Woods Lays the Smackdown on Northern Colorado as WSU Wins Big!

Jahad Woods (Photo: Cougfan.com/Whittney Thornton)

The 22nd ranked Washington State Cougars were rewarded with a 2pm kickoff on Saturday afternoon after their blowout victory over New Mexico State the week before.  All of Cougar Nation was wondering, as they woke up Saturday morning, would their beloved Cougs achieve the same success against their opponents from Northern Colorado as they did the week before?  What happened to star linebacker Jahad Woods?  How long was he going to be out for?  Was Anthony Gordon just a fluke, or would we see another flash of “Air Gordon” out on the football field?  So many questions and so many answers as we were soon about to find out what really happened in the Palouse this past week.  The students and fans quickly filed into Martin Stadium as the hour to kick off quickly approached!

The answer to Jahad Woods came quickly as all the Martin Stadium crowd screamed their approval as his name was announced as the starter.  It didn’t matter that it was such a secret all week in the media.   Wazzu’s beloved star of their defense was back and all things were good now!  Northern Colorado received the kickoff and game two was underway.  The Cougar defense held their opponent in check after Northern Colorado failed to move the ball and punted it back to WSU (The Bears were flagged for two false starts during the drive).  In came Anthony Gordon for Washington State.  Can he do it again?  We were soon to find out.  Four plays later (3 completed pass/ 1 run), the Cougars were in the endzone on a touchdown pass to WR Easop Winston Jr.  Just like that the score was 7-0 WSU!  The route was on, or was it?

Northern Colorado took the football and drove 75 yards in 8 plays and tied the game at 7-7.  WSU’s defense looked lost during the entire drive.  The Cougars quickly realized that their opponent was better than they thought, and Coach Leach let his defense know that.  Gordon looked focused and ready to lead his troop down the field once again, but the Bears defense was fired up.  After a pass for a negative yard, there was a feeling that maybe “Air Gordon” was coming back down to earth.  He proved his critics wrong, at least those watching him on television as he said “so what” and drove his beloved Cougars down the field that lead to a touchdown pass to Max “Touchdown Machine” Borghi from four yards out (Max’s 2nd TD of the young season) to put WSU up 14-7 as quarter one was getting closer to the end.

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Northern Colorado continued to find holes as they drove forty plus yards with ease on the ensuing drive.  With 15 seconds on the clock, WSU forced the first turnover of the game when the Bears running back fumbled the ball.  WSU linebacker Ron Stone recovered.  Gordon hit WR T Martin for 25 yards and after a running play the 1st quarter ended.

“Air Gordon” opened the 2nd quarter hitting WR Brandon Arconado for 39 yards with a great pass and run.  Brandon nearly made it to the endzone but was marked down at the 2-yard line.  Max “Touchdown Machine” Borghi ran it in from two yards out for his 2nd touchdown of the day (3rd of the season).  WSU went up 21-7.  Over the next seven minutes, both teams had trouble moving the ball (WSU more than Northern Colorado) as they both exchanged punts in the process.  The Bears were awarded wonderful field position on a rare bad punt by Oscar Draguicevich III and took over at the 40-yard line.

Northern Colorado drove it to the Cougars 33-yard line as the drive stalled.  Their kicker made a 50-yard field goal to cut the lead to 21-10.  WSU took over at their 25-yard line and went on another drive.  After a 13-yard run by Borghi and 3 consecutive beautiful passes by Gordon, Cougar Nation concluded that their new star quarterback was normal.  On the fifth play from scrimmage, Gordon threw perhaps his worst pass ever, right into the arms of the other team for an interception and WSU’s first turnover of the season.

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Northern Colorado took over knowing they had little time to drive the field to cut the lead.  Three plays later, the defense showed what can do by quickly forcing another fumble, the 2nd turnover for Northern Colorado.  With less than a minute to play, Gordon quickly drove the Cougs inside the five-yard line and were forced to kick a field goal.  WSU 24, Northern Colorado 10 as they went to the half.

WSU opened the 2nd half receiving the kickoff.  Can “Air Gordon” continue to continue his dominance or was he a flash in the pan all fans were wondering?  After a year of what Gardner did for this program, it’s understandable if Wazzu Nation was second guessing themselves.  Gordon quickly proved the doubters wrong.  He took his troops on a 75-yard drive, 6-6 through the air.  He ended the drive with another TD pass to Easop Winston.  With a score of 31-10, fans sensed the end of the day for Gordon, possibly once the third quarter was over, but can the defense turn it around?  They showcased major holes on defense the first half of the football game and the previous week.  Now was the time to fix these problems, or at least seal them for the rest of the game until they can figure out what to do next.

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Northern Colorado came out on offense and continued what they did successfully, they ran the ball.  WSU held the Bears though and they had to punt.  Travell Harris ran it back 16 yards and Gordon went back to business at the 50-yard line.  The drive ended 5 plays later with a touchdown run by RB Max Borghi, his 3rd of the day (4th of the season).

WSU forced another fumble on the Bears next drive, their 3rd turnover of the football game.  The defense was so pumped up that the mistakes of the first half were quickly forgotten by those watching the game on TV across the country.  Gordon quickly found Brandon Arconado in the endzone three plays later and just like that the score was 45-10.  The star of the drive was Easop Winston with 2 catches for 44 yards.

Either the reserves came in or the starters went back to sleep because the Bears took over and quickly drove the field.  As the 3rd quarter ended, they were in the red zone looking to score on the Cougs.  On 4th and goal, to start the 4th quarter, the defense rose to the occasion and stuffed the Bear’s running back.  Washington State’s ball as they took over on downs.

WSU took over and went on a mini drive, but “Air Gordon” deflated and they were forced to punt.  They pinned the Bears with their successful punt at their own six-yard line.  The defense again rose to the occasion and forced their fourth fumble of the football game.  Trey Tinsley took over for Gordon (last week was Gubrud) at QB and lead the Cougs on a 2-play drive.  Trey threw his first touchdown of the season to WR T Martin.

With a score of 52-10 and less than 8 minutes to go, the Cougar reserves were in to close out the game on defense and it showed.  Northern Colorado put together a 10 play/ 75-yard drive to cut the lead to 52-17 with minutes to go.  QB Gage Gubrud came in for the final drive of the football game.  He led his team on a long drive that ended a 32-yard gallop by RB Deon McIntosh for the touchdown.  The clock struck zero shortly later and the Washington State Cougars won their 2nd ballgame of the 2019 season.  With a record of 2-0, the now 20th ranked Cougars travel to Houston this Friday the 13th to take on the Houston Cougars on national TV!

Takeaways/ Observations from WSU vs NCU!

  • Anthony “Air” Gordon continues to achieve elite status as he replaces the legend Gardner Minshew at quarterback. He showed he was human on Saturday with his interception and a couple passes he overthrew.  If people were watching the game, they would have witnessed how passionate he was and upset when he made those mistakes.  Gordon’s final stats were as follows: 31-39 completed passes for 464 yards and 4 touchdowns.  He did have one interception, but no one really noticed because he quickly made us forget.
  • Nine different pass receivers caught the football. WSU was led on Saturday by Brandon Arconado with 8 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown.  Gordon’s buddy, Easop Winston had 6 catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns.  The thing about this receiving core is that they all are skilled and capable of leading the team every week.  Any team with a great defense will still have trouble stopping these kids if our QBs get them the ball.  It’s a long season and it is going to be fun watch all of them mature.
  • Max Borghi had three more touchdowns on Saturday to increase his total to four on the young season. He is well on to breaking records in Pullman, and he is only a Sophomore.

  • Jahad Woods, 10 tackles! No question he’s the leader of this defense.  Where would the Cougars be without him.  Nice job!
  • Linebacker and true Freshman Travion Brown had 8 tackles on Saturday. He has 12 tackles on the season and has obviously established himself on this Cougar defense.  The Cougs would be crazy to redshirt him after his first two games.  We will find out soon.

  • The defense has issues and they will need to be fixed or at least patched up soon with the Pac-12 season starting up for them real soon. If we want things to get better, they will need to start tackling the runner like they were taught back in grade school.  We can all agree on that.

This Friday night the Cougs get their first test of the season.  Houston Cougars are a good ballclub and can put up great numbers.  They have a stud at QB who a dual threat and his name is D’Eriq King.  He passed for two touchdowns and ran for over 100 yards and a score against 5th ranked Oklahoma in week one.  The team is 1-1 on the season.  With the problems on defense for WSU expect a shootout.  Final score this Friday will be Cougars 52-47.  Turn in Friday night at 6pm on ESPN and find out which Cougars prevail!!  Talk to you next week!

 

Go Cougs!

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News Reporter
Brian joined the SSU in 2017 and covers the Everett AquaSox. I'm a graduate of Washington State University and I'm a die-hard baseball fan.