The Daily Evergreen

Eight victory spoiled, Wildcats upset Cougar football

600 yards on offense not enough to stop Arizona’s winning streak

Redshirt+senior+running+back+Gerard+Wicks+runs+the+ball+through+Colorado%27s+defense+for+a+gain+of+yards+in+an+Oct.+21+game+at+Martin+Stadium.
Redshirt senior running back Gerard Wicks runs the ball through Colorado's defense for a gain of yards in an Oct. 21 game at Martin Stadium.

Redshirt senior running back Gerard Wicks runs the ball through Colorado's defense for a gain of yards in an Oct. 21 game at Martin Stadium.

RYAN PUGH | Daily Evergreen file

RYAN PUGH | Daily Evergreen file

Redshirt senior running back Gerard Wicks runs the ball through Colorado's defense for a gain of yards in an Oct. 21 game at Martin Stadium.

DYLAN GREENE, Evergreen asst. sports editor

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WSU football (7-2, 4-2) lost 58-37 to University of Arizona (6-2, 4-1) on Saturday. The Cougars had 646 yards of total offense and 32 first downs, but the team lost its second game in three weeks after starting the season 6-0.

Redshirt senior running back Jamal Morrow said the team didn’t execute like it did in the first six games of the season.

“When we play like we did the first six games, I feel like nobody can beat us,” Morrow said, “but we play like we did the last two out of three, we’re beatable.”

The Cougar defense was unable to slow down Arizona sophomore quarterback Khalil Tate. He posted 275 passing yards, 146 rushing yards and three total touchdowns.

That was the first time WSU gave up more than 50 points under the control of Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch. Senior defensive back Robert Taylor said he and the rest of the defense didn’t do their jobs.

“Everything they did, we saw,” Taylor said. “We just didn’t execute.”

Head Coach Mike Leach said the team made mistakes throughout the game and could have played more consistent on all three sides of the ball.

“I thought we played really hard, and I thought we played really dumb,” Leach said. “We played dumb against a really good team.”

Redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk threw one touchdown pass and had 93 passing yards on the night before being pulled late in the second quarter and replaced with redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyler Hilinski.

Leach said he stuck with Hilinski and kept Falk out to give the senior a distinct perspective of the game.

“I wanted Falk to see the field because we weren’t pushing the ball down the field,” Leach said, “and Hilinski was hot, so we stayed with Hilinski.”

On his opening drive, Hilinski completed seven of his eight passes for 69 yards and rushed the ball into the end zone from six yards out. He went back out for the Cougars to start the second half and threw an interception.

Two plays after the turnover, Arizona fumbled the ball and WSU recovered. The Cougars capitalized on the turnover and scored a touchdown. WSU redshirt senior kicker Erik Powell missed the succeeding extra point.

On the ensuing possession, Tate threw a pass that was deflected and intercepted by WSU redshirt freshman linebacker Jahad Woods, who finished the night with one interception, five total tackles and three tackles for a loss.

Six plays later, Hilinski ran the ball into the end zone for the second time on the night. The touchdown gave WSU its first lead of the game and made Hilinski the first Cougar quarterback since 2008 to rush for two touchdowns in a game.

The Wildcats responded, scoring five touchdowns in the second half to secure an upset victory over No. 15 WSU.

Hilinski finished the game with four total touchdowns, four interceptions and 509 passing yards. He said he forced the ball into tight windows several times when he shouldn’t have.

“I think I was trying to do too much, trying to make it all happen in one play,” Hilinski said. “It just comes with some experience, I’m just going to learn from this experience and become a better player from it.”

Leach said both quarterbacks were inconsistent and didn’t perform well enough for WSU to pull out a win.

“I think Hilinski does a good job of bouncing around and pushing the ball downfield, but he gets reckless, and Falk tries to way over-analyze everything,” Leach said. “If I could slice the two of them in half and mold them into one guy, we would have probably been in a pretty good situation.”

Junior wide receiver Tavares Martin Jr. had 11 receptions and 136 receiving in his first game back from serving a one-game suspension for violating team rules. He’s had three games this season with 100 receiving yards or more.

Hilinski said the team will be able to shake off this loss and keep its focus on winning the Pac-12 title.

“I know we didn’t come away with a win, but we played our butts off and we didn’t give up,” he said. “Sometimes the ball doesn’t fall your way, but we’re going to bounce back, I can promise you that.”

WSU’s next game is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Saturday as Stanford comes to Pullman for Dad’s Weekend.

About the Writer
DYLAN GREENE, Evergreen Editor-in-Chief

Dylan Greene is a journalism and media production major from Stanwood. He started as the football beat reporter in the fall of 2017 and midway through that semester he was promoted to Assistant Sports Editor. He served as the Sports Editor for the 2018 spring semester and became Editor-in-Chief in May of this year.

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Eight victory spoiled, Wildcats upset Cougar football