(AP Photo/Don Ryan)
The Oregon State Beavers dominated and outclassed the WSU Cougars at Reser Stadium Saturday, 66-13.
A long first season for Coach Paul Wulff just got a little longer. It's a cinch that it isn't going to get any easier the rest of the way, either.
Coach Wulff and the Cougs saw firsthand just how good true freshman Jacquizz Rodgers is.
At the risk of inserting hyperbole into this recap, Rodgers (or Quizz, as he's known around Corvallis) is truly all that and then some. He's an exciting player who appears humble enough until the football is handed off to him. Once Quizz has the rock, he's gone.
Against the Cougar defense, Quizz broke a sweat rushing for 168 yards on 23 carries, but that's about it. Most running backs would be a little stiff Sunday morning after carrying that much of the load for their football team.
It's doubtful that Quizz is feeling anything other than satisfied: no bumps, lumps, or bruises from being banged around. Rarely did the WSU defense even touch the Beaver back with lightning speed until he was at least five yards past the line of scrimmage.
If you take a look at the measure of success the 2008 edition of the Washington State Cougars has compiled thus far, one thing is pretty clear. This team will go down as the worst in WSU history.
Having said that, the question must be asked: "Why watch this free fall any more?"
For one thing, despite the inability to perform football basics, this team plays with competitive spirit. Sure, they can't move the football on offense, and yes, the defense spends way too much time on the field trying to stop their opponent and give the offense another go. But this team doesn't seem to be giving up.
Give up? Well, there's enough reason for many to do just that.
Let's review the quarterback situation for the Cougs.
- First-string quarterback, senior Gary Rogers: lost for the season
- Second-string quarterback, junior Kevin Lopina: out three weeks or longer
- Third-string quarterback, redshirt freshman Marshall Lobbestael: out four weeks
- Fourth-string quarterback, walk-on freshman Daniel Wagner
- Fifth-string quarterback, freshman J.T. Levenseller
- Sixth-string quarterback, freshman Peter Roberts
Since Rogers, Lopina, and Lobbestael are all out with injuries, Wagner is now first string. Wagner played most of the fourth quarter after Lobbestael went down with a knee injury. He handed the ball off 14 times and never threatened to pass the ball. All 14 plays were designed running plays. Oh boy!
Levenseller was itching to get into the game when Lobbestael went down, but Coach Wulff saw no reason to make a knee-jerk decision and burn his redshirt when the game was already over because of the one-sided score. The coaching staff will have to continue mulling over whether or not to keep the promising freshman on the sidelines.
Roberts, there's a great story. Peter is the kid who won a spot on the team last Monday when open tryouts were held to find someone to run the scout team as quarterback. Now Roberts finds himself third on the depth chart, but probably more likely to get into a game than Levenseller because of Coach Wulff's desire to make J.T. part of the teams future.
Putting J.T. in now is like asking him to captain the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. Good luck!
Going back to the question, "Why watch this free fall any more?"—here's reason to hang in there with this bunch: competitive pride and spirit.
This 2008 edition of Cougar football is stacked with kids who chose Washington State because it's a great school and they wanted their opportunity to play Pac-10 football. After seven games, things haven't worked out the way they might have dreamed, but that's just life.
Regardless of the outcome of the remaining games, rest assured that Coach Wulff will have the Cougs playing the best they can.
Never would have thought I'd long for the days of Bernard Jackson blasting past the line of scrimmage, then fumbling at the end of a 20-yard run. Or wishing we could see Ty Paine throw one more interception because it seemed he was color blind. As any lifelong Coug might ponder, "thought those days were behind us."
Oh, one last thought. Next week Washington State will host the best team in the Pac-10, as well as the rest of the NCAA. The USC Trojans visit Martin Stadium in Pullman.
Seriously, can things get any worse for Coach Wulff and the Cougs?
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