The defense was a pleasant surprise
First-year defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys had the defense prepared for this one. Wyoming’s offense is not as high octane as the Air Raid attack, but it was a good first test for the young group.
More from Seattle Sports
- Seattle Seahawks: 12s still waiting to exhale
- Seattle Seahawks: 4 Takeaways from 26-23 Loss to the 49ers
- Seattle Seahawks: Dud and Stud of week 12 – Carolina
- Apple Cup: History leading up to the 2018 edition
- Seattle Mariners trade James Paxton. Deja vu or re-imagining?
The Cougars are getting used to life without All-American defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa and showed signs of making that transition by sacking Cowboys QB Tyler Vander Waal three times and holding him to 67 yards passing.
The pass defense will be further tested in conference play. PAC-12 teams throw the ball much more often than Wyoming did. Games at USC and Stanford will be challenging, along with the season finale against rival Washington and quarterback Jake Browning. The schedule gets much tougher, but road season openers are challenging too. Washington State accepted the challenge defensively.
The Cougars had positioning issues on a 23-yard touchdown run by Avante’ Cox, but overall the defense was solid allowing only 206 yards of offense by the Cowboys.
WSU can now look forward to home games against San Jose State and Eastern Washington. If they take care of business, they will head to #15 Southern Cal at 3-0 as they face their biggest test with this new team and quarterback.
Expectations for Washington State are lower than the last couple of years, but Mike Leach’s team is already taking on an underdog type of feel. We will see how long that lasts when conference play begins and the adversity returns.