Everyone knew it was possible. WSU was on an eight-game losing streak without a win in the conference. Washington was surging, winning their last four games, including two road games. The Apple Cup knows no favorites.
Mike Leach won his first Apple Cup as head coach of the Washington State Cougars. Steve Sarkisian lost for the first time in an Apple Cup matchup. The hat suffered its first loss upon the head of Washington's football coach.
The game was over, or so it seemed, when Bishop Sankey ran for a score after Shaq Thompson recovered a Bobby Ratliff fumble. Then Washington State fought back. The Cougars responded with a 75-yard (counting penalties) touchdown drive to bring the game within two scores. The rest, as they say, is history.
Dots shine bright despite a dull loss.
- Keith Price had no time to throw ever. He took his drop, hitched and went down. He often got the ball off, but he went down quite a bit. Regardless of what was happening, there is no excuse for the final offensive play. The attempted shovel to Sankey over a defender was inexcusable.
He was erratic with his accuracy, but when given any time in the pocket at all, he generally delivered an accurate pass to an open receiver. One quick little side note that I saw was that when Price is under pressure and may get hit, he leans to his left and throws extremely over-the-top. I don't know if this affects his accuracy (it sure seems so) but it is just a small thing that I saw.
- The line was bad. Really bad. Run-blocking, their strength, was better than the pass blocking; it certainly couldn't have been worse. Sankey consistently was hit in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage. Running backs need to be able to get through the line of scrimmage to consistently gain yards. One example of what went wrong was the Price fumble. The defensive tackle ran right through the line and hit Price as he was extending to hand the ball off. That is the type of run-blocking Sankey gained 84 yards behind.
- The receivers had good games. Williams stepped up, Seferian-Jenkins was big in the first half, despite being quieter in the second half. Bruns had a touchdown. Diandre Campbell had several catches as well. William Chandler had a catch even. They got open and didn't drop passes.
- Penalties. Defensive pass interference. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. 17-127
- Bright spot: Gregory Ducre. He will be relied on his Senior season with Desmond Trufant graduating, and he looks to be up to the task. He tackled well and passes were generally not completed in his direction.