Washington State is giving up just 20.2 points and 275.2 yards per game this year on defense.
In a game featuring high-powered offenses, it was the Cougars' defense that was the determining factor.
The Cougars (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) allowed only 277 total yards, all while forcing three turnovers and limiting OR (4-2, 1-2) to 2-for-17 on third down.
Mike Leach has Washington State football riding high.
"I thought we did a good job of changing our looks and keeping them off-balance so that they never really got in a rhythm", Leach said.
Redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk runs the ball down field to give Washington State a first down in the second half against USC at Martin Stadium.
OR took over from their 24 yard line.More news: LPL Financial Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:LPLA) Sees Significantly Lower Trading Volume
A Cougars offense led by Falk, none other than active leader in total offense among all Football Bowl Subdivision players, was 0-for-6 on third downs before halftime, including three consecutive three-and-outs after that opening touchdown.
"I thought our defense played well". "Some of it is we had a lot of guys that started a lot a year ago and I think they've continued to get better".
The first two plays of the fourth quarter were the deciding points. Washington State now hits the road as a favorite today, which I don't like. On the next play, Falk hit Johnson-Mack for a touchdown pass to make it 30-10.
"They had a lot of speed out there and are very explosive and I was proud of our defense", Leach said. The first play for Washington State was a touchdown pass from Luke Falk to Jamal Morrow for 41 yards making it 7-0 Cougars. Four plays later, Falk completed a 10-yard scoring pass to Renard Bell for the 20-10 advantage.
When you start a new Quarterback, there will always be a learning curve.
"Braxton did some good things and did some bad things", Taggart said. "We were more consistent in the second half".
Powell converted from 25 and 52 yards in the second quarter, banged out a 47-yard field goal in the third, and padded WSU's lead with a 29-yard kick late in the fourth quarter.More news: Super Mario Odyssey's amiibo content will be unlockable without the amiibo
OR is off to a decent start to the season, losing only a 37-35 game at Arizona State two weeks ago.
Although Oregon got running back Royce Freeman back this week from injury, he was held to 62 yards on 12 carries. Burmeister, again looking for Johnson throws an interception with the ball going back to Washington State. OR sacked Falk three times in the first half and finished with four on the night. "... I do think Braxton or Taylor or whoever we put in there can go in there and run our offense". "We were just more physical". "He got dinged up a little bit and couldn't go back in the game".
Braxton Burmeister started has career with back to back penalties on the Offensive Line, but he managed to get the Ducks to the 41 yard line.
Taggart said the Ducks also lost linebacker Kaulana Apelu for the season with an ankle injury.
Still, there are reasons to be skeptical about Washington State. He finished 24 of 42 for 282 yards, for a 57.1 completion percentage - way under his season average of 74.5 percent. But Oregon co-offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo said, "there's a chance" that the team might use both quarterbacks against the Cougars.
So on WSU's opening drive of the third quarter, when Jordon Scott's nine-yard sack forced Washington State into third-and-19, 56,653 in Autzen raised their voices and prepared for a punt.
WSU redshirt junior defensive lineman Hercules Mata'afa said the defense isn't anxious about who will be behind center for the Ducks come game day.More news: Major League Baseball 2017 playoff preview and predictions
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