2014 Wazzu's Falk Throws For 601 In Loss

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 22, 2014


Washington State Cougars 2014 ... Head Coach: Mike Leach

2014 Washington State Cougars

2014 Schedule
Record: 3-8

Aug. 28 Rutgers (Seattle), L 41-38
Sep. 5 at Nevada L 24-13
Sep. 13 Portland St W 59-21
Sep. 20 Oregon L 38-31
Sep. 27 at Utah W 28-27
Oct. 4 California L 60-59
Oct. 10 at Stanford L 34-17
Oct. 18 OPEN DATE
Oct. 25 Arizona L 59-37
Nov. 1 USC L 44-17
Nov. 8 at Oregon State W 39-32
Nov. 15 OPEN DATE
Nov. 22 at Arizona State L 52-31
Nov. 29 Washington
Nov. 22 at Arizona State 52, Washington State 31
And You Care Because … It took a little while, but Arizona State finally busted through in the second half. Washington State stayed in the game on two Luke Faulk touchdown passes and a one-yard run, but D.J. Foster ran for a 17-yard score and Taylor Kelly threw two touchdown passes to keep pace in the first half. The floodgates opened in the second half on two Foster touchdown runs and two more Kelly touchdown passes on the way to a 52-24 lead. Cameron Smith caught scoring passes from 42 and five yards out.
What Else? Turnovers: Washington State 5 – Arizona State 0
- Washington State QB Luke Falk completed 45-of-74 passes for 601 yards and three scores with four picks
- Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly completed 15-of-25 passes for 232 yards and four scores
- Washington State WR Vince Mayle caught 15 passes for 252 yards
Game Rating: C

Nov. 8 Washington State 39, at Oregon State 32
And You Care Because … Washington State’s Luke Falk threw five touchdown passes to five different receivers including passes to Dom Williams from 18 yards out and Robert Lewis on a nine-yard play to get up 14 late. Oregon State’s Terron Ward ran for two one-yard scores, with his second coming with three minutes to play, but that was as close as the Beavers would get. Oregon State started out with a 10-0 lead, but Falk threw three touchdown passes in a 15 minute span in the first half to give the Cougars control.
What Else? Washington State QB Luke Falk completed 44-of-61 passes for 471 yards and five touchdowns
- Oregon State QB Sean Mannion completed 31-of-41 passes for 419 yards and a score
- Washington State WR Vince Mayle caught six passes for 143 yards and a touchdown, and Tyler Baker caught nine passes for 113 yards and a score
- Penalties: Oregon State 10 for 100 yards – Washington State 5 for 51 yards
Game Rating: B

Nov. 1 USC 44, at Washington State 17
And You Care Because … USC rolled scoring the first 24 points of the game as JuJu Smith made two 22-yard touchdown catches, and Nelson Agholor began his huge day with a 65-yard punt return for a score. Washington State suffered more than on the scoreboard, losing QB Connor Halliday to a broken leg. Luke Falk threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Robert Lewis, but USC exploded with Agholor catching an 87-yard touchdown pass and Smith adding a seven-yard scoring catch.
What Else? USC WR Nelson Agholor caught eight passes for 220 yards and a score, and returned two punts for 71 yards and a score
- Washington State QB Luke Falk completed 38-of-57 passes for 370 yards and two touchdowns with an interception
- USC QB Cody Kessler completed 21-of-32 passes for 400 yards and five touchdowns
- Time of possession: Washington State 36:30 – USC 23:30
Game Rating: C-

Oct. 25 Arizona 59, at Washington State 37
And You Care Because … Arizona exploded with 31 straight points to start the game with DaVonte Neal returning a punt 81 yards for a touchdown and scoring on a two-yard touchdown catch, the first of three Anu Solomon scoring passes in the first half. Washington State came back with two Connor Halliday touchdown passes and a Quentin Breshears field goal to make it 31-16, but it was all Wildcats in the third quarter on two more Solomon touchdown passes and a two-yard Nick Wilson scoring run.
What Else? Arizona QB Anu Solomon completed 26-of-38 passes for 294 yards and five touchdowns, and he ran nine times for 31 yards
- Washington State QB Connor Halliday completed 56-of-79 passes for 489 yards and four touchdowns with two picks
- Washington State WR Vince Mayle caught 14 passes for 145 yards and a touchdowns, and Isiah Myers caught six passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns
- Penalties: Washington State 11 for 85 yards – Arizona 8 for 89 yards
Game Rating: C

Oct. 10 at Stanford 34, Washington State 17
And You Care Because … Kevin Hogan threw three touchdowns passes and Remound Wright and Barry Sanders paced the ground game as Stanford got up early but had to fight to put the Cougars away. Hogan found tight end Eric Cotton for a 39-yard score, and hit Greg Taboada for touchdown passes from three and four yards away for a 24-10 lead going into the fourth. Washington State pulled close with a three-yard River Cracraft touchdown catch, but the Cardinal scored ten unanswered points with Wright closing things out with a six-yard score.
What Else? Stanford QB Kevin Hogan completed 23-of-35 passes for 284 yards and three scores
- Washington State QB Connor Halliday completed 44-of-71 passes for 303 yards and two scores with a pick. River Cracraft caught 15 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown
- Stanford outgained Wazzu 193 yards to -38 on the ground
- Penalties; Washington State 10 for 74 yards – Stanford 9 for 80 yards
Game Rating: C+

Oct. 4 Cal 60, at Washington State 59
And You Care Because … In a record-setting day, it came down to a 19-yard field goal, and Washington State’s Quentin Breshears missed it to give Cal the wild win. Wazzu’s Connor Halliday set an FBS record with 734 yards with River Cracraft catching three touchdown passes and Vince Mayle rolling up 263 yards, but it wasn’t enough as Cal’s Jared Goff threw five touchdown passes including two to Bryce Treggs and two to Trevor Davis, who also returned two kickoffs for scores in the third quarter to answer Cougar scores. But Halliday always had a response, coming right back after the returns with drives ending in touchdown passes. Goff and Treggs hooked up twice in the fourth quarter to take the two point lead, but the Cougars answered again with Gerard Wicks’ second touchdown run of the game to go up five. Cal needed just over a minute to go on its game-winning drive.
What Else? Cal QB Jared Goff completed 37-of-53 passes for 527 yards and five touchdowns
- Washington State QB Connor Halliday completed 49-of-70 passes for 734 yards and six touchdowns
- Washington State WR Vince Mayle caught 11 passes for 263 yards and a touchdowns, and River Cracraft caught 11 passes for 172 yards and three scores
- The two teams combined for 20 penalties and passing 1,261 yards. Washington State finished with 812 yards of total offense, Cal 589.
Game Rating: A

Sept. 27 Washington State 28, at Utah 27
And You Care Because … Down 21-0 in the first quarter and 24-7 in the second half, Washington State fought through the rain and the Utah D to get four touchdown passes from Connor Halliday including two to Dom Williams from 35 and 20 yards out and two more strikes to Vince Mayle from 11 and 81 yards out, with the latter coming with just under five minutes to play. The Cougar defense held on as Utah managed just two Andy Phillips field goals after the first quarter. Devontae Booker ran for a 76-yard touchdown, Eric Rowe took a Halliday interception 11 yards for a score, and Kaelin Clay returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown, but the Utah offense couldn’t keep up.
What Else? Washington State QB Connor Halliday completed 39-of-61 passes for 417 yards and four touchdowns with two picks
- Utah RB Devontae Booker ran 24 times for 178 yards and a touchdown
- Washington State WR Ricer Cracraft caught nine passes for 126 yards and Vince Mayle caught eight passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns
- Utah QB Travis Wilson completed 18-of-38 passes for 165 yards
Game Rating: B

Sept. 20 Oregon 38, at Washington State 31
And You Care Because … The two teams got into a nip-and-tuck dogfight, but Oregon survived after taking the lead for good with a six-yard Keanon Lowe touchdown pass with 5:33 to play. Washington State had another shot, but couldn’t move the ball, and the Ducks held on. Marcus Mariota threw five touchdown passes with two to Devon Allen – highlighted by an 80-yarder - and two to Lowe, but Wazzu kept up the pace with Connor Halliday throwing for four scores with first quarter throws to Dom Williams from 18 and eight yards away.
What Else? Oregon QB Marcus Mariota completed 21-of-25 passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns and ran 13 times for 58 yards
- Washington State QB Connor Halliday completed 43-of-63 passes for 436 yards and four touchdowns
- Oregon WR Devon Allen caught seven passes for 142 yards and two scores, and Keanon Lowe caught five passes for 104 yards and two scores
- Total yards: Oregon 501 – Washington State 499
Game Rating: A

Sept. 13 at Washington State 59, Portland State 21
And You Care Because … Wazzu rolled 28 first half points helped by three Connor Halliday touchdown passes, and then roared back after two Portland State touchdown passes. Halliday found Isiah Myers for touchdown passes from eight and four yards out, and put the game well out of reach with a third hookup on a 55-yard scoring play. Portland State got a 42-yard pick six from Patrick Onwuasor, but the Cougars scored 17 unanswered points finishing with 630 passing yards as a team.
What Else? Washington State QB Connor Halliday completed 41-of-62 passes for 544 yards and six scores with two picks.
- Wazzu WR Isiah Myers caught 11 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns
- Total yards: Washington State 706 – Portland State 362
Game Rating: B-

Sept. 5 at Nevada, 24, Washington State 13
And You Care Because … Don Jackson ran for two short scores, with the first one set up by a 45-yard interception return by Kendall Jackson, and James Butler added a rushing score as Nevada got by the high-powered Cougars. Wazzu was heled to just 13 points and one touchdown on a 13-yard Vince Mayle catch. The Wolf Pack never trailed, getting up 14-0 and breaking away from a 14-10 lead in the fourth quarter, put away by a 40-yard Brent Zuzo field goal.
What Else? Highlighted by an impressive 55-yard dash, Nevada’s Cody Fajardo led the way with 100 yards on 16 carries, and completed 12-of-21 passes for 110 yards.
- Washington State’s Connor Halliday completed 38-of-57 passes for 389 yards and a touchdown with two sacks.
- How did Nevada keep the Cougar offense under wraps? Pass rush. Nevada got to Halliday for four sacks and came up with constant pressure behind the line.
- Missed field goals were a big problem for the Cougars. Erik Powell hit a 25-yarder, but missed third quarter shots from 37 and 38 yards away. If he hits those, Wazzu has the lead.
Game Rating: C

Aug. 28 Rutgers 41, Washington State 38
And You Care Because … Rutgers’ power overcame the Washington State flash as Paul James ran for three touchdowns including a three-yard score with just over three minutes to play to cap off a 17-point fourth quarter, and then it was up to the defense to come up with one final stop – it did. Rutgers started off the season with a 78-yard touchdown catch from Leonte Carroo on the first play from scrimmage, but Connor Halliday and Wazzu bombed away for 532 yards and five touchdown passes. The Cougars had control of the game, but a fumbled punt gave Rutgers new life late leading to the final James score from three yards out.
What Else? Connor Halliday was terrific, completing 40-of-56 passes for 532 yards and five touchdowns with a pick, and Vince Mayle caught 12 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown, but Rutgers applied pressure in key spots. Halliday was only sacked three times, but he was beaten up.
- The Scarlet Knight combination of Kemoko Turay and Steve Longa were all over the place and popped Halliday time and again. Turay came up with two sacks.
- Rushing yards: Rutgers 215, Washington State 6. Paul James ran for 173 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries.
- This was a great moment for the Big Ten. Rutgers few to the opposite side of the country and powered its way to a win that’ll be a decent feature in its new conference’s cap. It was a gut-check game needing to come up with some key plays late, and it did.
Game Rating: A

2014 Washington State Preview

At long last, there’s optimism in Pullman at the beginning of a season.

In just his campaign season at Wazzu, head coach Mike Leach led the program to six regular season wins and its first bowl appearance in a full decade. It’s a promising start for a team that endured so much adversity in recent years. Leach has the Cougars well ahead of schedule and eager to become even more competitive in the league in 2014. The toughest part of the reclamation project is almost done, getting a beleaguered bunch of kids to believe they can compete in the Pac-12.

The 2013 season served as the ground floor on which Leach can build bigger and better things on the Palouse. The Cougars weren’t merely bowl-eligible a year ago. They were genuinely competitive on a Pac-12 level, which hasn’t happened in a very long time. From perennial doormats not long ago, Wazzu stunned USC at the Coliseum, routed Cal and added November victories over Arizona and Utah. Yeah, blowing a seemingly insurmountable lead to Colorado State in the New Mexico Bowl stung. But it couldn’t erase the progress the team made during the regular season.

This year, Leach is welcoming back QB Connor Halliday and just about every back and wide receiver who touched the ball in the passing game a season ago. And since success on this campus is tied so tightly to the performance of the Air Raid passing attack, there’s a strong sense that the Cougars will be every bit as dangerous as they were in 2013.

Washington State will fill the air with spirals, breaking school records in the process. Leach wouldn’t have it any other way. The development of the rest of the team, though, will dictate the Cougars’ fate in 2014. On offense, the line is getting a major facelift. The defense is essentially starting over in the secondary, the biggest worry for a D that’s already compromised. Coordinator Mike Breske will continue attacking the ball, even if it exposes the unit to big plays on the ground and over the top.

With Leach calling the shots, Washington State has come a long way in a very short period of time. The players have changed, from the way they practice to the way they perform on Saturdays. The coach and his Cougars now plan to forge ahead by making Pac-12 competitiveness and a December bonus game into perennial expectations in Pullman.

What to watch for on offense: The machinations up front. You want to slow down QB Connor Halliday? Get in his face, because he’s prone to making poor decisions with the ball. The job of protecting Halliday belongs to an O-line that lost three starters, and is starting from scratch on the right side. All eyes will be on junior Jacob Seydel and redshirt freshman Cole Madison, who’re vying for their first starting jobs. So chaotic is the situation in the trenches that even the returning starters, Gunnar Eklund and Joe Dahl, have switched positions.

What to watch for on defense: The new faces of a troubled secondary. First-Team All-Pac-12 S Deone Bucannon has graduated. So have starters Damante Hornton and Nolan Washington. The Cougars’ best returning defensive back, CB Daquawn Brown, was managing legal problems before things got cleared up in mid-May. Wazzu is unsettled on the last level of the D, creating key opportunities for up-and-comers, like sophomore SS Isaac Dotson and untested freshmen cornerbacks Marcellus Pippins and Charleston White.

The team will be far better if… it stops being so careless with the ball. The Cougars were second in Pac-12 takeaways, yet were No. 10 in the league in turnover margin. The explanation? Connor Halliday threw more interceptions than any other FBS quarterback, and Wazzu lost 11 fumbles. This program can ill-afford to waste the big plays that are created by the defense. Yeah, protecting the ball will have to be a collaborative effort, but it’s one that must be initiated by Halliday.

The Schedule: The Cougars will know where they stand and if they've improved right away with two interesting non-conference games to kick things off. Rutgers is now a Big Ten team, but that shouldn't matter too much considering the Scarlet Knight secondary was such a disaster last season and needs a lot of work. Nevada is dangerous on the road the week after. Getting Portland State is a bit of a breather and a break before diving head first into the Pac-12 slate with a huge showdown with Oregon in Pullman.

Getting USC and Arizona State from the South stinks, but there's no UCLA to deal with and going to Utah isn't all that bad. Going to Stanford will be rough, and a two-game road stretch against Oregon State and Arizona State late won't be fun, but the Apple Cup against Washington is at home along with the dates with USC and Arizona. If the Cougars can own the home advantage, it should be a great season.

Best offensive player: Senior QB Connor Halliday. Halliday is an imperfect quarterback. But as the triggerman of Mike Leach’s Air Raid attack, he’s no less than the most important player in Pullman. Halliday has gotten gradually better with each year in the pass-happy system, culminating in a record-setting 2013 campaign. When he’s good, he’s the prototypical gunslinger, scattering the ball to his eclectic and deep collection of hands. While the Cougars lost the New Mexico Bowl to Colorado State, Halliday played one of the best games of his career with six touchdowns and 410 yards through the air.

Best defensive player: Junior DT Xavier Cooper. Cooper is the one Cougar defender who can consistently move the line of scrimmage, even when commanding double-teams. He is not the garden-variety Wazzu lineman that gets bullied around the field. On the contrary, Cooper is an asset to the seven teammates behind him. The two-year starter gets a push and collapses pockets, limiting the time quarterbacks get to check down receivers. After being overlooked by All-Pac-12 voters in 2013, Cooper will play with a chip on his shoulder this fall.

Key player to a successful season: Halliday. Last year’s gaudy, system-based numbers sort of obscured the reality that Halliday has to be a more efficient quarterback for the Cougars. Yes, he was third nationally in yards per game. But he was also first in interceptions, 91st in yards per attempt and 78th in passer rating. If Washington State is going to take another step forward, it’s up to Halliday to bring more efficiency and consistency to the Air Raid offense.

The season will be a success if ... Washington State returns to the postseason. Last season was all about breaking through. This season is about proving that the program is here to stay. Leach and the Cougars can ill-afford any kind of regression, which would come in the form of a losing season that ends on Nov. 29. Wazzu wants to make a statement to its fan base and prospective recruits that bowl games are becoming the norm in Pullman.

Key game: Nov. 29 vs. Washington. Leach split his first two games with Steve Sarkisian. Now he turns his attention to getting an edge on Chris Petersen, the new man in charge in Seattle. Obviously, it’s the annual Apple Cup, so the stakes and the intensity need no additional storylines. It’s also a chance for Washington State to send a message to West Coast recruits that the Palouse is a viable option, especially for skill position players looking to become a part of a wide-open offense.

2013 Fun Stats:
- Rushing yards per game: Washington State 53.4 – Opponents 187.4
- Passing yards per game: Washington State 368.0 – Opponents 270.8
- Takeaways: Washington State 30 - Opponents 35

- 2014 Washington State Preview - What You Need To Know & Top Players  


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