5 takeaways from WSU win over Portland State

IN THE BLUR of 59 points and a record for total yards, Washington State's win over Portland State on Saturday may come across on paper like a one-dimensional story. A closer looks shows that it wasn't.

Here are five less-obvious takeaways from WSU's first home game of the season ...


By letting Portland State open the second half with 14-straight points, Mike Leach was forced to keep his starters in the game far longer than the first half would have indicated they'd be in. By not closing the door on the Vikings to open the third quarter, the Cougars prevented their guys down the depth chart from gaining invaluable real-game experience. The most obvious was quarterback Luke Falk. He was in long enough to attempt just two passes. His 84-yard TD strike to Dom Williams was one to remember, but he should have had more opportunities given the way the Cougars were mauling the Vikes in the first half.


The junior linebacker (pictured above) looks like he may be hitting his stride. He didn't start, but he seemed -- like he did in the spring game last April -- to be all over the field when he was in there. Part of that impression may stem from the fact two of his three tackles on the night were for losses. Speaking of tackling, fellow linebacker Cyrus Coen posted a team-leading 12 on Saturday, including a sack. He was so good that Mike Leach basically said after the game that it would take a bulldozer to get him out of the starting lineup.


Oregon will obviously pose a stiffer test, but for the second straight week Cougar cornerback Daquawn Brown looked like a guy who we may be talking about years from now the way Cougar fans remember Jason David and Marcus Trufant today. Brown hit double-digit tackles, with 10, against PSU and also posted 5 pass breakups. Last week against Nevada he had 13 total tackles and one pass breakup. Like David, Brown also appears to have no trouble talking trash. The one blemish on his ledger from the win: a bit too much celebrating following a hard hit that came after the Viking player had just gained nine yards on first-and-ten.


Halliday threw for a mountain of yards and touchdowns and really threaded some throws, looking like the No. 1 passer in the nation that he is. But he also tossed two INTs and threw some other balls that were way off target or into traffic. One pass actually captured both sides of him. It was a screen to Dom Williams that looked like all kinds of trouble. Williams was basically surrounded at the line scrimmage but Halliday fired a bullet into a very tiny window where it couldn't be deflected or picked off. Williams made the catch and was dropped immediately. It was a high risk/low reward type of pass that the Cougars won't be able to afford against Oregon, but the fact Halliday completed the pass shows what kind of arm he possesses.


The new bricks ringing the sidelines at Martin Stadium look spectacular on TV. They provide a backdrop from certain camera angles that make Martin look like one of the classic stadiums from the Big Ten or East Coast rather than a facility built in 1972. Complaints that WSU shouldn't have put advertisements on parts of the brick seem strange because 1) the bricks still look great, and 2) WSU needs to raise revenue to offset the fact its alums donate far less to athletics than most of the rest of the Pac-12. Speaking of advertisements, the new ribbon boards at the top of the stadium also look really cool.

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