Washington State Football: 6 takeaways from 34-20 win over Oregon

Dezmon Patmon, Washington State football. (Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images)
Dezmon Patmon, Washington State football. (Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
Washington State football
CJ Verdell, Oregon Ducks. Washington State football. (Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images) /

Ground to a Halt

The first thing that struck me about the Cougars defense yesterday was that they were determined Oregon wasn’t going to run all over them the same way the Ducks did to Washington the week before. Oregon running back C.J. Verdell paid with his body for every yard gained.

More from WSU Cougars Football

He took a dozen handoffs and gained 55 yards. Taking out a fourth quarter, 20-yard scamper, Verdell had 11 carries for 35 yards (3.18 yards-per-carry) the rest of the time.

No one else had success either. Travis Dye, who had 74 combined yards last week, had three carries for minus-four yards. When quarterback Justin Herbert tried to run the ball, he didn’t have much success either. The game plan was to have Herbert beat WSU through the air.

No fly zone

I have to hand it to Leach and Cougars defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, they read Oregon’s offensive strengths and weaknesses well. The plan was to have the Ducks to beat WSU with their passing game. It was a risky strategy considering how USC took advantage of the Cougs smaller corners a few weeks back. However, Oregon couldn’t capitalize the same way Southern Cal did.

There were times when Ducks receivers got open, even fewer times when Herbert got them the ball. Washington State’s pass rush seemed to disrupt UO’s timing. They sacked Herbert three times and hurried him four more. That doesn’t include the times when Oregon’s quarterback felt the pocket closing and scrambled out of it.

Next. Football picks for October 20-22. dark

There is no time to savor this victory, the Cougars play another elimination game next week against Stanford.