Busting out of the tunnel at Floyd Casey Stadium, the Cougs looked ready to take on Big 12 opponent Baylor.
Baylor won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Big surprise there.
Baylor won the game 45-17 in a manner that should have folks saying, "No big surprise there."
The Bears' opening kickoff sailed nicely, deep downfield. Michael Willis cradled the ball safely into his chest, then continued the Cougs' busting out by running back to the 44-yard line of Baylor.
The quarterback controversy was settled when Kevin Lopina trotted out with the offense. Lopina looked ready to play, moving the Cougs down for a touchdown on their first possession.
Perhaps the growing pains brought about by a new coach, new quarterback, new offense, etc., were going to be behind WSU fans.
The running and beating by the Cougs became the essence of Baylor football the rest of the way.
As the first half wore on, Coach Paul Wulff's troops wore down. When the game films are reviewed, there will be no end to the coaching "opportunities" to improve the play of the Cougar offense, defense and special teams.
Let's consider how this game proved to be a dominant performance by Coach Art Briles and the Baylor Bears.
The Bears grabbed two errant Lopina passes for interceptions in the first half. That wasn't the worst of it.
The low point for Lopina and the Cougar offense came as a surprise to everyone. Lopina was checking his formation, making sure everyone was set. Suddenly center Kenny Alfred snapped the ball.
Unfortunately for Lopina, his head was turned to his right when the ball doinked off his face mask with such velocity that it ricocheted across the line of scrimmage and into the waiting arms of Baylor linebacker Joe Pawelek.
Any semblance of confidence the Cougs brought to the field bounced away with bad communication between Alfred and Lopina, a serious lapse in focus.
Bear quarterback Robert Griffin was scary good. He looked better than fellow Texan Vince Young ever did as a freshman. Griffin can run like a deer, take a hit like George Foreman and throw a football like...well, like Vince Young.
WSU tried to contain Griffin by adding speed to the front seven with four linebackers and three down linemen. That might have worked if it weren't for the fact that the Baylor offensive line rarely missed an assignment. They weren't fooled by stunts, blitzes or shifts.
Game ball should go to the Baylor offensive line. It won't because of the gaudy numbers put up by Griffin, but they know why their quarterback made so many good decisions. They simplified the game by dominating the Washington State front seven and occasional front eight stacked on the line.
Enough about Baylor. More than enough.
As hard as Coach Wulff and his staff work in the coming weeks, there's a glaring deficiency they are not going to change. This WSU team lacks the speed necessary to compete at this level. At least they don't have the horses on defense.
This game wasn't a fresh start for WSU. Instead, it was more of the same. Lessons. The players learned some lessons. The coaches learned some lessons. The team lost.
Washington State will take a late charter back home Friday night. They will beat the weather front coming in off the Gulf out of Waco.
A small victory? You decide.
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