Dawg Blog - Washington State

Well, the mid-day fog has made the planned pre-game flyover impossible, so now it's just the battle of the bands. The Washington State band travels well and only did their trademark 'WSU' before the Washington band took center stage. After the seniors were honored, it was time for the always impressive flag ceremony.

12 minutes before gametime: Looks like five weeks for Johnny DuRocher, and even then they may have to do surgery on his injured wrist. Marlon Wood has four weeks to go before he'll be cleared to walk on his broken ankle, team captain Joe Lobendahn is not dressed and Jordan White-Frisbee is still using crutches to walk. No doubt this season has taken it's toll.

8 minutes before gametime: The four season captains have been announced - Brad Vanneman, Evan Benjamin, James Sims and Lobendahn. The Huskies are coming out of the tunnel and the four captains will be honored last. There are 28 seniors overall that are being honored, including 17 scholarshipped players: Tui Alailefaleula, Benjamin, Jason Benn, Ryan Campbell, Dash Crutchley, Ty Eriks, John Gardenhire, Andy Heater, Manase Hopoi, Steve Horan, Evan Knudson, Brandon Leyritz, Lobendahn, Mike Mapuolesega, Rob Meadow, Casey Paus, Michael Russell, Tusi Sa'au, Carlos Serrano, Sims, Chris Singleton, Matthew Smith, Brian Tawney, Kim Taylor, Joe Toledo, Vanneman, Ben Warren and J.R. Wolfork.

2 minutes before gametime: The Cougars come out, to a strong mix of cheers and boos. The Huskies win the toss and chose to receive.

Kickoff: The kickoff tumbles through the end zone, Washington starts on it's own 20. Rob Meadow is starting the game at right tackle.

13:32/1st: WSU DC Akey is really throwing pressure at UW between the tackles, almost daring the Huskies to play out to the edges. The Huskies get one first down, but then have to punt.

11:28/1st: Brink looks like he's come to play. Harrison provides the Cougars with a run punch, but the key will be whether or not the Huskies can get to Brink and make things hard on him. We'll see if Baer throws some LB stunts and blitzes at him like he did against Tuitama.

10:00/1st: Brink gets taken down by Benjamin, but comes right back with a 20-plus yard strike to Jason Hill. No question Hill is going to be Brink's favorite target today.

8:27/1st: A well-conceived screen pass goes for naught on a block in the back by true frosh Brandon Gibson. Huskies dodge a bullet, but then get burnt over the top by Greg Prator for a touchdown. Fountaine is going to have his hands full getting beat deep, especially if Levenseller keeps throwing other routes down the middle to hold the safeties.

8:00/1st: Right now it looks like both teams can be taken over the top.

7:08/1st: Lappano saw what Akey was doing and did a couple of plays around tackle. The result? First down.

6:37/1st: Now we know why Willingham has been stashing Kenny James. He comes out and throws a pass to Sonny Shackelford for six! 65 yards on the play. Looks like the Huskies have some more lightning in a bottle. The irony is, that's normally a play you might see from a wide-open WSU attack.

6:15/1st: Lobendahn is right on the sideline, like another coach for UW.

4:46/1st: Pass interference by Goldson on Prator down the sidelines. Either way, it's nice to see a Washington defensive back battling for position and the ball. It's that kind of play that will help them later in the game.

3:55/1st: Might be a long day for C.J. Wallace. After missing a tackle on Jerome Harrison, he has a perfect beat on a sideline ball thrown by Brink. But instead of making the play, he lets it hit off his pads and Chris Jordan from WSU comes up with the ball.

3:04/1st: This is where the Huskies have to stop the Cougars - in the red zone. And they do, as Benjamin brings down Ben Woodard in the flat to force WSU to take three.

1:52/1st: Big brain fart for Roy Lewis coming out of the end zone. He puts one foot out and then freezes. He is only able to get to the UW 13. Paus comes in and throws to Stanback. Lappano is really throwing the kitchen sink at Akey and the WSU defense. And Akey in turn is throwing everything right back at him, straight up the middle.

:15/1st: Trandon Harvey touched the ball after making a fair catch signal, and almost putting the Cougs in a world of hurt. He gets the ball at the WSU 36.
12:39/2nd: Goldson whiffs on the play, as Harrison runs through the middle of the Washington defense for big yardage. The Cougars are once again heading for possible paydirt, but get slowed a little bit by a reviewed call that didn't go their way.

12:30/2nd: Afoa and Gunheim with a big sack to take WSU out of field goal position, although Langley tried a 50-yarder. It was well low and left. Big stop for Washington. Both defenses are making life tough for the opposing QB's. Husky Stadium is finally packed and the fans are making noise like Husky Stadium crowds of old.

10:21/2nd: Douglas gets off a booming 54-yarder, ends up at the WSU 7 yard line. It would be nice to see the Huskies hold WSU to a three-and-out here, get the field position battle swayed more in Washington's direction.

9:35/2nd: Harrison really is the difference so far, making Huskies miss left and right. Washington just has to tackle better if they have any chance of holding him to a decent amount of yardage.

8:15/2nd: Gunheim shows his closing speed in pinning Brink down for a loss of 11. Brink tries to get it back with his feet, but ends up four yards short. Shackelford fields Basler's punt and ends up at the UW 36.

6:42/2nd: Cody Ellis gets a PI called against him with a linebacker trailing the play. Tough call. Stanback scrambles to get the yardage back on the very next play.

4:48/2nd: The Huskies did themselves no favors on that drive, with needless penalties and dropped passes. Douglas gets the WSU punt returner to fair catch at the WSU 11, so Washington has another chance to pin the Cougs deep.

3:31/2nd: Harrison gets the corner and the UW contain took a horrible angle, allowing the WSU RB to go uncontested for big yards. Add to that a Washington offsides, and the Huskies are 'killing themselves in the foot' - to use a Jason Gesser-ism. The UW crowd is strangely silent. They are not doing that much to disrupt Brink.

1:58/2nd: Brink finds Cody Boyd all alone in the middle of the field and throws the ball behind him. Langley ties his career long with a 48-yarder and the Cougars lead 13-7. The Huskies should feel fortunate to get out of that drive altogether. Boyd had nothing but real estate in front of him if Brink can get him the pass. The Huskies have nearly two minutes to put some points up before halftime. Can they put it together?

1:09/2nd: The answer to that question is a resounding no, and now it's WSU that's taking timeouts so they can get a shot to finish the half on a score. Akey is blitzing at will, and the Huskies simply do not have an answer.

:52/2nd: Douglas rips off a 60-yarder, half of that on the ground, to put the Cougs deep. Harrison goes for 10, now over 100 yards for the day. It looks like WSU is content to go into halftime up six.

Third Quarter Kickoff: Give that half to the Cougars; they dominated on the scoreboard and on the stat sheet. They had nearly a 2-1 advantage in time of possession, and the WSU defense limited UW to just 78 yards after the James-to-Shackelford touchdown pass. It all starts with defense and the Huskies have to force some turnovers. Neither team has a miscue, but I doubt that will be the case after the next two quarters.

13:09/3rd: Harrison picks up where he lefts off, ripping a long run off a pitch to the right side of the UW defense. Boyd picks up nine, leaving Doba with his first big decision of the game. He goes for the kick with Langley, and it's no good to the left. Another bullet dodged by the Husky D. Stanback needs to get the offense going with a steady drive and some first downs to give the defense a rest. Lappano is going to earn his money this second half. His adjustments are going to be crucial to any success Washington may have.

12:18/3rd: A hold to start off Washington's first offensive drive of the half. A negative portent of things to come? And again, Stanback needs to put some air under the ball to allow his receivers deep to make a play.

10:56/3rd: Anthony Russo has a chance to get a first down for UW and drops the ball. Where are the playmakers?

10:48/3rd: Senior J.R. Wolford makes a huge recovery on a booted WSU punt return. Will this give the Huskies the boost they need? Clearly, Washington needs a jump-start of some kind to build some offensive continuity. Sonny Shackelford has a chance to make a first down and he can't make a play on the ball. The receivers right now should be seriously ashamed of themselves. All they are expected to do is catch passes and hold onto the football. Right now they can't do either, and it's killing the Huskies.

9:17/3rd: An old face reappears - Corey Williams. Apparently, he's one of the few players that can actually hold onto the ball today, and Stanback rifles one to him for a key first down on 4th and 7. The reviews on some of these plays has gotten almost comical. Williams got THREE feet in bounds, but they still apparently felt the need to take a second look.

8:20/3rd: On the face of it, a penalty for illegal formation was innocuous enough - just a five-yard penalty. But it came on a play where Joe Toledo was on a back-side tackle-eligible play - just the kind of trick play Lappano would love to have in his holster. I don't know if they'll go to it again.

7:41/3rd: The old reliable - a Craig Chambers fade route with one-on-one coverage for a touchdown. The Husky Stadium crowd comes alive while Captain Husky goes to work. It's nice to the Dawgs back to catching passes again. UW has the lead, now a rested Husky D needs to feed the momentum generated by the offense.

5:39/3rd: The Huskies get just what Willingham was asking for - a three-and-out. The UW crowd is very much into the game and then Shackelford - who made such a great play in the first quarter - comes up with a killer fumble off on a punt return. The ball ends up right in Brian Hall's hands, like it was divine intervention. The Husky D again is asked to come up huge.

3:55/3rd: Looked like Washington had Harrison down on 4th down, but the spot said otherwise. A big play that continues a WSU drive that is headed for points.

2:53/3rd: Harrison takes it to the house, as Washington just didn't do a good enough job wrapping him up. Arm tackles aren't going to do the job. They go for two and don't make it, leaving the game 19-14 WSU. Today's attendance is announced at 70,713.

2:18/3rd: Stanback's first pass to a tight end today, comes up big. It's a 25-yarder to Rob Lewis. They back it up with a 19-yard pass to James Sims.

:29/3rd: Cody Ellis does his part to keep another promising drive alive with a 17-yarder on third-and-11. Sims backs it up with the Huskies' longest run of the day to put the ball at the WSU 5-yard line.

14:50/4th: Sims gets a touchdown in his final game, a fitting move considering how well he's played the last half of the season. They too go for two and Russo comes up clutch with a catch in the deep right-hand corner. The Huskies are now up 22-19. An 80-yard drive right when the Huskies needed one. Perhaps Sims will be able to really give them a fourth-quarter run punch. They need to balance things out to continue to keep WSU off-balance.

13:57/4th: The Cougars come out and get big chunks of yardage. Add to that a personal foul facemask call on Washington, and it's like deja vu all over again. Washington is just giving the Cougs all the room they want.

12:15/4th: WSU is knocking on the door. Will Washington let them in, or tell them to get off the porch? So far UW is doing a good job of not allowing Harrison to break free inside the red zone.

11:37/4th: The Huskies stiffen up, forcing Doba to go for another kick. Langley cougs it short and left from 28 yards, about as bad a kick as you can imagine in that scenario. He is now 2-5. Perhaps it's a sign of things to come?

10:37/4th: Again, Sims comes up huge with a tough, hard-nosed run. On his next carry, he gets blown up by three Cougars, and Alex Teems hits him square on his thigh. No pad was going to help that hit. But he gets up. I bet he comes back in at some point.

10:12/4th: Huskies have to punt. The Cougs load up on Douglas' right side and actually get a hand on it, but Douglas still gets it down inside the WSU red zone. This is UW's time to make a play and put the game out of reach.

9:49/4th: Harrison shows a little frustration for the first time all game, and it costs his team some big yardage. The Cougs are backed up and the Husky fans are smelling blood in the water.

8:57/4th: Boyd comes up huge as Brink scrambles for his life and find the big tight end for a big first down. The Cougars had gone 0-8 in 3rd-down tries in the second half before getting that one.

8:06/4th: Bad timing to get a poor snap, but Brink tries to make the most of it. He comes up short and the Huskies induce a punt. Basler doesn't come up with his best effort, and the Huskies get the ball on their own 36. It's been a popular starting spot for a lot of UW drives.

7:44/4th: Singleton's in the game. The senior will need to hold onto the ball and make some crucial runs for the Dawgs down the stretch.

5:41/4th: Good kick by Douglas, but can't keep it out of the end zone. From there, the Cougars start driving.

3:39/4th: Brink has WSU driving, they just put it into UW territory.

1:50/4th: Cody Boyd comes up big again. Brink has used his 6-8 tight end really well today.

1:20/4th: The Cougars go back to one of their staples - the bubble screen. Trandon Harvey gets the ball. Fountaine is on the ground and can't recover, as Harvey goes 39 yards untouched. The Cougs that have come in full force are going nuts. The air has gone out of Husky Stadium.

:26/4th: Stanback gamely throws four times, a couple of times far downfield for jump-ball situations, but the Cougars hold firm and take the ball over. WSU wins 26-22. Ultimately, losing Sims to keep the ball rolling on the ground for Washington was a pretty big loss.

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