The WSU Cougars played a conference game against a Pac-12 opponent for the first time in the annual Seattle game.
The Cougs 3-4 (1-3) were defeated by the Oregon State Beavers 2-5 (2-2) 44-21 Saturday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
For the second straight week, the opposing offense controlled the WSU defense. This week it was throughout the entire game and not just a half, where the Beavers had 551 total yards of offense and converted on third down eight of 12 times.
“We didn’t play very well, there’s no excuses, we didn’t show up, and that’s my responsibility,” said WSU assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Chris Ball. “We had some guys out of practice early this week and I think that hurt us a bit in our preparation, but they made plays and we didn’t and we had opportunities to get the field and we didn’t.”
Oregon State's quarterback, redshirt freshman Sean Mannion, threw for a career high 376 yards for four touchdowns. The Beavers entered the game as the 107th ranked rushing team in the nation, averaging a 101 yards a game.
Against the Cougars, the Beavers ran for 175 yards. Freshman Malcolm Agnew averaged 4.5 yards a carry and finished the day with 103 yards, his second 100 yard rushing game of the season.
WSU head coach Paul Wulff was impressed by how well the Oregon State team played.
“I thought our players played really hard, and I think we got outplayed,” Wulff said. “I give Oregon State a lot of credit, they played the best football game I’ve ever seen them play. They made every play possible out there.”
The WSU offensive numbers weren’t as impressive, despite the Cougs finishing with 315 total yards. Tuel threw for 127 yards with a pair of touchdowns, one rushing and one throwing. Marshall Lobbestael threw for 105 yards with an interception.
Lobbestael played the entire second half after Tuel took a big a hit from an Oregon State defender as he threw the ball near the end of the first half. After the hit, the Cougs decided to kneel on the next play due to Tuel's apparent injury.
The extent of the injury was not known until after the game when Wulff addressed the Tuel injury.
Wulff said it was his left clavicle again, and that he reinjured it upon being hit by the Oregon State defender.
“We don’t envision it to be serious but he’s definitely still sore,” Wulff said.
Tuel will undergo tests on his shoulder to see the extent of the injury early this week.
Oregon State was highly effective on offense due in large part to their third down efficiency, but they also picked up key first downs from a couple controversial personal foul penalties by the Cougars.
On two separate occasions, Cougar defenders tackled Oregon State receivers short of the first down to end the play, but since they lead with their helmets on the tackle, they were called for unnecessary roughness which resulted in an automatic first down.
On both drives, the Oregon State offense ended up scoring a touchdown.
“I thought I clearly lead with my shoulder, and things like that happen all the time and you really can’t do anything about that,” redshirt sophomore linebacker Sekope Kaufusi, said.
Paul Wulff agreed with Kaufusi on the hit, but said he didn’t have the views the referees had.
“They’re erring on the cautious side, and that’s all I can say,” Wulff said. “My personal opinion is I felt a lot of those are clean hits, but again I’m not out there, I don’t have the view they have, but boy we had some big big penalties against us tonight, a lot of them at the wrong time.”
After the game, Kaufusi acknowledged the amount of support by the Cougar nation in Seattle and said what needs to be done in the future for the Cougars to be successful.
“It really hits home to us, and really opens our eyes to we really got to step it up,” Kaufusi said. “It starts at practice, we just didn’t get it going early in the week and towards the end we picked it up. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, you have to come prepared.
Junior running back Carl Winston, who finished with 40 yards and a rushing touchdown, said the team will learn from this game and move on to Oregon.
“We’ll use it as motivation. We got 5 games left and our coaches are going to work hard and gameplan for us, and it’s up to us to execute that gameplan,” Winston said. “We just have to flush this game, get to next week and try to go down to Eugene and get a win.”