Thoughts on WSU football’s loss to Stanford

The Cougars were expected to lose this game by a 17 points. Stanford ended up covering the spread, thanks to a late touchdown. While it was a tough game for Cougar fans to watch, it wasn’t all that surprising.

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The Washington State Cougars have now lost two games in a row, and are sitting at 2-5 (1-2) on the season, after losing to the Stanford Cardinal 34-17 on Friday night. It was a tough, physical, game that saw WSU’s inexperienced offensive line get dominated by the Stanford front seven.

NCAA Football: Washington State at Stanford

WSU’s wideouts and running backs were unable break tackles against the Cardinal. (Courtesy of CougCenter)

The loss was not all that surprising, the Cardinal play tough physical defense and many pundits expected the young Cougar offensive line to struggle. What was surprising was the inability of the WSU wide receivers and running backs to break tackles when they were in open space. After all, there were a lot of questions about Stanford’s secondary after the complete break down in coverage that allowed the game winning touchdown to Notre Dame last week.

Stanford’s secondary wasn’t all that impressive in its win on Friday. There were several times were the secondary was unable to take advantage of poor passes by WSU starting quarterback Connor Halliday — those throws were usually the result of being hit as he threw it. The Cardinal secondary also struggled with leaving Washington State receivers out in space, but were able to mask that fact with their insane closing speed.

The Cardinal secondary wasn’t the only secondary that was shredded on Friday, as the Washington State secondary was annihilated by Stanford starting quarterback Kevin Hogan. Hogan averaged 8.1 yards per completion, and actually looked like a competent QB against WSU. Unfortunately, that just shows how far the weak WSU’s defense two-deep is (talent wise).

That’s incredibly frightening for this program going forward. As the lack of depth indicates that it is going to take a while for the defense to consistently shutdown opponents.

Halliday probably put together his worst performance since the 2013 Oregon State game, but that had a lot more to do with the fact that he was constantly on the ground. It’s hard to blame him for the offensive line’s struggles against an experienced Cardinal front seven.

The Cougars bowl hopes are all but dead, but the season must go on; and it starts with the bye week.

  1. Frustrating. The team just as easily could be 5-2.

    1. Just some really stupid mistakes, and a couple of really bad days by special teams…that’s the difference.

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