Not very many things have gone according to script in the 2014 WSU football season. Friday night's 34-17 loss at the hands of Stanford was the exception to that rule. The Cardinal were favored in the game -17.5 points with the over/under at 53.5. The game went as many predicted and WSU fans feared it might with Stanford controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and overpowering the Cougs in a very familiar fashion.
WSU's offensive line had their hands full with Stanford's defensive line putting a lot of pressure on Connor Halliday all night long.The result was a 292-yard effort on 69 attempts for Halliday for an amazingly low 4.1 yards per pass play. Halliday took four sacks in the game and could be seen getting hit hard throughout the night as he hurried to release the ball.
Images of WSU quarterbacks taking punishing blows from Stanford defenders have become an annual production.The young offensive line has played well since the loss to Nevada, but was measured by a much taller stick Friday night and came up well short. Halliday's frustration with the his line could be seen late in the fourth quarter when he refused to be helped up by Joe Dahl after getting knocked down by a Stanford defender.
River Cracraft continued to stand out despite the team's offensive struggles. He caught a school record 14 passes for an even 100 yards. It was the fourth consecutive game in which Cracraft has caught for at least 100 yards.
The defense had their usual issue of stopping the Cardinal run attack. Remound Wright and Barry Sanders were hard for the Cougars to bring down combining for 166 yards on 21 carries. The defense allowed Kevin Hogan to throw down the field for a few big plays, including a 39-yard touchdown pass to Eric Cotton, to put the Cardinal up 10-0 with 9:30 still remaining in the first quarter.
To the defense's credit, they gave up yards but were able to bare down and stop the Cardinal a couple of times in the red zone in the second quarter by forcing a fumble and benefiting from a missed 37-yard field goal attempt from Jordan Williamson. These stops would allow the Cougs to hang around for much of the game pulling within a touchdown at 24-17 with 13:02 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Stanford answered that touchdown with a long drive that went deep into WSU territory and resulted in Williamson kicking a 34-yard field goal to pull ahead 27-17. The Cougar defense would keep it close one more time holding Stanford to a three-and-out in their next series, but finally buckled in the the end when Stanford was able to go 44 yards on four plays for the final score of the game with a 1:38 remaining.
Young names continue to emerge on the defensive side of the ball with redshirt Darius Lemora leading the WSU in tackles with a career-high nine tackles. Peyton Pelluer, another redshirt freshman, tied Jeremiah Allison for second on the team with his own career-high of eight tackles.
At 2-5 (1-2), the bottom line isn't pretty as the Cougs head into their first bye week of the 2014 season. Mentally and physically the timing of the bye week is right for the Cougs, if not overdue. WSU will have week to just get better as a team and work on fundamentals instead of preparing for an opponent. There is a lot to be seen with how the youth on this team progress this year. And much like them, I think we could all use a week off from Cougar football
WSU at Stanford
No. 25 Stanford quiets Halliday, beats WSU 34-17 - seattlepi.com
Kevin Hogan threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns, and No. 25 Stanford slowed down Connor Halliday and the Air Raid offense in a 34-17 victory over Washington State on Friday night. Greg Taboado grabbed his first two career TDs and fellow tight end Eric Cotton had his first scoring catch to help the Cardinal (4-2, 2-1) rebound from a nonconference loss at Notre Dame and renew their chase for a third straight conference championship. A week after Halliday threw for an NCAA-record 734 yards in a 60-59 loss to California, the nation's stingiest scoring defense harassed him all over the backfield. [...] penalties and mistakes in the red zone cost the Cardinal from taking control — which has been a theme this season — against a Washington State defense that struggled again. The usually stoic Shaw even broke out of character a couple of times, though it was often directed at officials, including tossing his headset while arguing on the sideline for pass interference. Cougars cornerback Charleston White was helped off the field several minutes after colliding with teammate Darius Lemora in the third quarter.
Washington State Cougars vs. Stanford Cardinal - Recap - October 10, 2014 - ESPN
NCAA College Football Recap
Video: Mike Leach after Stanford - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Oct. 11, 2014
Washington State coach Mike Leach addresses the media after the Stanford game. Sorry for the fireworks.
Final thoughts from the Stanford game - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Oct. 10, 2014
Ow, that one hurt just to watch. Stanford is big, mean and pretty violent for a bunch of eggheads that live in paradise. That actually brings me to my first thought, which is after the jump. …
Kate Sommer's 10 digs Friday night moved her into fourth-place on WSU's all-time career digs list
Cougars Upset by Arizona - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Senior Jamie Schnieders scores first-career goal in defeat.