NCAA

Down goes Wisconsin

For the first time ever, Washington State (2-0) knocked off a ranked Big Ten opponent with a 17-14 at Camp Randall Stadium. No. 18 Wisconsin (1-1) struggled to find consistency in the ground game and never really adapted to the Cougar defense.

Cougar head coach Jake Dickert picked up a huge win in front of his family less than two hours from where he grew up.

The Cougar defense pitched a shutout in the second half while the offense scored ten points in the third quarter to take the lead for good. In fact, the go ahead touchdown was scored by former Wisconsin running back Nakia Watson when Cam Ward hit him with a check down pass, which Watson then took to the house.

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Ward, and the entire offense really, looked far more comfortable in the second half. While the offense struggled, including two picks by the sophomore quarterback, and never really found its footing, the 17 points it scored in the middle two frames was all it needed to pull of the upset victory in front of nearly 76,000 fans.

Watson’s touchdown reception was preceded by one of the more bizarre plays I’ve ever seen in football. Two plays prior to the touchdown Ward threw an interception and as the defender turned around Lincoln Victor came in from out of bounds to hammer the ball carrier which forced a fumble. An offensive lineman recovered the loose ball which led to a Cougar first down and eventually points.

It got even more weird because WSU would pick off a pass in the fourth quarter only for the defensive lineman who made the catch fumble the ball as well. A penalty on the Badgers put their offense in a hole that they would not recover from. That sequence of events killed a Wisconsin drive and ultimately decided the game.

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What I liked

The defense was all over the place today, and i was particularly impressed with it’s ability to close the lanes in the middle of the field to force the Badgers off of the tackles. It was honestly the biggest difference maker in the game as it prevented Braelonn Allen or Chez Mellusi from really finding any consistency. It meant the Wisconsin had to rely on explosive pass plays to take up chunk yardage and that’s not exactly its biggest strength.

Washington State’s defense did not need to generate turnovers to keep the Cougars in this game. That is major props to the guys on the roster and who were on the field today, and to the coaching staff under defensive coordinator Brian Ward. This is year three in this system for most of these guys on defense and it showed.

Yes, I know if was a fumble at the end of the game that got the ball back into the hands of the offense so they could milk the clock — and there was an interception, that was then fumbled. But both of those turnovers came after the Cougs had taken the lead. Those played a huge role in Washington State’s ability to hold onto the lead at the end, but they were not the reason the Cougs had been in the game until the fourth quarter or taken the lead.

What I didn’t like

The secondary took a pounding, health wise, and that’s scary because there isn’t a ton of depth there. It will be something to track throughout the season, but ohhhh boy does that make me nervous.

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What needs work.

Really, I should talk about the offensive play calling at the start of the game here.

But fuck it, the Cougs beat Wisconsin at Camp Randall and will host them in Pullman next year.

GFC

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