One week, euphoria. A week later, dejection.
That’s a week in the life of Marshall Lobbestael, the WSU senior quarterback, who, seven days after helping the Cougars rescue a memorable come-from-behind victory at Colorado, threw a killing interception on the last WSU possession here at the Rose Bowl as UCLA escaped with a 28-25 victory.
“I’m going to have to watch it on film,” Lobbestael said on the WSU radio network, referring to the interception at the UCLA 49 by Bruins cornerback Andrew Abbott. “I was working the route (waiting for a receiver to break open), I was scrambling a little bit. I should have thrown it out of bounds, or thrown a better ball.”
The night’s numbers were truly strange, not reflective of the outcome. WSU amassed 28 first downs to UCLA’s 15, and the Cougars had the ball for 36 minutes, 47 seconds, certainly one of their biggest edges in time of possession in recent years.
But repeatedly, they couldn’t convert in the red zone – as when they had a 30-6 advantage in plays in the first half. Later, they had a 22-20 lead midway through the fourth quarter, made it to the UCLA 30, and a touchdown there would have really put the heat on the Bruins. Instead, WSU settled for another Andrew Furney field goal.
“When we get inside the ‘score’ zone, as we call it, we’ve got to put points on the board,” said Lobbestael. “It gets frustrating when you keep having to kick field goals.”
Lobbestael had 28 completions, but they went for a modest 235 yards. There wasn’t much deep to be had as the Bruins played with safety help over the top virtually all night.
“It was something we knew going into the game,” Lobbestael said. “We were going to have to hit flat routes, checkdowns and crossing routes.”
The WSU running game, producing 154 yards, was one of its best in recent years against a Pac-12 opponent.
“We had some really good running plays schemed up against their D (defense),” Lobbestael said. “That was probably the biggest D-line we’ve gone up against so far, but I thought we (on the offensive line) had great pad level.”
But it all ended up with a second loss in five games for WSU, and the task isn’t negligible next week in Pullman – it’s unbeaten Stanford, which was ranked fourth in the coaches poll last week and is still in the national-championship hunt.