WSU defense dominate in 38-7 win over Colorado State

Seven total sacks, three forced fumbles from WSU



WSU football players prepare to enter the field before the second half of an NCAA football game against Colorado State, Sep. 17.

TREVOR JUNT, Evergreen deputy sports editor

Dominant is the best way to describe this Cougar defense.

Against Colorado State, WSU was able to get their offense rolling, while turning in another incredible defensive performance to the tune of a 38-7 beatdown of the visiting Rams.

The defense ended with seven total sacks, 12 tackles for loss, one interception, a total of 12 quarterback hits and three forced fumbles.

It’s pounded on every week, but the defense absolutely suffocates the opposing team’s offense. Truly, the credit is worked out equally between head coach Jake Dickert, defensive coordinator Brian Ward, the front seven and the defensive backs.

Daiyan Henley has quickly advanced from a transfer from Nevada to a leader on this Cougar defense. In this game against Colorado State, he ended with 13 total tackles, two forced fumbles and three sacks for a loss of 14 yards. He was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week.

Henley went nuclear in this game.

“Well, nuclear, boom. My team and how we are communicating on the field, it makes it so much easier to play free. Like, there is so much communication out there,” Henley said. “When it is coming through clear, the message is perfect. It just lets you know; this is where you need to be. This is how you should attack this play. This is how to get the job done. With all that communication, which we preach a lot. It’s just so much easier to play free and be the best I can.”

WSU linebacker Daiyan Henley celebrates after making a play during an NCAA football game against Colorado State, Sep. 17.

The offense had success early on in the game. They scored on their first four possessions. All of which were quarterback Cam Ward’s touchdown passes. Two to De’Zhaun Stribling and two to Donovan Ollie. The Cougs had a 28-0 lead with over six minutes left in the second quarter.

Ward finished his day 25/35 with 292 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He was very efficient and came off to a strong start. Donovan Ollie had seven receptions for 82 yards and two touchdowns. De’Zhaun Stribling caught four balls for 69 yards and two touchdowns. The leading rusher was Nakia Watson who had 74 rushing yards on eight carries along with a 25-yard reception.

WSU wide receivers Lincoln Victor (5), Renard Bell (9), and De’Zhaun Stribling (88) after a touchdown during an NCAA football game against Colorado State, Sep. 17.

The offense looked like what we have not seen throughout the season. Instead of just a few explosive plays that turned into touchdowns, they had lengthy methodical drives in a no huddle offense that turned into yards and points.

The offense did not look good during the second half,  however they may have stepped off the gas because Dickert is an inexperienced head coach, and they were just trying to waste time to get out of the game quicker. But the struggles of the offense seemed to be caused by more than these.

The first 15-25 plays of a game are usually scripted. After the 27th play, the Cougar offense began to struggle. One fumble, two punts, one turnover on downs, one interception and then a touchdown drive to end the game.

Since it was a bad team in Colorado State, this struggle didn’t matter to a large extent. But a struggle like this against a good opponent could cause some issues for the Cougs.

The defense looks like the absolute real deal and the best in the Pac-12.

Dickert spoke about his ferocious defensive line.

“It isn’t just one guy, it isn’t just RJ, it isn’t just Brennan. It’s been some interior guys, it’s been Quinn Roff and it’s been a collective of guys,” Dickert said. “It’s been mixing and matching some pressure packages that have been really effective. That is the number one thing you know, I said to coach Ward is we got to be better at getting to the passer and through the first three games, you know we’ve really checked that box.”

WSU is coming up on perhaps their biggest challenge in Oregon on Saturday. A team that is ranked No.15 in the nation by the AP.

The WSU offense and the Colorado State defense line up during an NCAA college football game, Sep. 17.

WSU will play No. 15 Oregon in front of a national television audience on Fox. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Gesa Field at Martin Stadium.