Let’s look at the stats of yesterday’s football game with Stanford and discuss what they mean.
WSU: 25 – STAN: 13
Offensively: The Cougars dominated the first down battle, meaning they were able to control the ball and make the “routine play” that Mike Leach has been pleading with his team to make. If the Cougs go out and dominate this stat the rest of the season, the last opponents are in trouble.
Defensively: The Cougars got off of the field! Most importantly, they made tackles in the open field and tackled as a team. It was great to watch our defense put in that kind of effort. It’s obvious that this team is much better when they have their offense making first downs and controlling the clock.
WSU: 401 – STAN: 136
Offensively: The Cougar receivers were phenomenal against Stanford, making play after play against the Stanford secondary and finally making the difficult catches that we’ve been waiting for. Regardless of the secondary, when the wrs catch the ball like they did yesterday, this team will put up these kinds of numbers week in and week out.
Defensively: 75 of the 136 came on 1 play in the 2nd quarter, the rest came on the Cardinal touchdown drive to begin the second half. Needless to say, minus the blown coverage, the defensive backs and linebackers made plays down the field that we haven’t seen yet, primarily before the ball was thrown.
STAN 120 – WSU 0
Offensively: It looks bad. It looks real bad, as a stat. The Mike Leach brand doesn’t ask for rushing yards in the conventional sense however. It’s important to realize that in college, sacks count for minus yardage in the run game and WSU gave up 10 of them. It’s also important to understand what happened in the game. Tuel took off 5 or 6 times to avoid sacks and pick up first downs, while the offense threw a lot of receiver screens. In this offense, you can chalk up those screens to rush yards, so I’d say we actually “rushed” for about 70-75 yards. That’s an alright night.
Defensively: What a job by the front 8. Defensive coordinator Mike Breske put 8 up in the box a majority of the time and the Cougar D-line held serve a majority of the night. There were a couple “almost” plays, but somebody always ended up making the tackle. I don’t believe there was a run over 15 yards and rarely did Stanford even reach the second level. That’s a huge win for the defense’ confidence.
STAN 0 – WSU 1
Offensively: The turnover was the difference in the game, as it happened with 10 minutes left with WSU down 17-10 and resulted directly in a touchdown. Even with a punt in that situation the Cougs would have potentially gone to overtime.
Defensively: Gotta get at least one in this game. There were 2 chances that specifically would have changed the momentum. Tied at 10 on the Stanford touchdown drive to open the 2nd half, Bucannon had his hands squarely on an int, but dropped it. Late in the 3rd quarter, their qb fumbled on their side of the field, but recovered.