Halliday epic, WSU special teams an epic fail

WSU QUARTERBACK CONNOR HALLIDAY passed for an FBS record 734 yards in the loss to Cal. And he racked up, ho-hum, another six TDs on Saturday night. But some of the other numbers from the game were just as, if not more, compelling. Check it out in this edition of the Cougfan.com 2-minute drill.

First, though, the CF.C Player of the Game. And gee, this is sure a tough call. Who, of who, should it be …

It’s already mentioned in the lead paragraph but since no one has ever done it in the history of college football, it bears repeating. Connor Halliday threw for an FBS record 734 yards. And his six TD passes increased his total to 26 on the season.

Both marks lead the nation. And we’re only halfway through the 2014 season.

By the way, one very important contributing factor to Halliday’s night …

The Cougar o-line did not allow a sack all night.

The Cougar defense gave up 589 yards in total offense to Cal. Worse, after getting good pressure on Cal quarterback Jared Goff in the early stages of the game, Cal was able to pick up the blitzers and moved the ball seemingly at will.

Indeed, Cal never punted once in the second half -- all four of Cal’s boots came in the first 30 minutes, and three came in the first quarter.

Normally, River Cracraft’s 11-catch, three-touchdown, 172-yard night would be the big headline. But Vince Mayle matched his 11 receptions – and gained 263 receiving yards, a WSU program single-game record, and a TD. Isiah Myers had nine catches for 96 yards and 2 TDs.

Three of the four leading Cougar tacklers were defensive backs. Cornerback Charleston White was the Cougs’ co-leading tackler with 12 – all solo stops. Safety Taylor Taliulu also had 12 (nine solo) and Daquawn Brown had six stops. Linebacker Darryl Monroe also had six tackles.

Quentin Breshears drilled a 42-yard field goal in the first quarter that looked like it would have been good from 52. But what will be remember most about his night was the 19-yard miss that would have won the game. The snap looked low and the hold wasn’t perfect - but there were a lot of shoulda, woulda, coulda things about WSU’s special teams on the night, and on the season.

Incredibly, for the sixth straight week, WSU had a significant special teams gaffe. And on Saturday night, there were two -- Cal ripped off two back-to-back TD returns for 100- and 98-yards. But here’s something you probably wouldn’t have guessed:

The kickoff yardage, believe it or not, was relatively close. WSU had nine boots for 502 yards (55.8 avg.) Cal had 10 for 571 yards (57.1 avg.)

Cal generally runs the ball a lot more than they did Saturday night in Pullman. Coming into this game, Cal had run it 165 times, and attempted 140 passes. But Cal only rushed it 18 times (including sacks) for 62 net yards against WSU. The Cougars gained 78 net yards on 25 carries.

WSU ran 95 plays, Cal 71.

WSU had 12 penalties for 121 yards.

Each team scored 28 points in the third quarter. Cal outscored WSU 19-7 in the fourth.

For the first time in recent memory, Halliday had positive rushing yards. Usually, Halliday’s yards are of the negative variety and come in the way of sacks. On Saturday, Halliday had three rushes for 17 net yards.

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