WSU vs. Idaho final score: Cougars handle Vandals, 42-0

William Mancebo

The defense pitches its first shutout since 2003, but the offense shows it still has a lot of work to do.

The WSU Cougars had little trouble with the Idaho Vandals in the Battle of the Palouse as they sent their opponents back to Moscow with a 42-0 loss.

For the second consecutive week, the Cougs simply overwhelmed an overmatched opponent. But also for the second consecutive week, there remains much for WSU to work on if it wants to make a serious run at a bowl appearance. The defense was dominant, earning its first shutout since 2003 (also against Idaho), but four turnovers by the offense -- including two more interceptions by quarterback Connor Halliday -- kept the score from getting truly out of hand.

On its face, Halliday's final line of 31-for-43 (72 percent), 346 yards and four touchdowns doesn't look terrible, even with the two interceptions factored in. But coming off a fairly clinical performance against Southern Utah, there were many more questionable decisions today as well as some sloppy mechanics that led to many of those incomplete or intercepted throws. For fans who still questioned whether Halliday should be the starter, tonight did nothing to quell those sentiments with a tough opponent in Stanford coming up.

The defense was a different story. Idaho was unable to get much of anything going until the backups entered the game in the fourth quarter. Twice WSU put their starters back in to preserve the shutout, and a missed field goal by Idaho and a stop on fourth and goal with under 30 seconds to go kept the shutout intact.

Gabe Marks was incredible at wide receiver, making a strong case for Pac-12 offensive player of the week. According to the early stats from ESPN.com, Marks had 11 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns, including a stellar catch and run for a 43-yard score. Vince Mayle and Dom Williams also caught touchdowns, while Jeremia Laufasa rushed for a pair of TDs.

Darryl Monroe led the defense in tackles with 12, including a sack -- one of six for the Cougs -- and Deone Bucannon picked up another interception. Xavier Cooper notched two sacks and nearly had a third.

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