Now not to be cruel to Southern Utah, the Washington Sate Cougars were expected to play the way they did Saturday afternoon. They were supposed to dominate the game. The 48-10 victory sums up what was supposed to happen. I do not want to take anything away from the win because a win is a win. We just cannot overreact to this victory. Halliday played well and the defense did not play horribly but it was Southern Utah.
Reasons for Optimism
Is the Halliday w/ potential back?
For the first time since his emergence in 2011 on cold night vs ASU, Connor Halliday looked like the guy with that great potential. Now granted, it was Southern Utah. However, this was a performance Cougar fans needed to see and desperately wanted to see. A five touchdown performance is very promising and can lead to some much needed momentum going into the future. Halliday did have one interception but that was from a miscommunication on a route with he and his receiver. It also took quite an effort for the defender to intercept it. Overall, the decision making was good and it was a solid performance.
Tackling... Who are these guys?
This is the second week in a row the Cougars have been able to wrap up and make the sure tackles. This is such a nice thing to see after the despicable tackling display in Auburn. The Cougars definitely seem to be much better tacklers. This is going to be a necessary skill to have if they want to be relatively competitive in the Pac-12.
There was a point in this game where I was concerned. Halliday just threw the pick in the endzone and the Thunderbirds were driving down the field. However, the Cougars showed me they've turned a corner. They picked up their defensive coverage. AS a result, Damante Horton picked off QB Aaron Cantu and took it back to the endzone to give the Cougars a 21-10 lead. It was good to see the Cougars be able to swing back when they were being threatened.
Reasons for Concern
Running game... What Running Game?
For the second week in a row the Cougars have been unable to generate much on the ground. They finished with 54 yards on 17 rushing attempts. I do not have a problem tossing the ball around 40 times but there is a need to be able to run the ball efficiently. Being one dimensional and only being able to be one dimensional is a dangerous game to be playing. That's why USC kept the Cougars from scoring an offensive touchdown.