HALFTIME: Cougs find groove, but still trail

SEATTLE -- Washington State hit the ground running in its annual game at CenturyLink Field – but not in the way it had hoped. Rutgers’ star running back had the Cougars playing catch up from the opening drive of the night, and despite Connor Halliday’s best efforts, were unable to catch up, taking a 21-17 deficit into halftime.

In the first play out of scrimmage, Gary Nova connected with Leonte Carroo for a 78-yard touchdown pass in which cornerback Tracy Clark got burned.

The Cougars’ first scoring opportunity came midway through the first quarter, after Rickey Galvin had a 52-yard reception from Halliday and the Cougars advanced to the Scarlet Knights’ 14-yard line on a face-mask penalty. Their fourth-down conversion on the 5-yard line failed, though.

On the ensuing drive, though, Tana Pritchard intercepted Nova and returned the ball nine yards to the Rutgers 2-yard line, setting up a 22-yard field goal by Erik Powell to cut the Cougars’ deficit to 7-3.

Pritchard also stopped Paul James for no gain on third-and-1 at Rutgers’ 39. The Scarlet Knights were penalized for a false start on fourth down.

James added a 1-yard touchdown run with 12:58 left in the half.

The Cougars scored their first touchdown of the game with 7:09 left, a 4-yard pass from Halliday to Isiah Myers.

James scored again, a 56-yard run, with just under five minutes left.

The Cougars closed out scoring for the half with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Halliday to Vince Mayle.

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