Cougs destroy UNLV 59-7

Sep 11, 2011, 8:48 PM | Updated: 9:04 pm

There were some questions coming in to this game, none more obvious than how Marshall Lobbestael would handle the starting role against an up tick in competition on Saturday.

That question was answered in the form of these stats: 24-32, 361 yards and five touchdowns.

That’s Pac-12 Player of the Week-type numbers. We’ll see tomorrow if that honor is bestowed on him, but even if it isn’t, nothing will take away from his simply outstanding performance.

The Lobster may not throw the same ball as Jeff Tuel, and he may not run the ball quite as well, but he sits in the pocket with the same confidence, sees the routes and goes through his progressions equally as well.

Of course, having an O-line that provides some protection is a big factor, and having a run game that has been nothing short of impressive also helps. But for fans who were worried that Lobbestael would have a hard time under center, seeing what we’ve seen of him in the past two games has to make everyone feel pretty good about a tough situation.

Yes, I’ll pay heed to the obligatory “inferior competition” argument. UNLV is not a good football team right now and neither is Idaho State, but what’s important here is that good teams play hard despite what team they’re playing. They should beat teams like those with conviction. Is WSU a good team? Well, we’ll find out in the coming weeks, but for now, they are by far the best team that Paul Wulff has fielded. The level of athleticism from all 22 players on the field, and the special teams, is completely different than anything we’ve seen in Cougar uniforms in a long while.

Rickey Galvin started off the scoring on Saturday, ripping off a 48-yard touchdown run on the first drive and the Cougs didn’t look back. In fact, they punted only once in the entire game.

Galvin finished with 80 yards on five carries. Carl Winston had the most carries on the day with nine, and netted 36 tough yards. The Cougs showed their depth in the position again with Marcus Mason, Logwone Mitz and Eric Oertel all getting good opportunities to run the ball.

As good as the running game was, it was the aerial attack that was the most memorable. Marquess Wilson had another outstanding game, racking up 102 yards on five catches with one TD. Jared Karstetter had 66 yards on six catches with two TDs. Redshirt freshman Kristoff Williams had four catches for 89 yards and a touchdown and Isiah Barton chipped in another 69 yards on four catches and a TD of his own. The list goes on and on.

In total, the Cougs threw for 471 yards. Backup QB Connor Halliday went 5-6 for 110 yards and two touchdowns of his own.

In total, the offense gained 610 yards and averaged 7.9 yards per play.

Then, there was the defense. I was a little worried with the secondary’s performance in week one, but they turned it around in a big way on Saturday, allowing only 60 yards in the air.

This year’s D is filled with play-makers and none was more impressive than sophomore C.J. Mizell, who had seven tackles and a forced fumble. The entire linebacker corps was on fire, with Alex Hoffman-Ellis getting six tackles and Sekope Kaufusi getting five. I would expect it would take me a lot of research to find the last game where the Cougar D’s top three tacklers were all LBs.

Now, the Cougs will prepare to face SDSU, a team that will again provide more competition, but after Saturday’s game, I’m not sure that you’ll find many Cougar fans or players who don’t think that this team will give the Aztecs all they can handle and more.

There’s now a level of confidence with this team that makes them dangerous. It’s gotta be a great feeling for those players and coaches. I know it’s pretty awesome for the fans.

2-0. Wow, that sounds good.

For folks driving to Pullman from Spokane this week, they got a little dose of the Cougar Flag-waving craze as they were welcomed by this very cool site:

Impressive, to say the least. What’s also impressive are these highlights…enjoy the drubbing and pay special attention to the Marquess Wilson TD catch at the 8:04 mark. Simply incredible.

Go Cougs!!!!

WSU

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Cougs destroy UNLV 59-7