregon State's 38-19 defeat of Washington State.

"With a freshman quarterback making his first collegiate start, Washington State needed some of its more experienced athletes to raise their level of play. Instead, several of them regressed. So they experienced a new taste Saturday on a chilly afternoon at Reser Stadium -- not the taste of a loss, which is starting to become familiar, but the taste of a decisive loss." Dale Grummert, Lewiston Tribune

"No sense writing a team's obit just because of a measly three-game losing streak, as the inconceivable events in Boston and New York this past week revealed. On the other hand, short of Curt Schilling showing up to play quarterback on his bloody stump, the Washington State Cougars' emotional fuel tank is pretty much on ‘E.' And now may be the time to start wondering about the transmission, the engine and the tires, as well." John Blanchette, Spokesman-Review

"What kind of day was it for the Cougars? Awful. The Beavers led 24-3 at halftime and 31-5 in the third quarter. The Cougars were a woeful 1 for 14 in third-down conversions. The game was significant because it was viewed as pivotal for the Cougars' hopes of getting to a bowl game for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year." Craig Smith, Seattle Times

"Bill Doba emerged from the Washington State University locker room after Saturday's game with a tight jaw, fiery eyes and clipped words. He was one mad coach after watching the Cougars lose, 38-19, to Oregon State. The Beavers scored a touchdown on their opening drive – the first time that had happened against WSU this season – and it never got any better for the Cougars." Darrin Beene, Tacoma News Tribune

"The Beavers entered the game last in the Pacific-10 Conference in rushing, averaging 73 yards a game. But they saw an opportunity to exploit WSU's defensive scheme…On Ryan Cole's touchdown, the Cougars blitzed two linebackers, and the Beavers ran a trap. Guard Roy Schuening pulled and sprung Cole, who scored untouched…'I was thinking, this is kind of like high school because usually those kinds of runs only happen in high school games,' Cole said." Mike Tokito, The Oregonian

"To their credit, the Cougars have avoided pointing fingers within the locker room. Instead, both players and coaches are harping on their lack of consistency, especially frustrating on a young team that has shown it has the talent to control the flow of games." Glenn Kasses, Spokesman-Review

"Cole's 79-yard touchdown run helped give the Beavers a 26-point lead in the third quarter of a 38-19 win over Washington State yesterday at Reser Stadium…The Beavers knew of WSU's tendency to blitz on second down and called a guard-trap play to catch the Cougars off balance. The play worked perfectly, as two WSU linebackers and a safety charged through only to watch Cole slip by." Kevin Hampton, Seattle Times

"After scrambling away from Oregon State's defense all afternoon, Alex Brink scrambled some more after the game, searching for words to assess his performance Saturday. A 38-19 loss to the Beavers in his first career start for Washington State wasn't the kind of homecoming the former Sheldon High School star quarterback had envisioned." Adam Jude, (Eugene) Register-Guard

"The Cougars frequently blitzed, but were often in the wrong area. The linebackers also held back, looking for pass plays. That allowed the running backs to break off steady runs of three and four yards once they slipped by the defensive line." Cliff Kirkpatrick, Corvallis Gazette-Times

"Brink proved that mobility isn't always the key to avoiding sacks. Ushered into a starting role when Josh Swogger was diagnosed with a broken foot last week, the more fleet-footed freshman was sacked five times -- more than Swogger had been toppled in the previous three games combined." Dale Grummert, Lewiston Tribune

"OSU shut down split end Jason Hill, who came into the game averaging 29.6 yards per catch with a Pac-10 best nine touchdowns. Hill's only reception came in the final minute of the game." Gary Horowitz, (Salem) Statesman Journal

"Unfortunately for Brink, the Cougars don't have much time left this season for him to gradually improve if they are to make a run at a winning record and a bowl invitation." Glenn Kasses, Spokesman-Review

"Riley thought special teams would be an important factor, especially the punting game. And it looked as if WSU had the advantage with Kyle Basler, who led the Pac-10 with a 45.1-yard average. But OSU's Sam Paulescu outplayed Basler, despite WSU pressure. Paulescu's 69-yard punt -- it was tipped, but took a generous roll -- backed up the Cougars in the second quarter. When another long punt rolled out of bounds at the WSU 8-yard line, it helped set up a Beavers touchdown. It was significant that Basler averaged only 39.5 yards on 10 punts, whereas Paulescu averaged 45.7 on six." Paul Buker, The Oregonian

"No, this was certainly a collective swoon, and it's a team with collective problems. Opponents seem to have solved WSU's array of blitzes, or at the very least are good guessers. The running game, while becoming more productive, doesn't get rolling early enough in the game to take the pressure off the quarterback. And the only route the Cougars have apparently nailed is back to the drawing board." John Blanchette, Spokesman-Review

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