Photo courtesy of the Standard-Examiner

Haha, Thank goodness for one of the best pass-rushers in the FCS today. Wags had two more sacks today, but not only that – he forced two fumbles which the Griz recovered. The official stats aren’t out but I think his first sack/fumble set up the first Griz fieldgoal and the second set up the final fieldgoal that would be the deciding difference.

It was a pretty ugly win overall, giving the entire team effort to beat a 1-7 (now 1-8) team. However the one thing I liked that I saw from this group was when things got dicey, they didn’t quit or make compounding errors. In prior games once the momentum swung away from the Griz it was all over, despite if they had a lead or not. When the Griz didn’t get that 4th down conversion right as the 3rd qtr ended I thought, “Uh oh, here we go.” It appeared that the Griz would then begin the 4th qtr crumble we’ve seen before. But this time they didn’t, the defense held, the offense tacked on a TD + 2 point, and then the 2nd Wags sack/fumble and another fieldgoal. Weber’s KR touchdown got it close again, but the offense did work, with the O-line paving the way for a handful of first downs that sealed the win.

Some points:

– For as mad I was at his sloppy passing in the first 3 quarters Shay did settle down and the TD drive in the 4th was really well done. Heck, he threw 2 TDs! haha. I don’t know if Shay is the long-term answer, but when the team needed him to step up, he did.

– 12 more tackles for the versatile Brock Coyle. Had some bad misses on WR screens but overall a good run-stuffer and not a bad game.

– Giving the Weber WRs a 15 yard buffer on 3rd and short when all they’ve been throwing is bubble screens was driving me nuts. Coach Ty did adjust a bit, I saw more press coverage than ever today, and it seemed to work, but WHY are they still giving that big buffer on 3rd and short?

– 23 tackles for WSU’s Morales? I posted that he’s the team leading tackler in the scouting report, that guy has a magnet for the ball. He’s undersized but a good tackler and quite the motor to get after the ball.

– Nearly 200 yards of offense for Peter Nguyen who looked to be dinged up by the game’s end. Great screen play, good powerful running, no turnovers. It appeared that Pete was a man possessed today, I’ve got a feeling he didn’t want to end his Griz career with only memories of losses in Ogden.

– Way too many drops for the WRs. Yeah I know Weber was hitting hard and SSH was throwing behind WRs, but there were a lot of drops with 2 hands put on the ball.

– More clock management issues. Griz get a chance for a late 1st half drive but let WSU wind the clock rather than take a time out, they then waste time after a 1 yard dive play, then get to the 40 but give up after a sack. They had 2 timeouts and 20 seconds, they could’ve at least got to mid-field and set up a hail-mary attempt.

– Mixed bag on special teams, two blocked punts was good, the kickoff out of bounds was bad, the kick return TD was horrid. Kemp’s returns were nice though. Just when it seems like it’s all coming together on special teams in a game (the blocked punts) more errors cost the Griz a once-comfortable lead.

– 4 possessions in the 1st half inside or just outside the Weber side of the field and only 3 points to show for it. Do that in two weeks against the cats and the Griz will lose. Gotta take advantage of the opportunities other teams mis-cues hand you.

– I’m glad we’ll have Oiland back next week, Hines did a decent job at center but I noticed a few big “whiffs” up the gut and some bad snaps, one that killed a goal-to-go drive.

– On the other hand, he did give up a sack but I thought Schmaing did ok. He went 1-on-1 quite a few times and held his own.

– Lets look at the three Griz possessions with a goal-to-go situation. The first time Poehls jumps and a false start leads to a fieldgoal. The next time a bad Hines snap puts the ball all the way back to the 15. The third time Hardy is covered up by a WR and becomes and ineligible target downfield – fortunately on that drive the Griz did get a TD instead of a fieldgoal. Say they only get 3 on that drive and we’re probably swallowing the pill of a 21-20 loss to Weber right now.

– Not a bad job from the DBs and safeties today. Weber isn’t much of a downfield team, but overall they did well. Harris did well with breaking up the double pass, and I see Chief Goodwin finished 3rd on the team with 6 tackles.

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The bus ride home for the guys should be fun. They have to feel good that they stayed strong and fought to the end – and were rewarded with a tough road win. In fact… their first road win of the season. They’re 5-5 and now have even more motivation to beat MSU in two weeks to finish out with a winning season. It’s not what anyone hoped for or wanted at the start of the season, but it’s the reality of the current situation. This team has been in every game it’s played and has the capability to beat almost any FCS team. In two weeks they’ll be aiming to retain the divide trophy, send the seniors out with a win, finish the season on a 3-game winning streak, and finish with a winning record.

Rest up Griz, enjoy the time off, you’ve deserved it after a real hard-fought game.

Go GRIZ!

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