From Pullman -- The Cougars have been acing their tests of late and if they keep bringing home grades like these they just might get that Red Rider bb gun for the Holidays after all. While the Cougars weren't perfect against Utah, they graded out pretty well, particularly on offense.
Unit grades after the jump.
Quarterback, A: Connor Halliday turned in arguably the best game of his career against a pretty good defense. 39 of 62 passing, 488 yards through the air, four touchdowns and no interceptions. What more needs to be said?
Running Backs, B: Marcus Mason was a force on Saturday, picking up 86 rushing yard on 10 carries while leading the team with eight receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown. Mason's 50-yard run was critical, and the running backs did a fine job of blocking Utah's fearsome pass rush.
Offensive Line, A+ Gold Star: Utah led the nation in sacks coming into the game with 36 on the season. After the game, despite 62 opportunities to get Halliday, they still only had 36 sacks. Best performance by a WSU offensive line since ... ?
Defense Line, B-: However, the Cougars didn't come away with any sacks either against a quarterback making the second start of his career. Utes running back Kelvin York gashed WSU in the first half, allowing Utah to put some points on the board while sophomore quarterback Adam Schulz settled in.
Linebackers, B: Despite the double-digit win, it must be noted that Utah actually outscored WSU from the middle of the first quarter onward. This was in part due to breakdowns by the linebackers, who struggled with offensive coordinator (and former WSU coach) Dennis Erickson's misdirection game.
Secondary, B+: Yes, the defensive backs came up with a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns in the first quarter that gave WSU a 21-0 lead early. However, Utah was able to twice cut the Cougars' lead to six points thanks to breakdowns in the secondary. Schulz found receivers deep for passes of 64 and 57 yards, so the secondary's grade suffered.
Special Teams, B: Kicker Andrew Furney's lone miss was from 52-yards out, and he nailed one from that distance and finished 3 of 4 on the day. However, Mike Bowlin's punts went just 27 and 36 yards, resulting in Wes Concepcion taking his place.