Washington State Football: Looking At The Positives And Negatives

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We have all had a few days since Washington State dropped a much-needed game against Rutgers. I have taken these past few days and re-watched the game to take a more in-depth look at what the Cougars have going for them and some of the bigger negatives.

Positive

Connor Halliday had one of the best performances I have seen from him minus a few plays, but nobody is perfect. Lets take a look at his stats: 40-56, 532 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 1 interception.

How many times have we seen Halliday throw for 500+ yards? This is his 3rd time doing so. Last season he had two, one against California (521 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception) and one against Oregon (557 yards, 4 touchdowns, 4 interceptions). To expand on that category I will add the games he almost got to 500 yards; Arizona State in 2011 he had 494 yards 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions on 27 of 36 passing, and last year when he had 488 yards against Utah where he also threw for 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.

Halliday had a stellar performance and had 10 different receivers catch a pass with 8 of those 10 having more than 10 yards. He had the ability to spread the ball out and hit receivers whenever he wanted to. On top of being able to put the ball wherever he wanted to, he was given time in the pocket which was something we struggled to see last year. With 3 of the 5 offensive lineman being new Halliday was only sacked 3 times on the whole game. Yes, it would be nice to see even that number down but you can’t complain with only having 2 returning lineman.

Aug 28, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Connor Halliday (12) drops back for a pass before a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Centurylink Field. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

One drive that really stuck out to me was the drive at the end of the second quarter. with 24 seconds left Halliday was given the ball at the WSU 10 yard line. Halliday gets a 29 yard completion to Kristoff Williams, time out, Halliday has a 1 yard run to bring the ball to the WSU 40, Halliday finds Morrow for a 12 yard gain – ball on RU 48, penalty on the play takes the ball to the RU 33. With just enough time to kick the ball the coaches call on Erik Powell to kick a 50 yard field goal. Powell has the distance but drills it off the right upright and the half ends.

The drive didn’t stick out to me because of a score, but the drive stuck out because Halliday was able to take the team 57 yards in about 20 seconds. This shows that the Cougars have the ability to score quickly, they can move the ball down the field in just 3 plays. Granted there was a flag, but it still counts. Give him another 10-15 seconds and they would have scored.

Taking a look at some of the other drives the Cougars scored on drives of 4, 5, 7, and 6, plays. They have shown us that they can score and move the ball quickly it only needs to happen more often for the Cougars.

Vince Mayle had himself a game as well after having 12 receptions for 124 yards and 1 touchdown, both of which are career highs for him. Isiah Myers had 6 receptions for 94 yards which is close to his career highs in both categories. 5 Cougar receivers had over 50 yards receiving.

Backup SAM back Mitchell Peterson had a decently good game after getting 16 tackles and leading the team although he got burned and misses a few big plays. Peterson ended up starting over Cyrus Coen for some reason but proved that he is able to come in and play if Coen is unable to in the future. It was unknown as to why Coen sat.

The special teams will be on both sides of this post. Powell showed everyone that he has the leg strength to kick a big field goal. After drilling the upright from 50 yards out and most of his kicks ended up at the goal line he showed that he has power that will come in handy in the future.

Continue on to the next page for some negatives

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Tags: Football Washington State Cougars

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