WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: Cougars refuse to lose

IT WAS THE GAME that Washington State wasn’t supposed to win – and one that had even the most steadfast crimson loyalists less than enthused. But despite being 10-point underdogs against an undefeated team – on the road, no less – the Cougars pulled out a stunning win in rainy Salt Lake City. And the media and Twitter-verse had plenty to say about the win against Utah.

Out of this dark abyss, the Cougars kept digging, until, against all odds, they produced one of the most memorable stunners in WSU history, shocking Utah 28-27.
-- Bud Withers, The Seattle Times

Washington State’s Conner Halliday, who led the NCAA is passing yards coming into the game, looked like he was throwing a medicine ball early on. Yeah, it was raining, but it rains in Washington, too. I know, I’ve been there. I was thinking, “Is that really his throwing motion?”
--Darnell Dickson Daily Herald

Desperation is a powerful force, and Washington State entered the game as a desperate team: 1-3, with close losses to Rutgers and Oregon among their disappointments. They had experienced the lows already, so even when it seemed like nature itself was against them - like when a ball slipped out of Halliday’s hand for no apparent reason in the second half - they didn’t give up.
-- Kyle Goon, The Salt Lake Tribune

This is where the book on Leach becomes intriguing. At Texas Tech, Leach was known for his dominance at Jones AT&T Stadium. But at WSU — at least during the last two seasons — his teams have shown resilience on the road. Last year, the Cougars withstood late surges by USC and Arizona that sandwiched a blowout victory at California.
-- Chris Chancellor, Cougfan.com

Losses to Rutgers and Nevada and even the first quarter on Saturday show that the team still struggles to play to its potential in every game and translate its successes from one game to the next. But for the defense to clamp down and give up just one opposing touchdown despite being placed in an almost untenable situation through little fault of its own, for Halliday to respond to tough weather and early mistakes with a series of big, back-breaking completions, well that’s new.
-- Jacob Thorpe, The Spokesman-Review

Five minutes. That is all the game time the Washington State football team had to defend a lead when the Cougars visited Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday night. The rest of the time, they were either digging a big hole or working to claw back out of it.
-- Sarah Thomas, Deseret News

Offense, defense, the special-team corps - each of them made a whopping rainstorm blunder in the first 10 minutes, putting Washington State behind by three touchdowns. And the Cougars showed the same all-for-one mentality in slowly climbing their way back.
-- The Lewiston Morning Tribune

After the loss, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham was quick to point out the positives in the game, but he couldn’t explain how the Utes’ offense failed to make plays in the second half.
Talon Chappell, Daily Utah Chronicle

Give credit to Washington State, which could have folded its tents and started thinking about going home when everything was going against them early. But Leach’s crew is made of pretty tough stuff.
Darnell Dickson Daily Herald

Halliday became Washington State’s all-time leader in completions (861) and touchdowns (78) … Washington State, which lost to Rutgers, Nevada and No. 4 Oregon, recorded 27 first downs and had 495 yards of total offense.
-Reuters

The game changed after the Utes went up by three touchdowns, when Washington State head coach Mike Leach called timeout and addressed his whole team. Whatever he said, they took to heart.
Matthew Piper The Salt Lake Tribune

If his latest offensive coordinator, Dave Christensen, can manufacture only 357 yards and 13 offensive points against Washington State’s defense, that’s not much supporting evidence for Whittingham.
Kurt Kragthorpe The Salt Lake Tribune

Even though they don’t play this year, it’s easy to see BYU and Utah have something in common: Neither team can put an opponent away.
Darnell Dickson Daily Herald

The Utes converted one fourth down on a Devontae Booker run, but Charleston White broke up a long pass to give the ball back to the Cougars…The Cougars punted after consuming just 1:04. Again, White broke up a fourth-down pass.
Associated Press

The Cougars showed some major guts on the road and picked up a win that many thought wouldn't happen (especially with Utah leading by 17 at the half).
Chantel Jennings, ESPN

But finally, the parts congealed for the Cougars. Apart from Booker’s run, the defense played well all night; the Utes had only 357 yards.
Bud Withers

And from the Twitter-verse …

Congrats on the TD record @c_halliday12 ..more importantly incredible perseverance last night. Huge win, keep it up! #GoCougs
-- @AlexBrink10

He may not have had a TD tonight but River Cracraft could be considered the hero for his huge 3rd down catches. #Clutch #GoCougs
-- @JB_GoCougs

Is it almost time to toss Connor Halliday in the Heisman conversation? The guy has serious #huevos #GoCougs
-- @wazzucougarx

What I learned from the @WSUCougars win: Never give up, play your game.. And @Vince_Mayle is a GROWN. MAN. #GoCougs
-- @MelissaKXLY4

We are so back. The comeback tonight showed what Oregon did to this team. That was our game to win. 8-4. Mark it down. Sun Bowl. #GoCougs
-- @NickkkJames

Them boys thought they had us lol #GoCougs" We just had to spot em 21 to make it legit.
-- @dmJR_13

Congrats to @c_halliday12 for getting "back to zero" multiple times tonight and for enduring impossible conditions. Great win! #GoCougs
-- @Coug-A-Sutra

Mike Leach coached teams are never out of a game. #GoCougs
-- @BrandonBerg

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