HALFTIME: Cougs D giving Oregon fits

Some of the most entertaining games in Washington State football history have come against Oregon. If Saturday night's first half is an indication, add this one to the resume. Washington State and Oregon are tied 21-21, as the Cougars' defense has five sacks and senior quarterback Connor Halliday has completed 27 of 41 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns.

WSU scored first when Connor Halliday hit Dom Williams with an 18-yard touchdown pass seven minutes into the first quarter. Halliday completed three passes that went at least 14 yards to a trio of receivers during the drive.

On their next drive, the Cougars again drove into the red zone, but Quentin Breshears clanked a 29-yard field goal try off the left upright.

That gaffe marked a brief momentum shift, as Oregon needed just one play — an 80-yard pass from Marcus Mariota to Devon Allen — to tie the game with 3:38 remaining in the first quarter.

Washington State responded with a seven-play drive, culminating when Halliday lofted an 8-yard touchdown pass toRiver Cracraft on fourth-and-2. The Cougars reached the red zone for a third time during the quarter when a 37-yard pass from Halliday to Cracraft put the ball on the Ducks' 16.

WSU’s defense, which held Oregon to minus-12 rushing yards during the first quarter, proved vulnerable to explosive plays. After holding the Ducks to a three-and-out to open the second quarter, Oregon needed just three plays to score on its next possession when Mariota hit Keanon Lowe in stride for a 57-yard touchdown with 12:57 left remaining the half.

After WSU came up short after gambling on fourth-and-11 at the Ducks' 31, Oregon took advantage. The Ducks needed just three plays to make the Cougars pay, as Mariota ran 41 yards to the WSU 28. Two plays later, Mariota threw a 13-yard touchdown pas to Allen, giving the Ducks their first lead at 21-14 with 8:05 left in the half.

The Cougars escaped their lone first-half turnover, a fumbled punt return when Galvin ran into a teammate, as they sacked Mariota twice on the Ducks’ final drive.

Washington State tied the game with 3:47 left in the first half when Halliday capped a 12-play, 74-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Galvin.

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