Christian Caple’s Keys to the WSU Game

What went right

The Cougars at least never stopped trying in this one, despite falling behind 37-7 and 44-14. Connor Halliday led the Cougars on five touchdown drives, including four in the second half to keep things somewhat interesting. And there was a little more room for WSU to run this time, as the Cougars netted 67 rushing yards. Cyrus Coen’s sack, interception and fumble recovery highlighted WSU’s defensive effort.

What went wrong

UCLA blocked four kicks in the first half – two punts, two field goals – and, on WSU’s first possession of the game, returned a 39-yard field-goal attempt for a touchdown. Teondray Caldwell also fumbled a kickoff that led to an easy UCLA touchdown, and after Halliday was sacked for a safety, the Bruins returned the ensuing kick into WSU territory and scored two plays later.

Turning point

Caldwell’s fumble. UCLA had just scored to go ahead 14-7, and the fumble – and brief, subsequent touchdown drive – seemed to take the air out of the Cougars on a night when turmoil already surrounded the program. UCLA scored 16 more points before WSU scored again, and by then, it was too late.

Difference maker

Cassius Marsh not only had 2.5 sacks for the Bruins, the defensive lineman also blew straight past Deone Bucannon on a WSU punt attempt and swatted the ball off the foot of Michael Bowlin. Anthony Barr also had 2.5 sacks for UCLA, and Brett Hundley completed 18 of 21 passes for 261 yards. Halliday helped the Cougars outgain the Bruins 524-334 by throwing for 330 yards.

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