With seconds remaining on Oregon’s blowout win against Washington State, the Cougars were still throwing.
And Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotii wasn’t happy about it.
Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday set an NCAA record with 89 pass attempts and set an Autzen Stadium record with 557 passing yards. He scored the Cougars final touchdown on a pass with 11 seconds remaining to make the final score 62-38.
It was a meaningless touchdown in terms of the game, but probably had some merit for Washington State’s psyche. Regardless, Aliotii thought coach Mike Leach’s decision to keep passing the ball was “low class.”
“That’s total (B.S.) that he threw the ball at the end of the game like he did,’’ Aliotti said. “And you can print that and you can send it to him, and he can comment, too. I think it’s low class and it’s (B.S.) to throw the ball when the game is completely over against our kids that are basically our scout team.
“Make sure he knows that. Because I don’t really care.”
“I am kind of stunned he would keep his quarterback and crew in there. And still he threw the ball with 20 seconds left. But he did. They want stats, they got stats. But we got the most important stat and that’s the ‘W’ and we are happy about that.’’
Am I the only one who thinks this is ridiculous?
Oregon scored 62 points on a severely overmatched Washington State team. It won the game by 24 points. Except for a brief moment in the first half, this game was never in doubt for the Ducks.
So, what is Mike Leach supposed to do?
According to Aliotii, Leach was just supposed to say, “Awww, shucks” and concede defeat.
“I’m repeating myself, but again, in the end he’s still throwing at a time when most guys would try to end the game and go home,’’ Aliotti said.
Leach called the game to the final whistle. He had his team play the game to the final whistle. Leach is a competitor and even though the game was far out of reach, he made sure his team played like it was close.
I have no problem with that.
Oregon has steamrolled teams this season. Most of the games have been over by the third quarter and most teams have conceded defeat, tucked their tails between their legs and let the Ducks get their scrubs work in the fourth quarter.
Mike Leach wasn’t playing for Oct. 19, 2013. He was playing for next week and the week after that and for the 2014 season. His team hasn’t had a whole lot of success during his tenure, but what kind of message is he sending by not having it put out its best possible effort for the entire game regardless of the score?
Throwing 89 times is crazy, yes. But Leach did what he thought he had to to give his team the best possible chance against a team that scores and scores often. You can call it padding stats, but I think it’s just playing the game.
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