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Friday Flashback: Southern Utah

Where to start with this one? When Washington State upended USC a week before the Southern Utah game, it effectively guaranteed a 3-1 start to the season. Following tough road games at Auburn and USC, the Cougars finished out the first third of their schedule with gimmes against Southern Utah and Idaho.

The Cougars were expected to win this one, their home opener, and win big. So they did, pretty easily. The offense piled up some impressive statistics, but it was the defense that turned some heads, allowing just one touchdown for the second consecutive week.

Follow the jump to find out what happened.

… 


How it happened: The Cougars took less than two minutes to find the end zone, scoring on Connor Halliday's 43-yard pass to Dom Williams to complete a five play, 80-yard drive. That more or less locked up the team's primary goal of winning the game.

But whether or not the day would be a success, well that was still in question. Connor Halliday had thrown for a lot of yards in his first two games as the unchallenged starting quarterback, and a lot of interceptions. He threw five of them, in fact, with just one touchdown that came in the season-opener at Auburn.

So with the game in hand from the start, WSU's success was to be measured not in the win-loss column, but in the box score, and whether it showed a quarterback who was able to feast on inferior competition.

It did.

Halliday, who played his prep ball in Spokane, turned his touchdown-interception ratio on its head, throwing for five scores in the route while tossing just one interception.

The 48-10 victory was the easiest of the Mike Leach coaching era. The Eagles answered Williams' score with a field goal. Isiah Myers responded with a 10-yard touchdown reception. Southern Utah answered one more time, scoring on a three-yard run from Raysean Martin.

But that was it for responses from the Eagles. The Cougars shut out their visiting opponent for the game's final 40 minutes and 55 seconds, and Halliday's reward for his dominant outing was to spend the final minutes on the sideline, watching backup Austin Apodaca (since transferred) take his first college snaps.

 

What it meant: Things were sky high in the Cougar community. After beating USC there had been no regression and with a surefire win on the way against Idaho, a great game from Connor Halliday and an emerging defense there was not much to complain about.

Our Coverage:

Game Story

Notebook  

Tale of the Tape


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Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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