Washington State Gives 11th Ranked Oregon a Scare: Ducks win 43-29

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(Photo Credit: Young Kwak / The Associated Press)

After a memorable opening night victory the weekend before (38-28) against the Oregon State Beavers on the road, the Washington State Cougars had a lot of positives as they opened up the “Rolo Era” at home against the 11th ranked Oregon Ducks.  Nick Rolovich, their new coach who took over for the famous Mike Leach, secured his first victory on opening night of the Pac-12 season that had been shortened by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Washington State started a true Freshman at QB, Jayden de Laura, to run their new “Run N Shoot” offense.  After eight years of the “Air-Raid”, the Cougars had to get used to something new and so did their fans.  Jayden de Laura threw for 227 yards while the team ran for 229 yards.  It had been the first time in years that they had more rushing than passing yards.

Without their star RB Max Borghi it didn’t matter.  New stars emerged.  RB Deon McIntosh ran for 147 yards.  Travell Harris led the team in receiving.  The defense was impressive with lots of new faces led by LB Jahad Woods and DE Brennan Jackson.

The “Rolo Era” opened up their Saturday evening match-up against the Oregon Ducks in front of thousands of cardboard fans.  After receiving the opening kickoff, Wazzu failed to move the ball and punted to the Ducks.  Oregon wasted no time as they dominated the Cougars defense and drove down the field with ease, eventually scoring to go up 7-0.

Cougar nation was wondering if this was the beginning of a blowout win for the Ducks but they were proven wrong.  Behind the leadership of the true freshman, de Laura led them down the field in six plays as he went 3-3 on the drive ending with a touchdown pass to WR Lucas Bacon.  RB Deon McIntosh helped with some key runs helping the Cougar nation not worry that RB Max Borghi was inactive again.

https://twitter.com/CPark18/status/1327409476010344450?s=20

Freshman walk-on safety Ayden Hector for Washington State did something that was quite phenomenal.  The next 3 Oregon Ducks drives ended quickly with a fumble, an interception and a fumble.  Hector recovered both fumbles and got the interception, something one rarely sees in football.  The Cougars converted those turnovers into 10 points as they increased their lead to 16-7 over the Oregon Ducks.

The defense continued to dominate as they forced the Ducks to punt.  Jayden de Laura and Deon McIntosh took over and led the Cougars on a thirteen play drive just before halftime that led to a field goal.  With 24 seconds left to go in the half, Wazzu led 19-7.  The Ducks quickly responded.  17 seconds later they scored a touchdown.  With a 5-point lead, the Cougars still had to be happy to be up on the 11th ranked Oregon Ducks.

Oregon opened up the 2nd half receiving the kickoff.  Many expected the momentum would sway their way after how they ended up the first half.  At first it looked like they would as they dominated the Cougars defense but Wazzu came up with a big stop.  Oregon would settle for a chip shot field goal which they missed!  Now was the time for Washington State to turn the momentum their way.

Unfortunately the Ducks defense showed up in the 2nd half as they limited the Cougars to 10 second half points.  Oregon on the other hand scored 28 second half points.  On their next four drives, they piled up 298 yards and 4 touchdowns.  In the end the 11th ranked Ducks were too much for our beloved Cougars as they pulled away with a 43-29 victory.

 

Takeaways from the loss to the Oregon Ducks:

  • Jayden de Laura is one heck of a QB.  The freshman from Hawaii has thrown for 548 yards and 4 touchdowns through two games.  Jayden has averaged 7.6 yards per completed pass and has a QB rating of 139.2, not bad for a freshman leading a new offense.  De Lauria has the making of a true leader as he has made many good decisions over the first two games.  He has also made some bad decisions but he is young and is only going to get better.  Nick Rolovich has provided Cougar Nation with a gem in this young QB.  The future is bright for this young man and for the Washington State football team.

  • The run and shoot offense is going to be fun to watch and learn along the way after 8 years of the “Air Raid.”  The run and shoot offense is “an offensive system which emphasizes receiver motion and on-the-fly adjustments of receivers’ routes in response to different defenses.”  I don’t know about you but I am confused by each play they are running and am loving it!

 

  • Where is our star RB Max Borghi?  Deon McIntosh has run for 230 yards in the first two games.  He has done an excellent job but we need Max back!  Where is Max Borghi?

  • Defensive end Brennan Jackson has 11 combined tackles, ½ sack and 1 forced fumble through the first 2 games.  Why do I bring his name up?  He has been all over the field during the first two games (as proven in his total tackles).  This kid hustles on every single play and is going to be fun to watch.

 

  • Nick Rolovich thank you for coming to Washington State University and becoming  our football coach.  We, Cougar Nation, love what you bring to the table on offense and defense.  We love your enthusiasm, how the players look up to you.  It’s like you are a “Father Figure” out there to these young men.  Washington State is fortunate to have found a wonderful human being with a great football mind to take over our program.

 

Washington State travels to Stanford for their next game this Saturday night, November 21st.  Even though these so-called “experts” picked our beloved Cougars to finish on the bottom of the standings, we are proving them wrong already.  These last four games are going to be fun to watch the progress of these young men as a team.  I’m predicting an upset this Saturday over Stanford.

Washington State 31 – Stanford 27.  Go Cougs!

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