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Turning Point - Couged It

After the early goings of the game where momentum kept shifting back and forth, the Beavs took momentum on a series of unfortunate of plays for Wazzu and never relinquished it again.

The Beavs took control with turnovers in the second half.
The Beavs took control with turnovers in the second half.
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The momentum mostly just traded hands in the first half, but one moment would have a large impact on the game. After Sean Mannion was forced into a pick (take a look at Andy's photo in the full recap of Mannion's arm being hit), it looked like the Cougars might have gotten the momentum to take over the game. On the very next play Wazzu gave it right back though. Teondray Caldwell gashed the Beaver defense for 17 yards, but Dylan Wynn came up from behind and karate chopped the ball out. WSU had a real chance to take over the ball game there, but instead the Beavs scored a touchdown after the turnover and held onto a first half lead.

Once the second half started, the Cougars held the Beavs twice while scoring on their first two drives and the game appeared to be headed to a repeat of the Utah game, with another shootout on the way. The Beavs would score a touchdown to tie things up at 24, but the Cougars were on the prowl. Their drive started at the 28 and began with a 6 yard scamper by Marcus Mason, which boded poorly for the Oregon State defense. On the next play Connor Halliday delivered a high strike that could have gone for five yards but was dropped and it went to third down. The third down pass would have been short of the first down, but that was dropped as well. It came to fourth down and Cougs were going to punt, and the snap went back, but off the chest of one of the Cougars in the backfield. It gave OSU great field position which only took two plays for the Beavs to score and they never looked back.

The fake/poor punt was bizarre, after looking over the play several times I am still unsure what the actual call was. The player catching it was either not ready for the ball or else he was unprepared for the ball, the commentators thought maybe the speed of the snap. None of the rest of the Cougars looked like they were trying to run block as they all just held their position, and stayed in a protective formation, not actively looking to hit someone. The snap itself would make one assume it had to be a fake, because the ball shot out at an angle and that would have gone down as worst snap of the year if it was supposed to be a punt.

Either way it effectively ended the game for the Cougs, with Halliday feeling pressure to catch up after that he just started missing/forcing passes. with three interceptions in his next five passes, two of them on the very first pass of the possession.

While watching it had felt like Wazzu was the better team in the first half and early through the second half, but after that botched play everything swung to the Beavs and even Leach threw in the towel with 6:43 left in the game, putting in his backup quarterback, who also managed to throw an interception.

In the end, the Beavs ran away with the win, but it took some help from the Cougs to get the ball rolling. The botched fake punt was the very definition of how to "Coug It," and it was the moment in the game when the Beavers took control.