Christian Caple’s Keys to the Game
What went right
Connor Halliday let fly with a handful of long passes. He completed gains of 47 and 52 (a touchdown) to Gabe Marks, and an 81-yard scoring strike to Marquess Wilson on third-and-17. Halliday completed 26 of 45 passes for 348 yards, four TDs and two INTs. WSU defended the run well despite allowing too many passing yards.
What went wrong
WSU figured it would need to stop UNLV’s rushing attack, and it did, for the most part. But Rebels quarterback Nick Sherry carved the Cougars’ secondary to the tune of 351 yards and three touchdowns on 33-of-49 passing, keeping UNLV in the game despite running back Tim Cornett being limited to 89 yards on 20 carries.
Two plays after Halliday completed a 13-yard pass to Wilson on fourth-and-3 from UNLV’s 16-yard line, Leon Brooks scored on a 3-yard touchdown run to put the Cougars ahead 35-20. The Rebels failed to convert a pair of fourth-down tries in WSU territory on two possessions following.
Marks struggled with drops in his first two collegiate games, but the freshman was a favorite of Halliday last night. Marks caught six passes for 126 yards and a touchdown. Senior linebacker Travis Long was disruptive all game, recording two sacks and a key bat-down of a Sherry pass in the fourth quarter.