Halftime: Steely Cougs make early statement

FROM A LITERARY standpoint, there was a Shakespearean quality to the opening half of today's home finale against Utah. After all, if it were done when ‘tis done, then t'were well it were done quickly. And that is precisely what the Cougars did, as they scored on three of their first four possessions to make their bowl aspirations very clear, and took a 33-20 lead into halftime.

Leading the effort was the crimson Macbeth himself, junior Connor Halliday, hungry not for power, but for his team to play in a bowl for the first time in a decade. A win against the Utes makes the Cougars eligible for the postseason for the first time since 2006.

On the opening drive, junior Dom Williams got the Cougars off to a rollicking start with a 5-yard touchdown reception from Halliday. On second-and-18 from his own 35-yard line, Halliday threw a deep pass that Williams battled for with Justin Thomas and won for a 44-yard gain.

Washington State's steely determination clearly got to sophomore quarterback Adam Schulz, who promptly threw a pair of pick-six.

On the Utes' opening drive, Damante Horton returned a 22-yard interception for a touchdown.

And just less than 90 seconds later, Casey Locker returned a 39-yard interception for a touchdown to give the Cougars a 21-0 advantage.

Utah got on the board with 1:07 left as Kelvin York scored on a 14-yard draw play. York also opened scoring in the second quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run.

After Halliday found junior Marcus Mason for a 42-yard gain on third-and-7- from their own 44, Andrew Furney drilled a 27-yard field goal with 11:01 left in the half.

Mason stepped up again with 7:16 left with a 9-yard touchdown catch from Halliday.

Dres Sanderson caught a 3-yard touchdown pass with just over a minute left, but the Utes were unable to convert on the extra points after a botched snap turned into a failed two-point conversion.

Furney tacked on a 52-yard field goal as time expired to close out scoring.

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