PULLMAN – With just more than one minute and 26 seconds left in the first half, Washington State receiver Vince Mayle and quarterback Luke Falk noticed that the Oregon State defense wasn’t set.
Falk quick-snapped the ball, Mayle streaked downfield and the Cougars had a 48-yard touchdown pass. The play was Mayle’s 83rd reception of the season, giving him the WSU single-season record for catches (he added three more before the game was over).
In the end zone, Mayle pointed to the tape on his right arm, upon which “C H 12” was written, a tribute to No. 12, quarterback Connor Halliday, a senior whose career ended when he broke his ankle in the first quarter of last week’s game against USC.
Nothing was organized, but many other players also had tributes to Halliday written on their equipment or their skin.
“After last week we said, ‘you know what? We’ve got to go win these last three games for Connor, because it’s just sad how his career ended,” center Riley Sorenson said. “These last three games are to honor him.”
“We were playing for Connor,” running back Jamal Morrow said. “It sucks that we didn’t’ have him as a leader today but we went out and played for him and I’m pretty sure he’s proud of us back home.”
Morrow is probably correct. Soon after Mayle’s touchdown Halliday tweeted, “Thanks for the celebration Vince that was amazing.”
Daquawn Brown ejected
Washington State’s already thin secondary will be down a starter for the first half when the Cougars play their next game in two weeks at Arizona State.
Starting cornerback Daquawn Brown will have to sit out the first two quarters by rule after he was ejected in the second half of Saturday’s game because of a targeting penalty. Brown was also penalized earlier in the game for hitting a player that had run out of bounds.
After the game Mike Leach indicated that he disagreed with one of the calls but would not risk punishment from the Pac-12 for negatively commenting on the officiating.
“I’d love to be able to talk about it,” Leach said. “Let’s put it this way: One, I’m upset at Daquawn, the other one I’m not going to say any more here about it.”
On replay the targeting penalty appeared dubious but the officials upheld it after a review. The Pac-12 has already indicated this year that it will not overturn suspensions, telling the Tacoma News Tribune that the final determination is the responsibility of the video replay crew, following the October suspension of a Washington defender.
After Brown was ejected, true freshman cornerback Marcellus Pippins was brought into the game to replace him. Pippins had not yet played in a game this season and so still had the opportunity to redshirt and save a year of eligibility.
He is the third true freshman cornerback to play in 2014, joining Pat Porter and Kevin Griffin, who made his debut two weeks ago against Arizona. True freshman long snapper Joe Lang also made his season debut against the Beavers.
The Cougars have now had 28 players make their collegiate debuts this season, including nine true freshmen.
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