Freshman receiver is rare bright spot
Not a lot of bright spots blared forth for Washington State here Saturday night in a 65-17 loss to Oklahoma State, but one was obvious: Freshman receiver Marquess Wilson.
Seattle Times staff reporter
STILLWATER, Okla. — Not a lot of bright spots blared forth for Washington State here Saturday night in a 65-17 loss to Oklahoma State, but one was obvious: Freshman receiver Marquess Wilson.
The 6-foot-3 product of Tulare, Calif., snagged a 48-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Tuel, and had another 46-yard reception that was denied a touchdown by a replay. Wilson finished with four catches for 108 yards, becoming the fourth WSU true freshman to top the 100-yard mark since complete statistics began to be compiled in 1978.
"Starting off, I had a few jitterbugs, but once I touched the field and saw how the atmosphere was, I got pretty comfortable," Wilson said.
The slender Wilson caught Tuel's pass at about the Cowboys' 25 in the second quarter and with the help of a crunching block from tight end Andrei Lintz, outlegged the OSU defenders into the end zone.
Wilson's contribution, even his presence, was badly needed. Slotback Gino Simone of Skyline High School didn't play because of a lingering hamstring pull, and Jared Karstetter, one of Tuel's primary targets, suffered a concussion and left late in the first quarter. The Cougars already were without one of their better prospects, freshman Kristoff Williams, who missed much of fall camp with turf toe.
• A couple of astonishing streaks continued: WSU hasn't had a lead during timed play since November 2008 (its 2009 win came against Southern Methodist in overtime). And the Cougars again failed to score in the first quarter, after being outscored 176-6 in that period last year. WSU hasn't had a first-quarter TD since the Arizona game Nov. 8, 2008.
• Nolan Washington, redshirt freshman from Kennedy High, started at cornerback and said afterward, "Whenever I give up certain things, I never feel I played to my full potential. But for the first game, getting thrown to the fire, I did OK." Justin Blackmon got behind Washington on a 1-yard fade route for a score in the second quarter, and also victimized Washington on a 24-yard TD in the third quarter.
• Seven WSU true freshmen played, including Wilson. The others: RB Rickey Galvin, CB Damante Horton, S Deone Bucannon, S Jack Wilson, OT John Fullington and LB C.J. Mizell.
• While WSU coach Paul Wulff said the Cougars "worked on tackling all fall camp, a tremendous amount," defensive coordinator Chris Ball seemed to second-guess whether they had hit enough, saying, "We tried to stay healthy and cut tackling back a little bit. You're between a rock and a hard place, trying to stay healthy but you want to tackle more. But we obviously didn't do enough. That's our fault. That's my fault."
• Wulff on the play of Tuel: "At times he was really good, at other times, he was a 19-year-old. Getting in synch with those (new) receivers, that just doesn't happen in 29 (fall-camp) practices."
• Nico Grasu's 56-yard field goal was the sixth-longest in school history.
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org