Stop the Run
One area that Washington State doesn’t get the credit they deserve is with their improving run defense. Cal came into Saturday’s game averaging 183.6 yards per game on the ground and only picked up 112 against the Cougars. Garbers was the Bears leading rusher with 67 yards on 11 attempts. Many of his yards were gained when he was flushed out of the pocket.
Over the past three games WSU’s opponents, Oregon, Stanford, and California, totaled a combined rushing average close to 450 yards. The Cougs allowed a combined 290 yards in those three games. That’s pretty darn good. Some of that total may have to do with teams picking up their passing attack, but not the majority of it.
Consider how well Washington State has handled featured running backs. The Cal game was a good example, Coming into Saturday, running back Patrick Laird was averaging 82.5 rushing yards-per-game and 4.65 yards-per-carry. He was held yesterday to 40 yards rushing on 18 carries which translates to 2.2 yards per attempt.
How about Peyton Pelleur? It seemed like he was all over the field against Cal. He had 10 tackles, one-and-a-half for loss, and was credited with half of a sack. When one of Cal’s quarterbacks got to the line of scrimmage he had to account for the Cougars number 47.
At times Pelluer could be found rushing the QB, other times he was plugging potential holes a rusher could get through. He was even out in coverage occasionally. Wherever the ball was, the sixth-year senior linebacker wasn’t far away from it.