WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: Duck hunt comes up short

AT THE END OF THE NIGHT, despite the touchdowns, the improved defense, the seven sacks on Marcus Mariota, all the Cougars left Martin Stadium with was a moral victory. Still, the fact that Halliday & Co. were able to not only hang with, but almost beat, the No. 2 team in the country, got plenty of attention – the media and Twitter users had plenty to say about their 38-31 loss to Oregon.

Washington State and Oregon played one of the best games of the early 2014 college-football season here Saturday night. They traded blows toe-to-toe for 56 minutes before the Cougars finally flinched, and the second-ranked Ducks evacuated eastern Washington with a fragile 38-31 victory. Considering where these two programs have just come from, this was consummate moral-victory stuff, but that was clearly a path WSU coach Mike Leach wasn’t going down.
-- Bud Withers, The Seattle Times

There were less than a handful of plays in which Washington State didn’t play well enough to beat Oregon on Saturday night. A break here, a break there and the Cougars would be undefeated in the newly-renovated Martin Stadium and the Mike Leach regime would have a win that would resonate long after he finishes coaching.
-- Jacob Thorpe, The Spokesman-Review

The Cougars’ defense has room for development, as was displayed during the Ducks’ first three touchdown drives that lasted just a collective two minutes. But the infusion of talent from Leach recruits, such as Allison and Hameed, is obvious. It also is notable that Leach’s latest class did not include a junior-college transfer. In addition to Hameed, by CF.C’s count only cornerback Patrick Porter and wide receiver Calvin Green have played this season as true freshmen.
-- Chris Chancellor, Cougfan.com

The defense was porous, missing at least ten tackles in the first half and in one instance a lowly wide receiver ran over three Duck defenders. The defensive line managed to pressure Halladay only twice and time after time, there were no hands up in the air trying to get some pressure in Halladay’s face.
-- Ken Woody, The Register-Guard

For most of the way, Washington State's planned ambush of No. 2 Oregon followed a strange staccato rhythm that might eventually have played into the Cougars' hands. When the game turned into a shootout, the Oregon Ducks did the better shooting.
-- Dale Grummert, Lewiston Tribune

WSU played well throughout the night, arguably their best all-around play of the season in a game they entered as 24-point underdogs. The defensive line pressured Mariota all night, though his evasiveness often prevailed when it mattered most, and until the final possession the offensive line hadn’t given up a sack all night, which allowed Halliday to go through his reads and finish the game without an interception after throwing four last year against the Ducks.
-- Michael Shawn Dugar, Moscow-Pullman Daily News

And from the Twitter-sphere …

My nightmares will now include that no-call PI. I can't shake it. #GoCougs #StupidRefs #Pac12Fail
-- @KateKayJones

?Ya the missed penalty was bad, but the turnovers are killing this team. Before and after the half had a chance to get ahead. #GoCougs
-- @jstiebz

Been a long time since the Refs have had to beat us. Team looked fantastic and I'm stoked for our boys going forward #GoCougs #Pac12fail
-- @KesterBryant

@Coach_Leach, the coaching staff, and the football team, you made us proud tonight. We support you 100%. #GoCougs
-- @ESFloyd

So apparently you can tackle a wide receiver before the ball gets there. Cougs had a chance thanks refs! #sarcasm #GoCougs
-- @GlenBeebyNews

Just heard an Oregon duck fan call the cougs a "good" team! #GoCougs
-- @magnuson_c

I can't wait to play the rest of the PAC 12 if we play like that every time. #GoCougs
-- @heathturner92

An excruciating loss, but if the cougar team that showed up tonight played like that the rest of the season, we will go bowling #GoCougs
-- @Jeedf 41m

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