Early in the third quarter on third-and-five with WSU leading 10-3, Bishop Sankey rumbled 40 yards on a screen pass. UW scored a few plays later to tie the game but more importantly, they seized momentum and didn't give it back until the fourth quarter and after they had scored 17 unanswered.
DEFENSIVE PLAYS OF THE GAME:
While the Cougars surrendered several explosive plays, they also made some key stops that kept the game close throughout:
OFFENSIVE PLAY OF THE GAME:
On fourth-and-15 at UW's 39 in the fourth quarter and with the Cougs trailing by 10 points, Connor Halliday found Dom Williams for a 22-yard gain in a sea of Huskies. A personal-foul penalty for a helmet hit by linebacker John Timu was assessed, which put the Cougars down to UW's 8. Two plays later, Halliday found Williams again for a 5-yard touchdown pass with 7:30 remaining in the game. Williams' grab, in which he went up knowing he was going to get hit, kept the WSU hopes alive, with the Cougs closing to 20-17.
After displaying strong decision-making skills in leading the Cougars to bowl eligibility for the first time since 2006, Halliday's interceptions were disappointing.
Sankey set UW single-season records for rushing yards and touchdowns. He finished the game with 200 yards on 34 carries as the Cougars were unable to contain him.
MEANINGLESS STAT OF THE GAME:
WSU had a significant edge in first downs throughout the game. But the Cougars, who had a 25-21 advantage in that statistic, could not translate many of those drives into points.
MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACKING:
The Cougars were able to dink-and-dunk their way to first downs, but far too many drives stalled out without points. There was some discussion within the media during the week that the Huskies would be able to take advantage of WSU's "one-dimensional offense." But the Cougars, unlike Oregon State, are able to run the ball effectively at times. The more significant issue for WSU was its inability to produce explosive plays against UW. The inability to produce big plays put pressure on Halliday, who forced two passes late in the game that decided the outcome. The result also placed too much pressure on the Cougars' defense to contain UW's explosive playmakers, such as Sankey and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, both of whom are viewed as early NFL draft picks if they elect to come out early. WSU's defense has been known to give up the big play, but it also has come up with significant stops this season. That was the case during the first half as the Huskies only converted 1 of 6 third downs. It was an impressive display against an offense that jumped out to a 27-0 halftime lead en route to a 69-27 victory last week at OSU. The Cougars missed a potential scoring opportunity late in the first half. After a penalty placed them in a second-and-20 situation at UW's 35 with just 7 seconds remaining, it seemed prudent to kick a field goal. Instead, Halliday was sacked and the clock expired.
SPECIAL TEAMS EDGE GOES TO …
Tie. Neither team punted well as the Cougars went with Wes Concepcion instead of Mike Bowlin.
WSU will see which bowl it is invited to.
12:13: Travis Coons 48-yard field goal. SECOND QUARTER:
13:38: Andrew Furney 49-yard field goal. WSU 10-3
4:25: Rickey Galvin 14-yard pass in left corner of the end zone from Connor Halliday. Key plays: WSU converted a pair of third-and-1 plays on the scoring drive. The first came from its own 18 on a 2-yard run by Marcus Mason and the latter was from the Huskies' 15 on a 1-yard scramble by Halliday. The Cougars' longest play from scrimmage was a 20-yard carry by Teondray Caldwell from their own 45. THIRD QUARTER:
9:26: Austin Seferian-Jenkins 18-yard touchdown reception from Price. UW 17-10
5:16: Bishop Sankey 7-yard run. UW 20-10
1:03: Coens 39-yard field goal. FOURTH QUARTER:
7:30: Dom Williams 5-yard pass from Halliday. Key play: On fourth-and-15 at UW's 39, Halliday found Williams for a 22-yard gain. A personal-foul penalty for a helmet hit by linebacker John Timu was assessed, which put the Cougars down to UW's 8. UW 27-17
2:08: Price 2-yard run.