Explosive second half leads to WSU’s 8th straight win over Oregon State

Washington State (3-3, 2-2) scored 28-points in the second half to win its eighth straight game over Oregon State (4-2, 2-1) on Saturday. Starting quarterback Jayden de Laura tossed for 399 yards and three touchdowns in the upset victory.

For the first time in the Rolovich era, the offensive scripts used at the beginning of the game was ineffective. On the first drive they were forced to convert on fourth down before a punt was made. Then on the second drive, Washington State went three and out after it attempted a couple of deep shots. Which was troubling because the offense has not found consistent success on explosive plays; it’s been primarily slants and runs outside the tackles that have had success.

The offense’s early ineffectiveness came back to bite WSU in the ass when Colletto’s two-yard touchdown run gave capped off a 91-yard, 13 play, drive.

Washington State responded with a long drive of its own, but it only resulted in three points after a questionable draw on third and five. During this drive, Calvin Jackson Jr. took a huge hit to the back that resulted in him going into the injury tent. The Cougar offense got into the red zone, and while they put points on the board they were unable to find the end zone. And against this explosive Beaver offense, that felt ominous.

Fortunately do the Cougs, their defense was able to buckle down in their territory as they only allowed a field goal after Oregon State had run all over them. It was good to see the defense respond the way it did and limit the Beavs to seven-point lead; an 11-point lead have left the Cougs with a different feeling headed into what appeared to be final possession before the half.

Jackson came back on that following drive, WSU was unable to score. At that point OSU took over with around 90 seconds left on the clock; quarterback Chance Nolan threw a low pass towards the side line that George Hicks III picked off on a brilliant diving grab.

Unfortunately, Jayden de Laura threw his own interception off a deflection from inside the Beavers’ five-yard line. After Oregon State took a knee to run out the clock with a 10-3 lead in the first half.

After successfully breaking up a fake punt on OSU’s first drive of the half, the Cougar offense committed itself to the ground game. And this paid off with a Max Borghi three-yard touchdown run that capped off a 58-yard drive. On that game tying scoring drive the Cougs ran the ball on five of their nine plays.

On the ensuing drive, the Beavers’ ground game took them all the way to the Washington State eight. But Oregon State’s offense inability to consistently pass the ball came back to hurt them as the Cougs forced a third and six by bunching up on the line to shut down the run. That third down conversion ended with a tip drill interception for WSU.

Washington State turned that pick into seven points when Joe Hobert turned a slant into a 55-yard touchdown pass. It was Hobert’s first career touchdown and it gave the Cougs their first lead of the game. Unfortunately it wasn’t a lead that lasted long as the Beavers hit an explosive running play (55-yards for BJ Baylor) and then a 15-yard touchdown run Deshaun Fenwick.

Those back to back drives was when this turned into a track meet. Because de Laura hit Lincoln Victor on a 14-yard passing touchdown to cap off a three-play scoring drive. It came after an impressive catch and run for Travell Harris that led to a 58-yard gain. Victor’s score handed the Cougs a 24-17 lead after the PAT, it was also de Laura’s second passing touchdown of the game.

Oregon State’s offense has finally figured out Jake Dickert’s defense as they marched down on the field on five plays to score on another Fenwick touchdown. It’s notable that Oregon State didn’t throw the ball once as they shredded WSU entirely on the ground, this includes a recovered fumble. The game had suddenly turned into high scoring affair as 21 combined points had been scored in less than five minutes of game clock.

Deon McIntosh scored on a boot leg pass from de Laura, the quarterback’s third of the game, to give Washington State a 31-24 lead with less than five and half minutes in the game. This touchdown really came on the back of McIntosh as he was responsible for 45 of the Cougs 75 yards on the drive. Harris was responsible for another 25 yards.

Post game thoughts

  • Oregon State averaged 6.4 yards per carry on the ground in the first half. The Beavs were able to do whatever they wanted on the ground, but were only able to score 10 points.
  • While the first half was a defensive show case, the second half was a drunken track meet. As both offense absolutely popped off with explosive play after explosive play.
  • De Laura was everything that we could have hoped for when he was recruited. The sophomore had his first 300+ yard passing game and extended several plays with his feet.
  • The Beavers had a chance to gain a two game lead on their closest competition for the North, this loss keeps the race close for at least another week.

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