Cougs' skid continues with lopsided loss

MAYBE SOME INCLEMENT weather might have helped. As it was, the Cougar defense couldn't stop an athletic, running quarterback on the ground or through the air, and a mistake prone offense could do little to keep up on the scoreboard as the Cougs fell to 0-3 on the season with a 45-17 lopsided loss to Baylor.

Washington State looked outclassed Friday night against a Baylor team expected to struggle this year.

Playing a game on the same day as they flew in due to an onrushing hurricane, the Cougs led the game 7-0 early, taking their first drive to paydirt. But it all turned Baylor's way shortly thereafter.

Kevin Lopina in his first start had two interceptions and two fumbles and seemed to lock onto his receiver before departing at the end of the third quarter. The Cougar defense didn't fare any better, surrendering 328 yards (unofficially) in the first half alone, with nearly 100 of those coming on the ground by the Baylor quarterback, who finished with over 200 yards rushing.

Lopina and the Wazzu offense did put up a solid conversion rate in the first half on third (7-10) and fourth down (1-1). And he was 12-19 with 125 yards passing in the first 30 minutes. But those numbers belied a mistake filled offensive performance in the first half.

The defense couldn't stop Baylor. And three ugly turnovers in the first half led in part to a 28-14 deficit at the break. Two were gift wrapped interceptions, the third a botched snap off a miscommunication between quarterback and center, and a clank off Lopina's facemask.

Lopina suffered a wrist injury towards the end of third quarter and Gary Rogers replaced him with the Cougs trailing 41-14 with 14:54 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Rogers drove the offense down to the Baylor 14-yard line on his first drive, but the Cougs could only net a 31-yard field goal to make the score 42-17. Rogers' second drive was highlighted by a pair of connections to Brandon Gibson, one a 40-yard catch and run, the other a fourth-and-ten conversion. It too stalled when Kevin Norrell fumbled after the catch on the Baylor one-yard line.

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