Washington State vs Rutgers: Earning their Claws, Bruising their Paws

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Aug 28, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars wide receiver

Isiah Myers

(88) makes the touchdown grab against Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back

Justin Goodwin

(32) during the first half at Centurylink Field. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports


Connor Halliday

The top individual performance of the night was from the Cougar signal-caller, as Halliday bombarded the Rutgers secondary to the tune of 40-56, 532 yards and 5 touchdowns. The performance was not only gutty (fighting through some huge hits from Rutgers DL that left him limping noticeably multiple times), but after a year where he threw for 22 interceptions, he began this one by throwing a pick on the very first WSU drive. Instead of tank his was to three or four of them, Connor never made the mistake again, throwing the ball away when plays weren’t there to be made and leading his receivers away from trouble all night. He was very fun to watch and began what should be a memorable 2014 campaign in style. Let’s also not forget the leadership he showed late in the game when his team was on the ropes, running onto the field and urging his defense on. The team lost, but Halliday was brilliant and led them with poise all night long.

Vince Mayle/Isiah Myers/River Cracraft/Rickey Galvin

I had a difficult time choosing between these guys so I just chose all of them, because they exemplified everything this receiving corps is about and proved that it’s the deepest in the conference on Thursday night. The four-man combo went off for 30 catches, 387 yards and all 5 of the scores (each scored at least once), having their way time and time again in the RU secondary. All made incredible catches and all fought for yards when there were none to be had multiple times. Mayle in particular was a man against boys, catching everything thrown his way in a 12-catch, 124 yard, 1 TD outing that proved he is WSU’s top target. If only Cracraft could have come down with one more…

Erik Powell

The redshirt freshman walk-on gets the award this week because we had absolutely no idea what the Cougs had in their kicking game going into Thursday and we walked out with a more positive outlook than maybe we had previously. Powell banged through 5/5 extra points and a 22 yard field goal on the night and narrowly missed a 50-yarder off the upright to end the 1st half. On top of that, he was efficient on kickoffs, with all going to or near the goal line with decent hang-time to boot. I at least came out impressed and somewhat optimistic about our kicking game this season behind Powell.

Mitch Peterson

On a defense that struggled all night long, backup SAM linebacker Mitch Peterson was everywhere. Peterson actually started in wake of what appears to be a Cyrus Coen injury (Mike Leach doesn’t release injury information) and found himself in on a tackle 16 times. Not all of it was good, he was burned a couple times on crucial 3rd down plays in coverage and ultimately probably cost the Cougs in the speed and physicality dept. of the game. However in terms of pure heart and desire, Peterson led the defense on this night.