Washington State gets a boost from the special teams in the form of a 72 yard field goal block return by Marcellus Pippins in route to a 56-6 thrashing of the Idaho Vandals.
On a rainy day in Pullman, which spelled doom for the WSU last year against Portland State and Stanford last season, the Cougs were looking to jump out of the gates early and often as a 25 point favorite.
Reminiscent to the Cougars teams under quarterback Connor Halliday, the Cougs didn’t get on the board until 22 seconds left in the 1st quarter when redshirt freshman James Williams ran it in the end zone from 2 yards out to give the Cougs a 7-3 lead. With the Cougar offense struggling, the Vandals set up for a 22 yard field goal, which was blocked by Robert Barber and returned 72 yards by Pippens to give the Cougs a 14-3 lead. On the next Cougar possession, after a Vandal fumble, Luke Falk found Gabe Marks from 8 yards to put the Cougs up 21-3 going into the locker room.
The Cougs had found their rhythm both offensively and defensively and cruised to a 50 point victory over the Vandals. The Cougs had their first 100 yard performance by a Cougar running back in the Leach era. James Williams had 14 carries for 126 yards, and the Cougs as a team had 35 carries for 228 yards. This is something foreign to the Air Raid system, but the last 3 games, teams were playing with a 3 man front and forcing the Cougars to run. They used 3 running backs to really control the tempo and the game.
Coach Leach, who has gotten after his team for their effort after the Boise State game, comparing them to a junior college softball team said , “I thought we’ve had better focus throughout the week. The biggest thing about this week is that we played better.”
Falk was 21-36 with 226 yards and 3 touchdowns which is far off of his per game average of 450 yards. With over 200 yards of rushing and a good passing game, this was the most balanced attack they have had under Leach. “To have a game finally where we put it all together for a majority party of it, felt really good” Falk said.
The huskies beat the same Idaho team by 45, so the Cougs putting it together this game for the last 3 quarters, showed us what they are capable of. The Cougs have a much needed bye week before coming home to play a flurry of tough teams starting with Oregon, then go on the road to face Stanford, and face UCLA at home the following week.