Pac-10 Week 9 Notes and Observations: Washington State Cougars

By Sam Saig, November 4, 2009 3:11 pm

Washington State Cougars 1-7 Overall (0-6 Conference)

This Week’s Score: Notre Dame 40 – Washington State 14

Next Week’s Opponent: @Arizona

Well, that went about the way most of us expected it to. The Cougars were physically beat down by Notre Dame’s overpowering line play, and while the laundry list of WSU injuries played a role, it is pretty clear that these two teams are not in the same stratosphere talent-wise. On numerous occasions, I saw the Irish o-line blow the WSU front seven right off the ball. The same could not be said for the Cougars o-line, as it looked helpless against the ND rush.

The game was essentially over by halftime, especially after Golden Tate’s incredible Hail Mary grab with no time left in the first half (TD put the Irish up 30-7). For the game, Notre Dame out gained Wazzu 592 to 206 in total offense, and ND QB Jimmy Clausen completed 81% of his passes (22-27 passes for 268 yards and two TDs).

It’s very hard to find positives in games like these, but I did like what I saw from RB Dwight Tardy and WR Jared Karstetter. Tardy managed to run for 72 yards on only eight carries (9.0 YPC) and I thought he hit the hole very quickly. While Karstetter only made two catches on the day, both were for TDs. I understand that Paul Wulff likes to use Karstetter primarily in the red zone, because of his frame and leaping ability, but I would like to see the sophomore more involved in the offense this season and in the future.

It is easy to see why the WSU coaches are so excited about QB Jeff Tuel, even on a day where he struggled a little bit statistically (12-23 104 yards 2 TDs, 2 INTs). I have no doubt that the freshman is going to be a great player in the coming years, but he must keep his head up during these difficult times.

Next, Washington State travels to the Old Pueblo to take on a nationally ranked Arizona team that is on a roll right now. Paul Wulff’s squad will not pull the upset, but this game provides young Cougars like Tuel with another excellent opportunity to gain invaluable experience.

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