It Only Took 13
The Washington State Cougars defeated #25 USC Trojans last Saturday 10-7 in the Coliseum for the first time in 13 years, and oh what a day.
I think I speak for every Cougar fan when I say, we popped bottles.
The Cougars won the game without an offensive touchdown – very unlike a Mike Leach coached team – but he’ll take it. This is one of the biggest wins for the Cougars in recent memory, and will hopefully be a turning point for the future of this program.
I believe some game balls are in order.
This one is a no-brainer. Damante Horton literally won the game for the team.
Horton scored the only touchdown for the Cougars on a 70-yard interception return from Cody Kessler to close out the first half.
He also picked off Max Wittek in the final minutes of the game to seal the victory for the Cougs.
I had my doubts about Horton – he has been burned on multiple occasions in the past – but this game really bumped him into my good graces, which I’m sure is a major accomplishment for him.
Kalafitoni Pole didn’t stuff the stat sheet on Saturday – only recording one tackle in the contest – but he did change the game in a major way.
Max Wittek took over for Cody Kessler at halftime, and on the opening drive he led the Trojans down the field to a 32-yard field goal attempt.
Typically a chip shot, but not on Pole’s watch. Pole swatted the field goal attempt down and kept the game tied at 7’s – proving to be a game-saving play.
Along with Deone Bucannon, Darryle Monroe is a clear leader on the Cougar defense. As a true sophomore Monroe has burst onto the scene as one of the conference’s top linebackers, and showcased some of that talent on Saturday.
He didn’t have any sacks and only recorded 6 tackles – but 4 were solo and several were on key plays.
The Trojans did all they could in attempt to get star wide out Marqise Lee going – mainly throwing screens and end-arounds to get the ball in his hands. But Monroe seemed to be there on every play to assure Lee minimal gains.
Now I am not saying he single-handedly shut down Lee. That praise goes to our next game ball recipient. But he did make his presence known, and on several third downs at that. Just another run-in-the-mill day for the young man out of Orlando.
Now here comes the true hero of the ball game. Holy hell did that Cougar defense look good!
When facing the Trojans as a defensive coordinator, it is obvious that your main focus is containing N o. 9, and the Cougars did just that.
Mike Breske’s Cougar defense held Lee to a career-low 27 yards on 7 receptions. For a player that is expected to go top 10 in the NFL draft next year, that’s impressive.
We took Lane Kiffin’s favorite toy out of the equation, and he didn’t seem too happy about it. Hat’s off to you Mike.
Cody Kessler/Max Wittek
Just for showing up.
How such high recruits can project such porous play is dumbfounding to me, but I guess that’s what happens when your offensive game plan gets shut down.
Looks like Lane has found himself on yet another hot seat. That guy must go through loads of khakis. (ZIIING!)