Oregon is so ridiculously efficient, we saw it again last night. An explosion of 62 points by one team normally signals a complete and utter collapse by the opponent, but I don’t think that was the case last night.
Were the Cougs out of position too often on defense?
Yes, and they missed too many tackles on top of it.
Were there too many big plays missed on offense?
Yes, the same culprits, a few bad decisions by Connor Halliday, missed blocking assignments, dropped balls.
But the Cougs did not let Oregon define who they are, they just aren’t as good yet and that’s ok. I think Cougar nation is being far too hard on certain performers on this team.
Take Halliday for instance. 58 for 89 (both FBS records) for 557 yards (WSU record), 4 touchdowns, 4 interceptions. Yes, he made some bad decisions, but people forget he’s just trying to make plays and the Cougs were down by 20 before he started trying to make them. He played great and had the Cougs within 10 at halftime, a half that had seen WSU down 27-7 early in the 2nd quarter.
It’s not Halliday’s fault that Vince Mayle fumbled inside the one and then fell down on a route that should’ve had a chance to score on the ensuing possession. And you have to remember that in order to even get enough plays off against Oregon to set FBS records you have to be efficient in your play.
Halliday led WSU to 35 first downs in the game. Against 90% of the rest of the country, that number wins you the football game. 38 points against this Oregon team might be the most they give up all season. That’s a significant number.
Gabe Marks had a huge day as well, catching a (47 year old) WSU record 13 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. River Cracraft scored his first college touchdown. Overall five Cougs caught at least five passes and Dom Williams and Bobby Ratliff also caught scores. Despite Mayle’s fumble and stumble, he caught himself a career high seven passes for 79 yards.
Defense was also in on the big performances. Xavier Cooper (3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks) forced a fumble and recovered another to scoop and score from 29 yards on the ensuing Ducks possession. Deone Bucannon was again all over the field and made several tackles, including a strip of Byron Marshall late in the first half.
There’s more than meets the eye here, folks.