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WSU’s Collapse against CU

26 Sep 2012

written by admin

WSU’s Collapse

With a little over eight minutes left in the 4th quarter of Saturday’s game against Colorado, Mike Leach turned down a 36-yard field goal attempt and went for it on 4th and 3. Sophomore quarterback, Connor Halliday, threw an interception to CU linebacker, Jon Major, and WSU’s demise began. With 8:07 left in the game CU was down 31-14. WSU had enjoyed a comfortable lead the entire game. There was little chance CU’s inept offense and “Dead Coach Walking” Jon Embree could overcome a 17-point deficit, but they did, with a lot of help from WSU’s defense.

The first step in the comeback was a 70 yd strike from CU’s Jordan Webb to tight end, Nick Kasa. CU came out with 10 personnel (1 TE, 0 RB’s) in an empty trey right set and WSU was in a Cover-2 shell with 6 men underneath in zone coverage. This was a nice play design by OC Eric Bienemy. The outside WR’s both run hitches and the inside slot WR’s ran outside seam routes to widen the safeties and draw their eyes away from the middle of the field. The problem was the Mike LB didn’t get a re-route on Kasa who released freely into the middle deep zone splitting the widened safeties, both whom got off their landmarks and turned their back to the QB.

CU then stopped WSU’s offense and got the ball back down 31-21 at their 10 yd line. Webb threw a short crossing route to a slot WR and got jacked by a WSU Defensive Tackle. He had to leave the game for the next play. So with the backup QB in, CU has 11 personnel (1 TE, 1 RB) in the game, in a 2×2 doubles set with the TE on the right, and runs an outside zone running play to the TE. Again, the Cougs are in the exact same Cover-2 look with six men underneath playing man coverage, rushing three. Kasa sets a great block on the edge, CU’s #53 gets just enough of the Mike LB, #22 blocks his manned up CB, WSU’s safety #20 takes a terrible angle, and Tony Jones #26 turns it into a track meet…

WSU had a nice kick return and ended up settling for a 42 yd field goal. CU, now down 34-28, got the ball back on their 30-yard line with 3:11 to go… Bubble screen for 6, zone-read for 4 with a 15-yd facemask for a 1st down, caught WSU substituting late and hit a cheap hitch route for another first down to WSU’s 20, blah, blah, blah, CU has it on WSU’s 4 yd. line, 4th down with 11 seconds to go. CU comes out in 10 personnel again, with trey to the left. WSU answers with a 40 front playing man coverage on all WR’s and bracketing the middle slot WR #22 on the left. It appears the LB #37 is spying the QB. Bienemy, knowing WSU’s DC Mike Breske has been playing man and not bringing any pressure, rolls the dice with a QB draw. They had a pass play called, but I’m positive Bienemy told Webb if he read man-coverage, go ahead and run it. Focus on the LB #37… the center #52 makes a great chip on #37—who got caught on his heels—and BOOM, Webb makes the correct read a shifty side step and it’s touchdown CU…

CU won (box) because of some great calls by OC Eric Bienemy and execution from the players. WSU’s defense helped them out a bit. Looking back on it, I’m sure Leach wants that FG when it was 31-14. Three TD’s in 8:07 is quite a feat and got CU out of the Pac-12 cellar. Jon Embree’s seat cooled, as did the Coug Nation’s hopes of a bowl game. This defensive collapse could’ve changed the trajectory of WSU’s season.


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