A dream realized as Wilson sets school record

SEATTLE – Jason Hill. Michael Bumpus. Charles Dillon. Brandon Gibson. Jared Karstetter. They are the standout wide receivers who have been guiding forces as the Cougars have gone .500 just once in the last nine seasons. On Saturday, Marquess Wilson cemented his place in the elite group as he hauled in 182 yards against Oregon to break the school record for career receiving yards with 2,893.

Gibson previously held the record of 2,756 yards amassed between 2005-08.

"It means a lot," said Wilson, who broke the record on a 7-yard reception in the third quarter at CenturyLink Field. "There have been a lot of great receivers who have come out of Washington State, and just being able to do this right now … This is a great feeling.

"It would have been a lot better with a win, but it's great knowing your name is in the record book."

Wilson said that growing up in California, he dreamed of setting records, but once doing that became realistic, and game time rolled around on Saturday, he opted to not focus on his numbers. Instead, the junior has been working on playing a more physical game.

"It's been my weak point," he said. "I haven't been a physical receiver the past two years, but I'm trying to change that around and be more physical and have a presence on the field."

Wilson's 23rd career touchdown pass, a 25-yarder from Jeff Tuel in the fourth quarter, moved him past Hugh Campbell for second place on the school's career list. He also had a career-high 12 receptions in his 13th career 100-yard game. He has caught a pass in all 29 games of his career at Washington State.

He was a three-star recruit out of Tulare Union High School and received low interest from schools including Arizona State, San Diego State and UNLV before deciding to sign with the Cougars. In 2010, he amassed more yards (1,006) than any other freshman receiver in the country on 55 catches, six of them touchdowns.

As a sophomore, he scored five touchdowns on passes of 50 yards or more en route to being named Washington State's Offensive MVP and a member of the All-Pac-12 Second Team.

Wilson has at times this season been scrutinized for dropped passes but sophomore quarterback Connor Halliday came to his defense on Saturday, saying that his teammate doesn't get enough credit.

"Sure, he's dropped a couple of balls this year, but everybody in our receiving corps has," Halliday said. "I love the guy like a brother. You can't say a bad thing about the guy; he's just a competitor."

Wilson said that he felt the Cougars lacked intensity in the second half of the 51-26 loss to Oregon after coming out strong in The Opening period.

"It's just a mindset," he said. "We have (to know) what we want to do when we go back out there in the second half … and be able to do that for a full 60 minutes. That's what's going to help us out."

  • For the second straight week, Halliday attempted 60 passes, tying him for the second most in a single game in school history. His 348 passing yards were his third straight 300-yard performance and the fourth of his career.

  • Tuel moved into a tie for seventh on WSU's career top-10 for passing touchdowns with his 28th touchdown pass, a 25-yarder to Wilson in the fourth quarter. It was the first game he has played in since getting injured Sept. 8 against Eastern Washington. Tuel finished the night 4 for 4.

  • Deone Bucannon's second and third interceptions of the season bring his career total to eight. His performance Saturday is the first multiple-interception game by a Cougar since Xavier Hicks had two against Oregon State in 2008.

  • Junior punter Mike Bowlin donned green and yellow as a freshman, but ended up at junior college after being removed from Oregon's team. He then signed with the Cougars. He averaged 40.7 yards on six punts on Saturday.

  • Carl Winston scored his second rushing touchdown of the season and sixth of his career.

  • Freshman running back Teondray Caldwell recorded the 10th-most all-purpose yards in a game with 254. He also had the second most kickoff return yards in a single game at WSU, with 220. Isiah Barton set the record with 228 last year against Oregon State.

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