WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: Emerald City Pity Party

IT WAS DESCRIBED as a thrill ride, a see-saw affair and flat-out wild. But in the end, Washington State’s season opener in Seattle was another mark in the loss category. The defensive miscues and a special-teams gaffe that negated all the good work Connor Halliday did in the season opener did not go unnoticed by scribes near and far.

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Here’s how the media weighed in.

Here Cougar fandom has what it’s yearned for after one of the most inglorious slogs in the school’s football history – a competitive, flawed-but-mostly-fun football team, fresh off that first-in-a-decade bowl appearance, debacle or no. The welcome-home party is then attended by 10,000 fewer fans than showed up in a hurricane one year ago.
– John Blanchette, Spokesman-Review

And yes, the Cougars could have driven for a game-winning touchdown. But if WSU is going to perform better than its historical narrative — a team that scores points in bunches, but surrenders more — it needs much more out of its defense. For all of the discussion about youth, the Cougars’ front seven starters are juniors and seniors.
– Chris Chancellor, Cougfan.com

The 30,927 in a half-full CenturyLink Field saw a vintage performance from one of Washington State's most productive quarterbacks. Connor Halliday's third career 500-yard passing game had WSU in position to win. They also nearly saw a classic Cougar collapse.
– Micah Rice, The Columbian

It was a wildly entertaining game that presages a wildly entertaining season for the Cougars. But this is a program that needs more than flashy plays, and so the result – not decided until a Halliday pass to River Cracraft in heavy traffic fell off his fingertips in the final seconds – was devastating.
– Larry Stone, The Seattle Times

Mike Leach wants to change the culture around the football team at Washington State. The necessity to do so was evident Thursday night. The Cougars lost a wild 41-38 contest to Rutgers, a game that seemed to be in Washington State's grasp until the Scarlet Knights recovered a fumbled punt return and put together the game-winning drive in the final minutes.
– Josh Liebeskind, Associated Press

Washington State, which trailed 14-3, scored touchdowns on four of five possessions overlapping the two halves as Halliday began identifying mismatches in the scheme and Rutgers' missed tackles began mounting. The only exception was a missed 50-yard field goal off the upright on the final play of the half.
– Ryan Dunleavy, USA Today Sports

Rutgers went three-and-out on its next drive and was lucky to get to the locker room holding its 21-17 lead. Washington State got the ball back with 24 seconds left and Halliday immediately completed a 29-yard pass.
– Dan Duggan, NJ.com

Rutgers scored with 3:24 left, and it was hardly out of the question for WSU in this back-and-forth game to drive the length of the field, win the thing and rescue the night. It wasn’t to be.
– Bud Withers, The Seattle Times Washington State’s front seven was supposed to be the strength of the defense, but... as a team Rutgers averaged five yards per rush on 43 carries.
– Jacob Thorpe, Spokesman-Review

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