The Washington State Cougars were unanimous in acknowledging they played horribly in Saturday’s Apple Cup. However, the Cougars almost matched their sky-high turnovers total when offering varied theories behind their wretched performance.
Following are five explanations – one per lost fumble – the 20th-ranked Cougars came up with following the unranked Huskies’ 45-10 romp at Husky Stadium.
LB Jeremiah Allison: “They wanted it more than we did.”
QB Peyton Bender: “We just didn’t come out ready to play.”
RB Jamal Morrow: “We just didn’t finish the game.”
OT Cole Madison: “We waited for it (control of the game) to come to us. It never did.”
Coach Mike Leach: “We played wide-eyed.”
Let’s toss in two bonus explanations for a total of seven, which matched WSU’s turnovers.
Leach: “We need to find a way to coach these guys better, because we didn’t have them ready to play.”
Madison, asked if he agreed with Leach that coaches didn’t do a good job of preparing the Cougars for the game: “I guess not. It showed on the scoreboard.”
Leach and Madison deserve points for honesty. However, Madison lost points for overlooking the obvious – no coach in history has ever made a turnover – and Leach lost points when he watched his team get thrashed every which way for 3½ hours, then declared, “We’ve certainly beaten teams that are considerably better than Washington this year.”
So much for losing with class. Leach also showed questionable judgment in explaining – sort of – the absence of QB Luke Falk.
“Luke chose not to play,” Leach said, “and we chose for that to be the case.”
Thus, Leach made it sound as if Falk had a choice in the matter. Multiple sources connected with the Cougars say Falk suffered a concussion – his second head injury in as many games – the previous Saturday against Colorado.
Leach, of course, almost never says a word about player injuries. Nothing changed Saturday in that regard, and Leach wouldn’t even say when he decided to give Bender his first college start.
“That’s definitely none of anybody’s business in here,” he told a roomful of media.
Bender, a redshirt freshman, said Leach told him Sunday he would start against the Huskies. So much for Leach’s latest game of secrets with the media and, therefore, with the fans who make his $2.75 million annual salary possible.
Leach always says he does not want to use injuries as an excuse, but he did say the Cougars “had some understandable distractions” this week. Presumably, he was referring to considerable public and media focus on the playing status of Falk, all of which Leach could have prevented by going public with the news he gave Bender Sunday.
Oh well. As superbly as Falk has played this season, it’s doubtful he could have made a 35-point difference, though Bender did throw a pair of second-half interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. The Huskies’ impressive young defense also returned a fumble for an interception in the final half.
“Late in the game,” Leach admitted, “we gave in.”
And Bender’s performance?
“He started off pretty good, but as we collapsed as a team, he collapsed.”
And the offense as a whole?
“A dropped ball here, a fumble here, a missed pass there, a missed block there.”
And the defense?
“I don’t know how many times we had ’em third-and-long. The whole day, third-and-long, third-and-long. We’d let ’em off the hook.”
And the special teams?
“I don’t really know if we blocked anybody on special teams today or not. I know we didn’t on kickoff returns. We’ve got to be tougher as a team.”
One of WSU’s toughest players, star WR Gabe Marks, left the game in the final minutes with an apparent leg injury after being tackled and landing awkwardly. Marks’ status for Washington State’s bowl game is uncertain. Ditto for the three other offensive starters who sat out, presumably with injuries: Falk, OT Joe Dahl and slot WR River Cracraft.
WSU’s depth has improved substantially during Leach’s four years, but no team can lose four players of that caliber without a negative impact. The worst of teams can continue to fight, however, and the Cougars went down meekly against their arch-rivals. The seven turnovers were a season high; the 10 points, 288 passing yards and 319 total yards were season lows; the five lost fumbles were one short of the school record.
The Huskies, meanwhile, tied school records by recovering five fumbles and returning two interceptions for touchdowns. Washington also recorded a third consecutive win over WSU. The Cougars have never – not once – won more than two in a row against the Huskies. That’s not easily done when you’ve played an opponent 108 times since 1900.
Allison and Bender both referred to the Huskies as “a great team.” That seems a bit overboard for a 6-6 squad that finished 4-5 in the Pac-12 Conference. Washington looked great on Saturday, but as Bender noted, “When you turn the ball over seven times, it’s hard to win.”
Yo, Leach, what’cha mean that Luke Falk “chose not to play”? The young man is still recovering from a serious concussion, dude. You are a real piece of work as a human being. Maybe your mama dropped you on your head, louse?
Some news reports are saying Falk was never officially diagnosed with a concussion. I don’t think Leach would say what he didn’t if that wasn’t true.
If he wasn’t described that way, it’s only because Leach wouldn’t allow it. Doesn’t change the diagnosis.
Not to mention that it was two weeks in a row that he’d been knocked out of a game, even if he cleared the protocol the week before there is a cummulative affect
Yes..it would be more of question if he did play. Why Coach Leach did you allow Falk to play. After he was knocked out twice in two weeks….Well he wanted too. Then I would tell WSU to remove the coach …for being an idiot. Not because he was playing with the press in his answers.
Putting in on the player. Impressive.
It was comical..it is kind of like saying “What do you expect …Falk playing after two concussions in two games!” ..Get real.
The Peterson/Leach era is starting to remind me a bit of the James/Walden era. Hoping for a long, competitive rivalry between these two.
There is little bit of the stoic vs. the bombastic.
Walden was mouthy but he wasn’t an arrogant ass and he also wasn’t 1 dimentional
No but he did tend to blame the refs a lot, he’d lose a game 45-10 and complain about 1 call in the 1st quarter making all the difference
Compared to now Walden is almost humorous but at the time he wasn’t seen that way. Things are different now compared to then.
I’ll repeat my comment from the other thread:
Leach as classy as always.
Mike, if the Huskies had played Rutgers and Colorado instead of Boise State and Utah and got Oregon without Adams they’d be 9-3 right now.
The cougars are the product of their schedule and some lucky timing. ESPN’s power rating had the Huskies 33rd and the Cougars 45th. I’d say now the Huskies rise and the Cougars drop.
Falk makes it a little closer, but he doesn’t play defense
If you work it hard, he if/then game might get the Huskies to 12-0.
Swapping Boise State for Rutgers, Colorado for Utah and noting how weak Oregon without Adams was isn’t just but for a few breaks we’d have won stuff, it is simply noting the very different schedule the Cougs had that accounts for their 8 wins
LOL!! Art, you certainly have a way to keep it in perspective!
Falk didn’t make it closer last year
He has more experience now so maybe with him 45-17:-)
LoL, you’re playing the “what if” game after your team lucked out by not having to face one of the best QB’s in the country? You’re pathetic
Doubt it. Do you think you can trade your other cupcakes to the Cougs too. Playing Oregon in Oregon go for it. Browning was playing poorly at that point. Remember you can’t play Rutgers at home ..but on the East coast. Also we will play USC and you can have UCLA. If Falk doesn’t turn it over 7 times leading to 35 pts. That would help the defense greatly. He has a 72 percent completion rate keeping the defense on the field longer and it is not his first start ever in a playoff atmosphere like it was Bender. This is not UWs fault. They played the game given to them. Yet if you use hypotheticals …you can be shut down just as quick ..you lost to teams we beat. Face it ..Cougs were picked to be in the bottom three in the Pac12 lucky to win maybe 2 games. Yet they won six. UW won 4. Every game the Cougs lost with Falk from better teams came down to the final plays.
tour giving Oregon way too much credit. Without Adams they probably lose every game they played the rest of the year, he is that good and singlehandedly won every game for them, their offense against any legit D is basically him scramble around and make a miracle play
Adams had an injury and was limping around UW. Falk is a better QB then Adams…so thank you for making the point of why Falk would change the outcome by a lot of the UW game.
I think you and Falk’s immediate family are the only ones who think Falk is better than Adams:-)
Ask College football national experts…as a sophomore w only 11 starts with out as many stars and high recruits that Oregon or even UW has. He is.
sure Falk as a 5th year senior (if Leach doesn’t get him killed before then) might be better than Adams, but right now Adams is the better player
Exactly!! One of the more realistic and intelligent posts to this blog that I have seen! Great post!
Pac12 UW was 4 -5…that is the facts…WSU was 6-3. Last year WSU beat Utah at Utah by 10 I think…did that make WSU at 3-6 n the PAC 12. better then Utah. With a 6-3 record.From your poodle reasoning you would say yes. You can try has hard as you can…to find ways to belittle WSU…If you know your poodle reasoning we can rewrite everything. Just like as much as Coug fans wanted Falk to be healthy…he wasn’t and a first time starting fresh man got a beat down. That is that. Huskies played like under achievers looking like world champs…in a game against quick undermanned AS I. Nothing is going to change that.
the only class that Leach has is low class. the Huskies started out the season with many young players and improved greatly during the season. Sure, WSU has beaten better teams than the early season Huskies, but perhaps not better than this team at this point in the season. I don’t know about the defense for next year, since they graduate a bunch of upper class men, but the offense is loaded with freshmen and sophomores. Perjap Moos needs to gag his coach.
Only 4 starters on D are seniors, Fenney is the biggest loss, but they do have a bunch of young LBers
Gagging Leach? I will pay large coin to sit ringside.
UW are not playing the Cougs at their best. Their freshman QB had his first start today. Stared down his receivers did not do any progressions.Falk had some of the best stats in college football. WSU are also very young team.They started off the season even worse. Yet when they reached the PAC 12 ..They were 6-3 in the pac. Leach has a very dry humor. Their turnovers led to 35pts.21 pts were scored directly by the defense. So yes a healthy Falk would of made a huge difference. A win maybe not ..the game would of gone down to the final minutes. Huskies do have a great defenses. Yet the Cougs w Falk made other good defenses give up a lot points. Gag Leach …he is a great interview. Are you joking.
Leach is amusing when talking non-team, non-game subjects. When it’s about team/game, he is a bully when it serves no good purpose.
Yes..he will not answer the questions the way the press wants him too. He acts like a staunch defense lawyer. Trying to push his narrative. I am not saying that about you Art. Yet some of the press can act that way also…especially when they are hunting for certain morsels they are not getting . PC does it with humor and personality…fast talking to skip subjects. While hiding things behind doors. We find out the true stories 6 weeks after. I am used to dealing with Jerk Lawyer side of people.
Leach genuinely does not care about what people outside the program think, and that includes everyone aside from media such as school admins, faculty, boosters and other coaches who may admire him.
I don’t admire Leach …I think he is an eccentric. Yet his personality is great for the media for acting aloof and dismissive. I prefer a Pete Carroll coaching style personally. Yet both have close door policies and demand the players to buy in. One loves the admiration of the media. The other one likes to have control of it and opening up to just a few.
Bender doesn’t play defense though.
woulda, shoulda, might have. Everyone has to deal with injuries, etc. If your freshman QB isn’t seasoned enough you run the damn ball vs putting it in his hands to win the game.
Deal with it Ricky…Cougs were starting a freshman first time ever QB. Not Falk one of the best QBs in the nation with over a 70 percent completion rate for a season. The Cougs got a beat down because of it. It is ok we young team too. No woulda shoulda a bout it…ok you petulant whiney child.
I’m dealing with it fine. My team won. Bender? Doesn’t play D. Losers make excuses… which is why you’re doing that instead of me.
I have heard plenty excuses for a 6-6 record. Under achievement maybe
Couldn’t agree with you more! What a chump of a coach! Absolutely, “No Class”
…..way too many excuses for a head coach at a major university!
He did take the blame for not having his team ready.
Hey Coach Leach…..maybe you just got beat. Maybe that’s all there is to it. No theories, no explanations, no excuses. You just got beat.
At least he took the blame.
no he really didn’t and he gave no credit to the huskies at all. He’s incredibly arrogant and pompass no wonder texas tech sent him packing. His offence is one dimensional and just like chip kelly’s can’t stand up to a real D.
A QB who’s never started a single college game before can’t stand up to a real D?
If you mean pompous, no one is better at that than Nick Saban. Hasn’t hurt him. Arrogant too. You get away with that when you win.
I actually prefer the spelling ‘pompass.’ It describes Leach better.
Same here. It’s simply the English language continuing to evolve. I don’t see why “pompass” can’t join the ranks of these recent ads.
When Leach gets to be within a hundred miles of Saban as a coach, then that comparison will have merit. Not before.
Dawgs need to save Leach’s press conference and play it again before next apple cup and Hugh Millens reaction to it as well smile emoticon
so who exactly did the cougs beat that was better than this washington team?
I would love to hear a coug fan say the ducks who didn’t have their starting qb
Please see “blind squirrel/chestnut.”
Please see UW lost to one of these teams..at full strength.. get over it. Look at Pac 12 and answering question. Who did WSU beat that was better then UW other then Oregon
Transitive gets you nowhere, UW blew out Arizona, Arizona beat Utah who barely beat UW who beat USC who is beating UCLA…and on and on, see how circular it all gets?
Bottom line is 3 in a row, 6 out of 7 and 70 out of 108, Huskies continue to own the Cougs no matter how you want to spin it. And with Petersen and the team he is building vs Leach I take the Huskies next few years vs the Cougs too.
You are also very circular. It is about wins and losses in the PAC 12. Any team can beat any other…depends on the day. So you look at the records 6-3 and 4-5. That is the facts the rest is poodle reasoning..Any given week w the same team it can be a blow out or a close game.
I’m just saying that W-L records in college don’t mean that much when the schedules are that different.
And my reasoning is simple, 3 in a row, 6 out of 7 and a better coach with a better team going forward:-)
This was the Cougars best team in a decade and the weakest UW team they will face in the next several years and once again the Huskies ruled.
You are crazy win loss means nothing. Having more home games mean nothing losing to teams WSU beat means nothing. It really shows how objective you are. I am dealing with a teenager aren’t I? You can cherry pick …what you want right? Enjoy
I’m not cherry picking of rationalizing anything, it is the team that lost 45-10 trying to argue away the results and say the Cougars are the better team.
All my posts are attempting to explain why 45-10 is not a surprise, the Huskues are a more talented team. You are simply a biased Cougar fan who is looking through Crimson colored glasses. The Huskies were young and lost some games they could have won, but the talent is there, by the end of the year they put it together, hence 49-3, 52-7 and 45-10 in three of their last four games.
And they will be better next year and the year after and the year after and so on.
Poodle keep on wagging..If you read my post before the game ..I predicted a big win for UW..but it was expected They are under achievers…well paid program ..a better team shows in their record…I live just a few minutes away from Montlake. I actually did work at UW. I root for UW when they don’t play the Cougs. So you are wearing your female dog glasses kid. Your observations extremely biased. UW has everything needed to be a big program except the wins. If you want a couple of the Cougs ..play better during the season . A good team wins consistently…not every once in awhile …when the other teams best players one on the Huskies list..there senior OT and one of their best lbs and DE are injured for the game. Win more games to make your argument. Do not act like a teenager and puff your poodle chest up..well then again it was the biggest game of the season
For the Huskies they went 6-6 for a big program
Standford? Who dat?
I really don’t know…actually.
Oh so not having your starting QB .doesn’t make it a quality win..ok gotcha old man
“superbly as Falk has played this season, it’s doubtful he could have made a 35-point difference”
Are you serious??? Are you actually saying the dogs would have been 35 points BETTER than the Cougs if one of the nation’s leading QB’s started for WSU?? That’s idiotic. Tell yourself whatever you want, the dogs beat a worthless backup QB making his first ever college start. Wow, impressive. if Falk plays, no way does WSU stall on drives, miss open receivers, have 7 freaking turnovers, strip sacks, whatever…..would have been a completely different game and everybody knows it. No one is impressed they beat Peyton freaking Bender. Enjoy whatever crap bowl your barely .500 club goes to.
I’m thinking Leach should have locked Falk in a darken shed for a week. He would have played “lights out.” Not sure where he would have put his defense. Would have needed a barn.
The dark shed episode is where Leach grew his paranoia about injuries.
Not talking about injuries is fairly common, most coaches won’t say anything unless a player is out for the year. But there is a a way to not comment without being a total jerk and seemingly throwing a 19 year old who was knocked out of two games in a row under the bus.
When your entire offence is based on the pass, you best have more than one quarterback ready to play.
Fair point. Both QBs said to be head-to-head in fall camp. Falk won the job, and built the game experience that Bender needed Sat.
I’m certainly no fan of Coach Peterson, but he’s a far cry better than a jerk like Leach.
(Warning: The following comment is rated PG-5th Grade. Some readers may find it disturbing.)
I’ve crapped better turds than Mike Leach. Stankier, no. But better? Hell, yeah.
did husky fans say BEFORE the game that they wanted falk to play because they KNEW clowns like seerays would use that as an excuse when huskies won. sure enough coug fans doing what they do best making excuses for couging it yet again what s this two in a row and 6 of 7?
Actually I called the game for the Huskies …before it started. People you come on to talk trash after a win.and hide if you lose under your rock. I am still here. I said Vegas needed to have a higher points favor for the Huskies. No husky on any board said they wanted Falk to play. They knew he wasn’t. Falk doesn’t play defense. Yet he doesn’t have to because if you keep your offense on the field that is keeping the other offense of the field. It was a good win for the Huskies now they can go to a lower bowl game. Win more Pac 12 games and then you will go to a better one.
The same advanced metrics that predicted Washington would win by two scores, indicate that the Cougars, in fact, did not beat any teams better than the Huskies!