Well week 1 is complete and we’re on to week 2. There were a lot of shockers in week 1 and for Washington State they hope to continue the trend in week 2. Washington State played very well in Saturdays game at Auburn but a few costly mistakes left the Cougs on the losing in. Above we have the All Cougd Up exclusive “This week the trend” highlight video of last week.
So now let’s take a look at the matchup this week as the Washington State Cougars hit the road for the second week in a row to head to LA and take on the USC Trojans.
What the Trojans Bring:
Despite splitting time between two quarterbacks, play at that position was solid and consistent. Whether or not the Trojans are going through an identity crisis at the QB position, they proved they have two decent players competing for that position. Early after Kessler had left the game and Wittek came in it looked like Wittek had more success and would for sure claim the starting job, that however wasn’t the case. Even though the Trojans struggled offensively when Kessler was in the game, he was actually a bright point of the USC offense in the first half.
Kessler led the Trojans in passing completing 10/19 Passes for 95 yards and 1 TD and 1 INT. In fact it was the running game that let down Kessler in the first half. The Trojans would later open up the running game however rushing for a total of 192 yards which a good portion of came in the second half helping Mr Wittek look like the hero who saved USC’s offense. That however was not the whole story. Either way Kessler will be starting this Saturday and we will likely see Wittek as it looks like this QB competition is long from over.
On the Defensive side of the ball the Trojans give the Cougars a bit of concern as they intercepted Hawaii Quarterback Taylor Graham 4 times in week 1. The first interception was just a bounce off of a Hawaii wide receivers hands right to Trojan DB Josh Shaw who returned it for a TD. That interception changed that game and the Defense fed off of it. Look for the Trojans to continue this tempo and momentum coming into week 2 vs WSU.
So what are the Cougar trends this week?
Take care of the ball!! Last week as we all know Connor Halliday was picked off 3 times, one was off a receivers hands so that one you don’t worry about so much but he did have 2 very bad throws. The first bad throw is easily avoidable as Connor threw the ball on the run back across the field, the second throw was a bad read as he tried to hit an out and up route to the end zone. Both throws were on first down and neither of them were necessary. The thing that concerns me is Halliday could’ve easily thrown 5-6 picks in this game but the defense dropped a few similar throws from Connor. Hopefully Connor can clean this up and learn that it’s ok to throw the ball away on first and second down, especially when on the run. It will get no easier as this USC defense had 4 picks in week 1.
Next trend, continue to keep Connor protected. The O-Line is still a little ways from where they need to be but last week they looked lightyears ahead of where they were last year. They did an excellent job 90% of the time but there were still breakdowns. The line will need to be solid because the front 7 for USC can really get after the Quarterback and totally dismantle the offense. If the O-line plays good the Cougars can continue a successful running game as well. WSU was the worst rushing team in the nation last year but in week 1 they proved to be improved as they were able to run for 120 yards to add to a good offensive performance, if they can have that kind of success this week look out. However the rushing game will face a huge challenge this week as they take on a trojan defense who only allowed Hawaii a mere 23 yards on the ground.
Last trend is for the defense. The Washington State defense played really well last weekend, with the exception of one very huge running play. The other big scoring play for Auburn was a kickoff return that needs to be fixed. Most of all the defense has to pick up the intensity against the run if they are to be successful vs USC. Last week the Defense gave up 295 yards on the ground, 75 of that coming on one big blown play. If the defense can cut down the big runs, they will put their team in a great position to win it. Even with the struggles the defense had against the run, they continued to put the offense in a good position to tie the game forcing a fumble late in the 4th last week.
It’s only a matter of time before kickoff now and if the Cougs keep to these trends it should be a very very good game! Go Cougs!