Game was forgettable, Ledgerwood was not

SEATTLE -- Linebacker Mike Ledgerwood was an afterthought on the recruiting trail back in 2008 when he was crackin' heads in obscurity for a small high school in a rural conference. He is obscure no more. With a whopping 14 total tackles – 10 of them solo – he was an eye-filling bright spot for Washington State in an otherwise forgettable Apple Cup.

He made the first two tackles of the game -- Washington's Chris Polk on the absorbing end of both -- on the opening kickoff and then the first running play from scrimmage. He was seemingly everywhere the rest of the day.

"I was just running my (tail) off. I was in the zone the whole time. I just wanted to play for those seniors, last game, that's what was going through my head the whole time," said the sophomore from River View in Kennewick.

"We fought as hard as we could against those Huskies. That's all I can say -- we fought as hard as we could."

Ledgerwood's 14 tackles Saturday equaled his entire output as a true freshman last season, and it boosted his 2009 tally by nearly a third, to 51.

Ledgerwood was a standout linebacker in high school, but at 6-feet tall, 215 pounds and playing in a lower classification league, he was largely overlooked by college recruiters. Jerry Glanville at Portland State and Paul Wulff, trying to cobble together a recruiting class on short notice after replacing Bill Doba at WSU, were the only two notables offering scholarships.

WSU's second-leading tackler against Washington was another linebacker, Alex Hoffman-Ellis/ He had seven total stops, including a sack of Jake Locker. Hoffman-Ellis' output earned him WSU's 2009 tackling crown, as he just edged out safety Xavier Hicks, who had three tackles against the Huskies and finished with 81 total for the season. Hoffman-Ellis finished with 84.

HUSKY OFFENSIVE LINEMAN Drew Schaefer of Sammamish was highly complimentary of the Cougar defense after the game. "They definitely brought everything they had. They played great up front on defense. They played really hard and they wouldn't quit, but as the game went on we just started to fall into our rhythm and the offense just started to roll."

The Cougar D did appear to wear down. And little wonder. Other than a 4-minute, 36-second drive in the first quarter, the WSU offense did virtually nothing to help the cause. The Cougars produced just 163 yards of offense.

But there were some chances. "We had opportunities," said Wulff. "On the first drive, we (Gino Simone) dropped a touchdown pass. We just had too many mistakes catching the ball today. There were a lot of drops that either didn't allow drives to continue or put us in position to score points with field goals or anything like that. We had a lot of that ….I thought we could score obviously. The quarterback situation going in and out...we could never get anything going."

"I blew it," Simone said. "I put us in a huge hole. We would've been up 7-0 at that point with a lot of momentum. It's a catch that I've made 100 times."

Wulff said receiver Jeffrey Solomon was the next man in line to play quarterback if third-year walk on Dan Wagner of Portland followed Kevin Lopina and Marshall Lobbestael to the infirmary. Wagner wrapped up the first half for the Cougars with a series of handoffs after neck pain temporarily left Lobbestael sidelined.

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