Cougar chomped – road woes continue in Pullman

The only thing that had Saturday’s Battle of the Palouse feeling like a rivalry were the choice words the two head coaches had for each other in the post-game handshake.

Paul Petrino and Mike Leach got after it for a few seconds after a brief handshake, following Washington State’s 42-0 dominant performance Saturday night at Pullman’s Martin Stadium. Petrino looked like he instigated the confrontation, with Leach firing back in response.

If only we knew what those words were.

“That’s between me and him,” Petrino said.

The source of Petrino’s frustration could be any number of things: Idaho’s offensive line getting thrown around the line of scrimmage, Idaho failing to convert on fourth-and-goal from the one during the final minute of the game, or the overall physical dominance Washington State had at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

“They just kicked our butt. They beat us, you have to give them credit. We didn’t do a good job, that’s what it came down to,” Petrino said.

Washington State looked every bit the superior team on the night, but Idaho turnovers in the first half expedited the blowout process. After the two teams traded punts on their opening possessions, Idaho back-up quarterback Josh McCain threw across his body on a roll-out to the right for the easy interception by Washington State’s Deone Bucannon.

It took Washington State all of three plays to find the hole in Idaho’s secondary to make it 7-0 early in the first quarter. The flood gates opened further late in the second quarter when Idaho running back Kris Olugbode got the ball punched out from behind on Idaho’s 20-yard line. One play and eight seconds later it was 21-0 Washington State.

Idaho’s defense hung tough, forcing Washington State into two punts and grabbing an interception in the first quarter but couldn’t do much about Idaho’s offense failing to get past Washington State’s 45-yard line. The defense forced four turnovers but were at the mercy of Cougar quarterback Connor Halliday when he got in a rhythm.

“I thought defense fought pretty hard all game, I thought the defense played good all game. They obviously made a bunch of plays on it, but we didn’t take advantage when the defense played good, offensively,” Petrino said.

Poor offensive line play from the second half of last week’s loss to Northern Illinois carried over the border to Pullman and got worse. Washington State was physical in the trenches racking up 14 tackles for loss and five sacks, upping Idaho’s sack-conceded total to 26 on the season through four games.

“They were doing a better job, we weren’t blocking them good enough. They were doing a really good job of eating the blocks, and they tackled well, there’s not a whole bunch to analyze, they kicked our butt,” Petrino said.

If you’re looking for positives then redshirt freshman quarterback Chad Chalich is the place to start. Chalich finished the night with 167 yards on 17-of-23 passing, and 39 yards rushing on nine non-sack rushes. Chalich orchestrated Idaho’s closest chance at the end zone late in the fourth quarter when he led Idaho on a 16-play 82 yard drive that came inches short of a touchdown on a turnover-on-downs.

Though, Petrino was hesitant to praise his quarterback until he can watch the film.

“I don’t know if you can say anybody played real well when you lose by that much, I’ll watch it on tape and see,” Petrino said.

Josh McCain had his toughest game as a Vandal, throwing the first Vandal interception of the year and getting nothing going in the passing game. But it seems like Petrino wants to stick with him in the two-quarterback system, throwing him back out there for a couple of plays in the second half.

“We were just trying to get him some more reps. It was kind of a situation where the game was out of hand as it was, so just trying to get him some more work,” Petrino said.

Other notes and quotes

– Cornerback Solomon Dixon sitting out tonight was injury related, Petrino said.

– Petrino on having (or not having) a problem with WSU’s defensive play-calling at the goal line: “Yeah, you play to play. That has nothing to do with anything.”

– Petrino on coming back to game-plan for Temple next week: “Yeah, there’s nothing else you can do. It’s a process of getting things right, and got whooped today. So you just have to come back tomorrow, and go to work hard and try to get things better.”

Sean Kramer is a 24-year old University of Idaho student majoring in Journalism. He's been a sports writer at The Argonaut since the fall of 2011.
1 Comment
  • Joe
    23 September 2013 at 12:09 am -

    I know he’s frustrated but venting anger with a Coach that just beat you 42-0 only makes you look like a poor loser. Paul Petrino might not win a game all year, then what?

    I wish him luck.

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