SCRIMMAGE 2: Youth takes center stage

PULLMAN -- The clear story line coming out of Washington State's scrimmage Wednesday night was the reversal of fortune. The Cougar offense, lackluster Saturday in the summer's first scrum, was lights out this time around. But the most memorable parts of the night were the fireworks created by DeMaundray Woolridge and two rookies: RB/return man Derrell Hutsona and linebacker Andy Mattingly.

Derrell Hutsona returned a Loren Langley kickoff to the house before the offense even had a chance to line up. DeMaundray Woolridge's first carry went for 60 yards. And although it occurred when mostly reserves were in, Andy Mattingly also caught the eye of Bill Doba with a 57-yard interception return for a touchdown off Kevin Lopina.

"If he continues to improve, we probably won't redshirt him," Doba said of Mattingly. "We'll go ahead and put him on special teams, and get him some playing time."

Hutsona used sheer athleticism and vision all the way on the return, nimbly dodging defenders before turning on the jets. Woolridge broke up the middle, with Doba noting the nice move that freed him up 20 yards in to take it all the way.

"I was really happy to see Woolridge make a good cut," Doba said. "We had some good movement there."

There were plenty of other offensive bright spots for Doba and the WSU staff. Alex Brink was 14-20 passing for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Chris Jordan led all receivers with six catches, racking up 74 yards and a touchdown along the way.

"It makes a difference when Brink is healthy," said Doba, referring to this past weekend's scrimmage when the junior played sparingly due to a virus.

Jordan, slowed by knee injuries over his career, has turned in a bang-up camp and appears the healthiest he's been in a long time. His touchdown came on a 21-yard strike from Brink after the defense had turned in some plays of their own on the drive -- most notable were two pass-break-ups from the hands of DE Mkristo Bruce and cornerback Don Turner.

Safety Husain Abdullah also notched a nice pass break-up early on, while DT Ropati Pitoitua recorded two sacks on a night when two of his starting mates on the line were absent -- defensive end Matt Mullennix (hand) and defensive tackle Aaron Johnson (hamstring). Defensive coordinator Robb Akey wasn't satisfied but saw things to build on, as did Doba.

"Defensively we did some good things, too," said Doba. "We'll be okay when we get everybody back."

Brandon Gibson pulled in four grabs for 85 yards and was on the receiving end of a Gary Rogers touchdown, while All-America candidate Jason Hill's night included a 33 yard TD strike. Following the Mattingly interception, Brink led the 1s back onto Martin Stadium and drove the Cougs to paydirt, finishing the drive off by connecting with Hill.

Rogers led an impressive drive of his own where he spread the ball around as the Cougs moved their way downfield, eventually hitting the leaping Gibson for the score. Rogers was 12-21 for 116 yards with two touchdowns. Neither he nor Brink threw an interception on the night.

The running game, the catalyst for the first offensive TD for the night, was steady throughout after the Woolridge dash. Six Cougar running backs combined for 136 yards on 21 carries. Ian Bell moved the chains for 10 yards on one carry and Hutsona continues to make his case for playing time. The Hutsona highlight package, apart from his return, included a run from scrimmage where he broke four tackles, refusing to go down until he had picked up the first down.

The final touchdown of the night for the offense was a Rabb-Rogers connection. Finas Rabb saw tough coverage on the night from Brian Williams, who started at one corner spot opposite Don Turner, and B.T. Walker. But the 6-foot-6 receiver exacted some revenge when he pulled in a score from four yards out against tight coverage from Williams.

The defense closed out the scrimmage by denying the offense the end zone in hurry up drills.

The field goal kickers started the night slowly, with Romeen Abdollmohammadi and Langley each missing their first two attempts. Both juniors recovered in the second half, sending two kicks each sailing through the uprights.

Freshman DE Ansley Jean-Jacques got to the quarterback along with Pitoitua's two sacks, for a total of three sacks by the D.

Scoring - Hutsona kickoff return, Woolridge 60 run, Gibson 19 pass from Rogers, Jordan 21 pass from Brink, Mattingly 57 interception return, Hill 33 pass from Brink, Rabb 4 pass from Rogers
Rushing - Woolridge 7/75, Tardy 5/19, Hutsona 3/17, McCall 3/16, Bell 1/10, Ivory 1/-1
Passing - Brink 14/20/2/0/164, Rogers 12/21/2/0/116, Morgan 0/3/0/0/0, Lopina 0/2/0/1/0
Receiving - Jordan 6/74, Gibson 4/85, Hill 3/41, Woodard 2/10, McCall 2/13, Collins 2/14, Rabb 2/14, Hutsona 1/4, Thompson 1/6, Bumpus 1/4, Dillon 1/12, Woolridge 1/2
Interceptions - Mattingly
Sacks - Pitoitua 2, Jean-Jacques

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