HALFTIME: Cougars lead in offensive shootout

IT WAS BILLED as an offensive shootout. And the first half did not disappoint as Cougars’ quarterback Connor Halliday completed 22 of 29 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns as Washington State took a 24-13 lead into halftime against California in the homecoming game at Martin Stadium.

After both teams were forced to punt on their first drive, the Cougars needed just one play to score on their second possession. Halliday fooled a Bears’ safety into thinking he was throwing over the middle and then found senior wide receiver Vince Mayle in single coverage outside. Mayle outraced the defender for a 90-yard touchdown that gave WSU a 7-0 lead with 9 minutes, 27 seconds, left in the first quarter.

The Cougars’ defense then responded by pinning California deep and giving their offense possession near midfield both times. But WSU only was able to take advantage of the first when Quentin Breshears made a 42-yard field goal.

The teams traded touchdowns to open the second quarter. Bears’ quarterback Jared Goff found Trevor Davis for a 27-yard touchdown and then Halliday responded with a nine-play drive that culminated with a 16-yard touchdown pass to senior Isiah Myers that extended the Cougars’ lead to 17-7.

It was just the beginning of a wild second quarter.

Halliday responded to another California score — a 31-yard field goal from James Langford — by leading WSU on an 8-play touchdown drive. Despite being held on the play, sophomore River Cracraft made an acrobatic 17-yard touchdown reception that extended the Cougars’ lead to 24-10 with 5:27 remaining in the first half.

Langford added a 26-yard field goal as the half expired.


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