WSU Goes M.I.A. in Blowout Loss at Utah

Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Saturday night the Washington State Cougars invaded Utah looking for redemption after their meltdown in Pullman the weekend before against UCLA.  Utah, who came in ranked 19th in the country, were looking to put a stop to the “Air-Raid” attack after their loss to WSU last season.  Utah came in with a record of 3-1 while the Cougars sported the same record.  After a week of tackling drills (WSU’s defense had forgotten how to tackle), Coach Leach had a vote of confidence for his football club as kick-off approached in front of another nationally televised audience!  The rain was coming down, thunder was occurring around Salt Lake City, and both teams prepared for the opening kickoff with WSU on the receiving in.  Little did the Cougars know that they were in for a rude awakening.

The Washington State offense came out and surprised Utah by running the ball successfully on their first two plays.  The drive shortly stalled and they punted.  Utah QB Tyler Huntley came out to start the offensive for the Utes.  Tyler, who had been battling injuries, looked like an NFL starting QB from the first play of scrimmage.  Huntley would outplay Cougar QB Anthony “Air” Gordon the entire football game as the Cougars had no answer for the young QB.  Utah would drive down the field with ease but miss a field goal.  After stopping the Cougars and forcing them to punt again, they would put together another long drive.  This time they would score a touchdown and take an early 7-0 lead.  It was looking like a continuation of the UCLA game as Cougar Nation watched in agony, hoping for something to happen to stop this bleeding.  “Air” Gordon must have sensed our frustration as he picked apart the Utah defense and led his troops to a touchdown, hitting RB Deon McIntosh for the score to tie it at 7 apiece.

Twenty-six seconds later, as the 2nd quarter opened, Utah scored their 2nd touchdown of the football game.  Huntley threw a yard 52-yard touchdown pass to his wideout as the Cougar defense took a siesta on the drive.  Gordon led his team on two long drives that eventually stalled.  They both ended up in field goals though as WSU was within a point (14-13) as halftime slowly approached.  We still had a football game despite the Utah offense tearing apart the Cougars defense.  Huntley decided that his squad needed some more and went on another 75-yard drive, taking the clock down to nearly zero.  He scored on a 15-yard run.  Both teams would go into the half soaking wet, but we seemed to have a football game with Utah being up 21-13.  If the defense would come together for the 2nd half and the offense could create some scoring drives with touchdowns, WSU still had a chance (that is what they thought anyway).

Utah took the opening kickoff and drove down the field taking nearly 8 minutes off the clock.  The 14-play drive would result in only a field goal.  With a quarter and a half to go, WSU was down 24-13.  Despite the stingy Utah defense, with “Air” Gordon at the helm, there was confidence still in the stadium as WSU took over at offense.  Three plays later, Utah picked off Gordon.  We all love our beloved Cougars, but after the turnover by Gordon things didn’t look good for WSU.  Huntley took his Utes on another long drive that ended with another touchdown for Utah.  Utah took the lead 31-13 as WSU took over (with the 3rd quarter ending).

WSU opened the 4th quarter on a 16-play drive, the problem was that the clock was bleeding.  Time was running out.  On play number 16, on 4th and goal at the Utah 3-yard line, Gordon chose wrongly and hit RB Max Borghi with a pass.  Max quickly got stopped and Utah took over on their own 2-yard line.  Utah ended up punting the ball away.  Gordon, on the very next play, threw another interception that Utah returned to the 35-yard line.  Utah would eventually score on another Huntley run to go up 38-13.  WSU would get the ball back and fail to score as time ran out.  WSU fell to 3-2 on the season.  They will take October 5th off and return to competition against Arizona State on the road the following Saturday on the road.  Kickoff is at 12:30pm in the desert!

5 Takeaways from the WSU versus Utah football game

  • The extra tackling drills didn’t help the defense. They looked completely outmatched on nearly every play.  It seemed like no one knew what position they were playing. The defense gave up over 500 yards for the night.  Tyler Huntley is a good quarterback, but he isn’t the “All-American” quarterback they portrayed him to be.  I don’t know if this defense can be fixed, or even patched up. The defense reminded me of the Paul Wulff era, an era we Cougars try to forget.
  • The offense was not very good. They accounted for just over 300 yards for the night, not very Cougar-like. Gordon has had a spectacular season up until the Utah game.  He was very ineffective in leading his troops to battle last Saturday night.  The decisions he made on Saturday night weren’t very good.  Let’s chalk it up to one bad outing, but for WSU to succeed on offense, he must turn his game around in two weeks.  Gordon had a rating of 35.1 for the night, not what we expect from him or this offense.  Hopefully the bye week will be a good rest for him and his offense.
  • Despite the outcome last Saturday night, RB Max Borghi continues to dominate on the football field. This kid comes to play every week.  Saturday night, against the stingy defense of Utah, Max accounted for 51 yards on the ground and 70 through the air, nearly more than a third of the total offense for the night.  He is only a Sophomore folks!
  • Linebacker Jahad Woods continues to be all over the field and make plays. He combined for 11 tackles as he seems to be the only consistent performer on defense this season (though he would agree that he and his team need to get better a.s.a.p.).  Time for you to fire up your boys Jahad if we want to turn this season into a success!
  • Can Coach Leach perform a miracle on this team? Well, nobody can perform miracles, but Coach Leach has turned WSU into a football school.  Expectations should be high for this ballclub.  Leach ripped his team after the football game and has every right to.  Maybe it will motivate them, who knows?

These kids are going to college to get a degree, some who are hoping to play football in the pros one day.  This is not ten years ago.  Washington State University is a football school and we should expect more.  There is a reason why we brought in Coach Leach to turn this program around.  When we lose, it shouldn’t be “oh well” anymore.  It needs to be “what happened”?  On October 12th we will truly see what the rest of the 2019 season will bring to WSU.

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.