So we have found a team more offensively inept than the Washington State Cougars. No don't get me wrong, I will enjoy a Cougars win until I die. However, if we that this is a win the Cougars deserved I will and might actually disagree with you. I was under the impression USC was overrated coming into this season. I give the Cougars credit for a good defensive performance but I also do not want to give 100% credit for that performance to the Cougars.
Reasons for Optimism
Improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 Defensively
Specifically in the secondary, I thought the Cougars were better than last week. They put themselves in much better positions to make plays on passing plays. I thought Damonte Horton and Daquan Brown were better with their coverage on receivers. We should not overrate the two picks the Cougars had in this game. The first interception Horton had was a blatantly bad throw. Kessler threw the ball like Horton was his receiver. The other interception Horton had was another poorly thrown ball. The ball was thrown inside as the USC receiver was running a hitch (Never throw the ball inside on a hitch). It was a good effort by Horton but it was equally a bad throw.
Tackling Much better
Clearly, the Cougars went to the tackling dummies after the disappointment in Auburn. Those missed tackles from that game were not apparent in this game. The Cougars swarmed to the ball and kept USC runningback Tre Madden from breaking long gains.
Reason for Concern
Regression from Week 1 to Week 2 Offensively
So Washington State was able to win a very, very poorly played offensive game. The Cougars rushed for 120 rushing yards last week. They rushed for seven yards on Saturday. Now 30 of those negative yards are attributed to Halliday getting sack but still, the Cougars looked inept on the ground.It may be because USC had a little bit more stockier guys but that still does not explain a lackluster seven yards.
Still the same Halliday
So Halliday did a bit better considering he only had two picks Saturday. However, the offense struggled to moved down the field. It took a spectacular catch and run by Dominique Williams to even get the Cougars into Field goal range for the game-winning kick. There was no passing threat provided by Halliday and a lot of his throws were check downs. I know I'm being harsh but considering the Cougars will be playing Stanford soon, I would like to see the game competitive for a bit.
Defending the Rush is still an issue
The Cougars still are getting pushed around by opponents. They allowed 139 yards on 42 carries. This is not as bad the Auburn game and many may be thinking how this is a concern. Think about this: USC clearly had no way to throw the football, they weren't disguising the fact that they were going to run the football. However, the Cougars still got pushed backward, knowing all USC could do was run.