Northwest College Football Review: Washington State Cougars Stun USC Trojans

After a rough first season in Pullman, expectations of the Washington State Cougars were only marginally higher for head coach Mike Leach.  Travelling into the coliseum in Los Angeles was supposed to be a blowout for the USC Trojans.  Instead, Leach gave Washington State their first win at the Trojans in 13 years.

Washington State 10, #25 USC 7

Analysis: The Cougars, and Damante Horton in particular, made life miserable for both of the Trojans quarterbacks, forcing two interceptions and only 54 yards passing between Cody Kessler and Max Wittek.  Horton returned one of them 70 yards for the Cougars lone touchdown, tying the game near the end of the second quarter.

Connor Halliday: C-
Halliday struggled most of the day, averaging just 5.7 yards per pass and throwing two interceptions.  He found himself running for his life from an aggressive USC pass rush.

Dom Williams: B-
Only had two receptions on the day, but the second one was a 49-yard catch and run on third down late in the fourth quarter, setting up Andrew Furney for the game winning 41-yard field goal.

#2 Oregon 59, Virginia 10

Analysis:  The Ducks carved up an overmatched Cavalier defense from the get-go, with Marcus Mariota slicing up the center of the field on a quarterback draw on the Ducks opening drive for a 71-yard touchdown run.  Oregon would open a 21-7 lead by the end of the first quarter, and it only got worse for Virginia from there.

Marcus Mariota: B
Mariota did severe damage to the Virginia defense with his legs, running for 122 yards on just four carries.  That said, he only completed half his passes, and struggled with decision making at points.  Oregon will need him to be more accurate and decisive if they want to win in Pac-12 play.

De'Anthony Thomas: A-
Thomas ran wild on Saturday, with 124 yards on 11 carries and three scores, two in the first quarter including a 40-yard run down the right sideline in which he simply outran every Cavalier defender. 

Josh Huff: B
Huff had a solid all-around day for Oregon, leading the team with 55 receiving yards and even blocking a punt in the first quarter, setting up a 1-yard score by Thomas. 

Oregon State 33, Hawaii 14

Analysis: Sean Mannion led a powerful aerial attack by the Beavers, and they rebounded after a shocking defeat to Eastern Washington in Corvallis the previous Saturday.  The teams were tied at halftime, but back-to-back eight-yard touchdown passes from Mannion to Brandin Cooks in the third quarter gave the Beavers a lead they would not relinquish.

Sean Mannion: B+
Mannion had a strong night passing, throwing for 372 yards and four touchdowns, though he did throw an early interception that Julian Gener returned for a Hawaii touchdown.  Mannion now has 794 yards through two games, putting him on pace for over 4,000 yards passing this season.  The Oregon State passing record is held by Derek Anderson, with 4,058 in 2003.

Storm Woods: B-
Woods struggled on the ground, with only 50 yards on 17 carries.  However, he was also Mannion's favorite target through the air, finishing with seven catches for 95 yards.  Woods has had trouble on the ground early this season, and the Beavers will need him to find his stride.

About Arran Gimba