Lackluster offense continues as Cougs lose against No. 12 Utah 21-17

Defense continues to play lights out but offense cannot pull weight



Utah running back Jaylon Glover (1) runs through the WSU defense during an NCAA football match, Oct. 27.

TREVOR JUNT, Evergreen deputy sports editor

WSU football continued the recent theme of ugly offense in its loss to then-No.14 Utah 21-17.

The WSU football team makes their entrance onto the field before an NCAA football match against Utah, Oct. 27.

The offense looks so incredibly sluggish. The 17 points scored this week is the most they have scored in that span.

The offensive line allowed four sacks Thursday and Utah had a total of 10 tackles for a loss.

Cam Ward had his most efficient game of the season, completing 87% of his passes throwing 27/31 for 222 yards and one touchdown.

WSU quarterback Cameron Ward celebrates after scoring a touchdown during an NCAA football match against Utah, Oct. 27.

There is nothing that the Utah defense did differently or so incredibly to stop the Cougar offense, they are just failing to execute their plays and a schematic change may be needed. Although WSU head coach Jake Dickert said they are not going to wholesale everything and start from nothing, they believe they have the offense and need to execute.

“Execution wins games, okay, we know that. So, we got to find a way to execute better at the moment and not get ourselves behind the chains. It’s negative plays that are constantly stopping those because we’re not good enough to overcome that right now,” Dickert said.

The rushing game continued to struggle as well and starting running back Jaylen Jenkins went down in this game, leaving them with only Dylan Paine available. So, Paine played every running back snap during the second half. The WSU offense could only gain 42 rushing yards, but Ward had 28 of those.

Utah was missing their starting quarterback Cameron Rising from the initial snap. It shocked everyone that he was not playing, including Dickert who advocated for a rule amendment post-game that each team should be required to announce their starters 90-minutes before kickoff.

Instead of Rising, Bryson Barnes started for the Utes. Barnes finished his day 17/27 throwing for 175 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 51 yards. He was a fine game manager in this matchup and did what he needed to do to help his team get the win.

WSU linebackers Daiyan Henley (1) and Travion Brown (82) tackle Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid during an NCAA football match, Oct. 27.

Utah was also missing their top two running backs, so third-stringer Jaylon Glover stepped in and rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown, being pretty effective and moving the ball for the Utes.

Star tight end Dalton Kincaid led Utah with 11 targets and seven receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown. Although this is a decent game, the WSU defense did a solid job of muting his performance. Daiyan Henley and Armani Marsh both guarded him often and were successful in doing so. One play that stands out is a shot toward the end zone in which Henley was chasing Kincaid down, got his hand up and broke up the pass to prevent the touchdown.

Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid attempts to catch the ball by jumping over WSU defensive back Jordan Lee during an NCAA football match, Oct. 27.

The WSU defense was disruptive and ferocious the entire game. Henley led the team in tackles with a total of 12, Marsh had a career-high with nine. The team only got one sack on the day but got seven tackles for a loss, they also broke up seven pass breakups and one fumble recovery.

When a team’s defense can keep another team that averages 40 points per game to 21, it would be expected that they win. The struggle by the offense keeps losing games for the Cougs.

WSU linebacker Travion Brown (82) tackles Utah quarterback Bryson Barnes (16) during an NCAA football match, Oct. 27.

Dickert explained that the team should not mope around after losses like this and need to move on quickly to the next game. It starts with the coaching staff and then the players will follow their lead, he said.

“I’m still confident in the men in that locker room. They’re confident in themselves and we gotta bounce back and we have four winnable football games. They’ll remember November, we’ve got an opportunity to be a really good team and put our stamp on the season,” Dickert said.

The 4-4 WSU team will face the 3-4 Stanford football team at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at Stanford Stadium.