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Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Kyle Padron threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns, leading the SMU Mustangs to a 35-21 win over the Washington State Cougars in non-conference play at Ford Stadium.
Padron also ran for a touchdown in the victory. Aldrick Robinson had a busy day in the passing game for SMU (2-1), finishing with 111 yards and three TDs on four catches.
Jeff Tuel threw for 284 yards and two TDs for Washington State (1-2), while Marquess Wilson posted six catches for 134 yards and a score.
SMU opened the scoring with a 13-yard touchdown run by Padron on the game’s opening drive.
The Cougars tied the score at 7-7 in the final minute of the first quarter, when Tuel found Jared Karstetter for a four-yard touchdown pass.
The Mustangs reclaimed the lead at the 3:30 mark of the second quarter, as Padron hooked up with Robinson for a 67-yard scoring strike.
The Cougars were forced to punt on their next possession, but SMU return man Darius Johnson fumbled it away, and Washington State’s Kyle McCartney scooped it up in the end zone to tie the score at 14-14.
Johnson atoned for his gaffe with a 10-yard touchdown reception from Padron with five minutes to play in the third quarter to put SMU on top, 21-14.
The Mustangs then began to pull away, as Padron tossed another touchdown pass to Robinson, this time from 16 yards to make it a 28-14 game with 1:18 remaining in the third quarter.
Padron’s fourth touchdown pass of the day came at the 2:08 mark of the fourth quarter, as he found none other than Robinson for a 10-yard touchdown.
The Cougars weren’t quite ready to go away as Tuel connected with Marquess Wilson for a 68-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the ensuing possession, which cut the deficit to 35-21 with 1:50 to play. However, the threat would end there, as SMU retained possession and ran out the clock.
Washington State has now lost 11 straight games to FBS schools dating back to last season.
The Cougars showed signs of life, hanging with the SMU Mustangs until faltering down the stretch and losing to SMU, 35-21.
Tied at the half, 14-14, SMU drove the field and took the lead, never looking back. A late touchdown pass from Jeff Tuel to Marquess Wilson made it 35-21 late in the fourth quarter, but the ensuing onside kick was recovered by SMU and the Mustangs ran out the clock.
Jeff Tuel was inconsistent, completing 18 of 33 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns. Marquess Wilson continued his breakout season, catching six balls for 134 yards and a touchdown. It was his second 100 yard receiving performance of the year.
The Cougars open their Pac-10 schedule at home against the USC Trojans next Saturday.
At the half, Washington State is tied with SMU, 14-14. The Cougars gave up a long touchdown to go down 14-7 before answering by recovering a muffed punt in the end zone.
The Cougar defense is holding up, but the offense needs to start making some plays in the second half.
As expected, Chima Nwachukwu will not play today against SMU. The senior safety is making his return to Texas, but suffered a neck injury in practice earlier this week.
Grippi confirmed the news on twitter.
With Nwachukwu out, true freshman Deone Bucannon will get a chance to shine in his place.
Update: Chantz Staden is also out.
Kristoff Williams has been recovering from turf toe and was expected to make his highly-anticipated debut today against SMU. Vince Grippi is reporting Williams is not suited up and will not play today, however.
The thought was Williams would redshirt if he couldn't play today.
The Cougs are on the field warming-up down in Texas right now and Spokesman-Review reporter Vince Grippi passes along a note about the uniforms on Twitter.
It's about 90 degrees and humid at Ford Field, so white uniforms may not be a bad idea.
As for the game, I don’t believe Chima Nwachukwu will be able to play today, kept out by his neck injury. I talked with him last night and he said he was feeling well, but there are some worries there
Mike Ledgerwood is also back in action and will play today. Grippi cleared up the situation with James Montgomery last night, noting it was a minor infraction and that the running back will play against SMU.
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 18th, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ford Stadium (32,000) -- Dallas, Texas. Television: CBSCSN. Home Record: WSU 1-0, SMU 1-0. Away Record: WSU 0-1, SMU 0-1. Neutral Record: WSU 0-0, SMU 0-0. Conference Record: WSU 0-0, SMU 1-0. Series Record: Washington State leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Cougars will invade the Lone Star State when Washington State takes on the SMU Mustangs this Saturday afternoon at Ford Stadium.
Last season the Cougars erased a 17-point deficit against SMU, to grab a 30-27 victory over the Mustangs in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
Since taking over in Pullman, Paul Wulff's tenure at WSU has lacked victories, and even though the Cougars earned a 23-22 decision over Montana State this past weekend, it was only the fourth win for coach Wulff, who is in his third season at Washington State.
The Mustangs' 2010 campaign began with a tough, 35-27 setback to Texas Tech on the road. However, coach June Jones led his team to victory this past weekend, as the Mustangs defeated UAB, 28-7, in their Conference-USA opener.
The Cougars might have won this past weekend, but the team needed 16 straight fourth quarter points just to slide past Montana State.
Although it was not a dominating performance the Cougars still looked much better than they did in their opening loss to Oklahoma State. James Montgomery, who rushed for just 32 yards against the Cowboys, rumbled for 116 yards and one score on 20 totes against Montana State.
The ground game showed improvement in the second matchup, but the play of quarterback Jeff Tuel was still inconsistent. Tuel did throw for 204 yards and tossed two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but the signal caller also threw an interception and was sacked three times.
The Cougars surrendered 65 points in their season-opening loss, so clearly there was not much coach Wulff could take from that matchup. The defense was atrocious in every aspect, and was overmatched from start to finish.
The defense, however, performed better against Montana State, but the unit still had some issues overall.
After being gashed by Oklahoma State on the ground the Cougars still had some issues against the run, but managed to hold Montana State to just 123 yards on 4.1 yards per attempt.
The play against the pass was also inconsistent. On one end the Cougars allowed 284 yards and two touchdowns through the air, but on a positive note the team collected three interceptions, two of which came late in the fourth quarter.
By the final whistle the Cougars were victorious, but the defense was not at its best, and if this unit does not sew up its weak spots then winning might be tough for Washington State in 2010.
The Mustangs were not at their best offensively in their opener, and it cost them in the win column. However, coach Jones' squad put forth a much better effort in their victory over UAB.
The ground game, which was maintained by Texas Tech in the opener, exploded against the Blazers, racking up 247 yards on a whopping 6.7 yards per attempt. Zach Line led the way for the Mustangs with 122 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Kyle Padron added 66 yards.
Padron also had a solid showing with his arm, tossing two touchdowns to go along with 145 yards. After a sub par first game, Padron looked much better against UAB, and should continue to improve throughout the season. His main target against the Blazers was Darius Johnson who hauled in both scores and finished 45 yards on seven receptions.
A big difference in the two matchups was the play of the defense. After surrendering 35 points in a loss to Texas Tech, coach Jones's defense came out against UAB with a tougher mentality and a better approach.
Texas Tech torched SMU's secondary in the opener, but the Mustangs put forth a better showing against UAB, limiting the Blazers to just 153 yards through the air. SMU also forced two turnovers in the victory and added three sacks as well.
The defense also did an exceptional job against the run, holding its conference foe to just 108 rushing yards, and after two games the Mustangs are limiting the opposition to just 90.0 ypg on a mere 2.9 yards per carry.
The Cougars have not been impressive offensively this season, despite coming off a victory. On top of that, Washington State has just one road win since the start of 2007 and it is unlikely coach Wulff's squad will corral a win in Dallas this weekend. Look for Padron to have his best start of the season, as he leads the Mustangs to the win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SMU 27, Washington State 17
SB Nation Seattle's Brian Floyd writes that former Washington State University quarterback Ryan Leaf is a familiar face around Pullman, Washington, where he is staying actively involved with the football program after his career and life took a wrong turn.
Now, I see Leaf roaming the sidelines at almost every Cougar football game. He was in Pullman last weekend, wearing his trademark backwards hat, laughing and joking with other former players. He looks like he's genuinely enjoying himself again, putting the negative past behind him while working to change his image.
Like many others, I'm proud to call Ryan Leaf a Coug. His shortcomings of the past are a cautionary tale, but the way he's dusted himself off and worked to become a better man makes me proud.
Komo News is reporting WSU running back James Montgomery was arrested last night on an outstanding warrant for driving with a suspended license.
Over at CougCenter, we looked at the charge and the repercussions for WSU and Montgomery.
An arrest is never good, but try not to get too worked up about this. The charge is a simple misdemeanor driving offense and could be a situation where Montgomery forgot to take care of a citation or was a simple misunderstanding.
It’s unknown whether Montgomery traveled or will play this weekend against SMU or what, if any, discipline he faces.
We’ll find out more as it becomes available. It doesn’t look to be too serious for Montgomery, though.
When the Cougars take the field this Saturday against SMU, freshman Eric Oertel will see his first game action in his college career. Oertel, an athlete out of Wisconsin, played his way into the linebacker rotation and will see extensive time on all the special teams units, filling some holes left by injuries.
The Spokesman-Reviews Vince Grippi has the Thursday notes.
And if you paid attention to last night’s blog post, you know that true freshman Eric Oertel, from Wisconsin, was running with the twos on defense, playing the strong side linebacker spot. Well, Wulff said Thursday Oertel would play this weekend on special teams, probably filling a hole opened when Rickey Galvin went down.
Grippi also notes that safety Chima Nwachukwu is a game-time decision after suffering a neck injury that may spoil his homecoming to Texas.
Junior college transfer Isiah Barton will start in the slot and middle linebacker Mike Ledgerwood is also back from injury this week.
The Cougars take on SMU Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
The Washington State Cougars squared off against the SMU Mustangs last year in Pullman, turning a barrage of late interceptions into a last-second overtime win. The Cougs should be familiar with SMU and the June Jones offense this time around, but SMU has added a new wrinkle this year.
CougCenter’s Craig Powers previewed the Mustangs this week and noted they’ve been running the ball more.
As for the running game, June Jones has put more of an emphasis on it since arriving at SMU. Last year, senior Shawnbrey McNeal carried the ball 238 times. His replacement, sophomore Zach Line, isn’t getting the same amount of carries, but has been very effective through two games. He has carried the ball 28 times for a 6.93 average and three touchdowns. Overall, SMU has had great success on the ground, averaging 5.56 yards per run as a team.
Jones usually employs short routes and an aerial assault to beat-down opponents. This year, he’s been using the running game much more in his run-and-shoot offense, changing the theory behind his offense significantly.
The Cougs need to be prepared for the short passing routes SMU runs and the newfound running game in order to make this a game. Tackling — a weak-point for WSU thus far — must be an emphasis for WSU Saturday. If SMU receivers get into space, it could be a long day for the Cougars.
For more on the Cougs, check out SB Nation’s CougCenter.
After a rash of injuries during training camp, Washington State is relatively healthy heading into this weekend’s matchup against the SMU Mustangs.
Vince Grippi has the notes on a few players sitting out this week in practice.
Besides Nwachukwu, corner Aire Justin sat out after reinjuring his hamstring. Then, during practice, Brandon Rankin rolled an ankle, though Wulff said that wasn’t serious and Rankin was moving well at the end of practice. Besides that, Bernard Wolfgramm is still taking it easy with his strained rotator cuff (that’s what Wulff called it today) and didn’t do any scrimmaging.
Chima Nwachukwu strained his neck during drills Tuesday and may not be able to go. In his place, cornerback Anthony Carpenter has been getting reps at safety in an effort to add some depth.
The Cougars finally got in the win column Saturday, coming from behind to beat Montana State in Pullman, 23-22. The victory was Washington State's first since another early-season comeback victory over SMU in 2009 at Martin Stadium. The Cougs look to draw on that game as they travel to Texas to take on the Southern Methodist Mustangs this weekend in a rematch of last year's thriller.
A win is a win, but WSU's victory over Montana State wasn't pretty. A first play interception by Jeff Tuel got the Cougars off on the wrong foot and it was all downhill from there early. Montana State capitalized on two early Washington State turnovers and jumped out to a 6-0 lead. Up 22-7 after three quarters, it took a flurry of interceptions and big plays for the Cougars to claw back into the game. Nico Grasu hit a short field goal to take the lead and a C.J. Mizell interception sealed the game.
It counted as a win in the standings, but the loss left many Cougar fans feeling empty. Over at CougCenter, this was my immediate reaction after I got home from the game.
I've never felt so terrible and angry after a win. I don't like this feeling. It hurts, it bothers me and it's embarrassing
There were positives, however. C.J. Mizell saw significant playing time and showed why the Cougs have such high hopes for him. The freshman linebacker was all over the field and showed off his speed late in the game, hauling in an interception and racing deep into MSU territory.
C.J. Mizell is good and really does have limitless potential. He was directly at fault for a touchdown -- missing his assignment in pass-coverage -- but he was also flying all over the field. His interception was fluky as heck, but the speed he showed was great to see. Between the pick and his fourth-down sack, the freshman linebacker almost single-handedly saved the game.
WSU was finally favored in a game and was the better team on Saturday. The Cougs had better, faster and stronger athletes, yet couldn't shake the Bobcats. The Spokesman-Review's Vince Grippi examined why WSU couldn't quickly put away Montana State as expected.
The pressure to win, and win impressively, was palatable all week. And within it were sown the seeds of yesterday's 22-7 deficit. Tuel's pass, James Montgomery's fumble, Chantz Staden's fumble, Brandon Rankin's early personal foul, heck even the lack of aggressiveness on defense until late in the game, those were plays and decisions made by players and coaches trying too hard to win.
With the win in the rear-view mirror, Washington State takes to the road to face a familiar foe: The Southern Methodist Mustangs. SMU came to Pullman last year and looked to have the game sewn-up in the fourth quarter before a barrage of mistakes led to WSU tying the game in regulation and winning in overtime. SMU went on to a bowl game while WSU didn't win again in 2009.
The Mustangs play a run-and-shoot offense that's been light on the run and heavy on the shoot. According to Grippi, the SMU passing attack hasn't been so vaunted this year.
They are also looking to rediscover their passing attack, mysteriously MIA in last week's win over UAB. SMU was 15th in the nation last year in passing, averaging 280 yards a game.
The Cougar defense will have to slow down the SMU passing attack that's been so dangerous in the past on Saturday. If they don't it could be a very long day.
Washington State takes on SMU Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
For more on the Cougars, check out SB Nation's CougCenter.
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