Holy Hell, Halliday
The Cougars fell to the Tigers Saturday by a score of 31-24.
There was a lot to love about the Cougars performance. They came out strong on their opening drive with a well-executed 75 yards leading to 7 points.
The Tigers answered back and added on a 2-point conversion to take a 8-7 lead early in the first quarter.
Connor Halliday had received praise all pre season long for his improved decision making and accuracy. Well, it is hard to replicate a live-game defense – clearly. Halliday threw 2 interceptions in the first quarter to a team who had 2 interceptions all season long in 2012.
He ended the game with 3 interceptions, but could have easily had 5 or 6 if the Auburn defenders would have been able to hall in the balls thrown directly at them.
At times Halliday looked great, but there were still those bonehead throws that you just can’t comprehend. The turnovers weren’t plays made on the ball, either. They were literally direct passes to the defenders. It’s almost like Halliday had money on the Tigers. There are no words to explain the decisions the junior QB made.
Down 7 points with just under 4 minutes to go on a 1st and goal, Halliday locked onto Rickey Galvin who was running an out-and-up. There were two Auburn defenders camping in the end zone waiting for Galvin to run into them, and Halliday threw a money ball right at them.
Aside from Halliday, there was a lot of obvious improvements from last year for the Cougs.
The team who averaged 29.1 yards on the ground put out an impressive 120 yards – including some gutsy rushing calls on 3rd and 4th downs.
Teondray Caldwell had 53 yards on 7 carries for the Cougs. Last season’s leading rusher, Caldwell took the starting role and is looking to take some large strides this season.
Gabe Marks also had a solid showing, setting a career high with 9 receptions for 81 yards.
The special teams allowed a kick return for a touchdown and the defense gave up a 75 yard rushing touchdown, but aside from those mishaps the game was heavily in WSU’s favor.
They gained a total of 464 yards compared to Auburn’s 394, and had the ball for 31:27 minutes compared to Auburn’s 28:33.
The Cougs were also efficient on 3rd down on both sides of the ball, an area they struggled greatly in last year. The offense converted 7-17 and the defense held the Tigers to just 4-14.
When you break the game down, there was really a lot of positives from this game. The Cougs traveled on the road and basically outplayed a tough SEC team. They didn’t win the game, but they know where they went wrong and I’m sure Leach will be reminding them all week long.
Unfortunately, it looks like Halliday is still struggling greatly in the decision making department. We may have yet another QB carousel on our hands this season.
LET’S GO COUGS!