Washington State football took one to the jaw last night as they lost yet another Apple Cup Game. Here are our six takeaways from their 28-15 loss.
What a difference a week makes. After last Saturday’s blowout win over Arizona, Mike Leach and his Washington State football team looked to be unstoppable. Wazzu was on the cusp of a division title, a PAC-12 title and either getting into college football’s version of the Final Four or playing in the Rose Bowl. Fast forward to today, all of those nice opportunities have gone by the wayside as a result of the Cougars 28-15 loss to UW in Friday’s Apple Cup Game.
At snowy and blustery Clarence Martin Stadium, Wazzu could never get any consistency on offense or defense throughout the day. Their only constant was chaos. The game featured six turnovers, three by each team. The Cougars were never out of the game until late in the fourth quarter. At the same time, it didn’t feel like they were in it either. Opportunities to succeed passed Wazzu by while Washington played to its strengths.
Washington State faced more than one challenge Friday, they faced several. Some of the challenges were tangible and some weren’t. Here are our takeaways from the game.
Cougars vs. the Elements
The game wasn’t played in a blizzard, but on television, it looked like a scene from the Snow Bowl in 2002. Cold and snowy conditions are the reason why northern teams, especially northeast ones run the ball late in the season. Mike Leach’s Air Raid system is a fantastic offense, however, Friday night we found out it doesn’t do well in the snow.
It was clear that both teams had problems with footing. In Washington State’s case, the poor field conditions greatly threw off Gardner Minshew‘s timing. That allowed the Huskies defense to lay off a bit on passing situations. Why should UW play tight coverage or press when the Cougs skill players were just as likely to slip as the defenders were.