Monday, April 22, 2013
WSU offense wakes up in second half
By Kevin Gemmell
More than 8,000 fans turned out in Spokane, Wash., to see to see the Washington State Cougars Gray team score a late touchdown and 2-point conversion to top the Crimson squad 22-21. Jesse Brown connected with Gabe Marks late in the fourth quarter and then he found Theron West for the game-winning two-point score.
Neither offense was particularly sharp in the first half so head coach Mike Leach gave them a pep talk at halftime.
"I think some guys were afraid to go out and turn it loose," Leach said. "Performance anxiety, I guess, maybe they tried to make too much happen. We definitely had some of that. We definitely had too many dropped balls. We didn't get our work done in the first half so we're going to play a full second half."
The offenses came to life in the second half. Quarterback Connor Halliday completed 38 of 58 throws for 406 yards with three touchdowns -- but he also threw a pair of interceptions. Austin Apodaca was 27-of-45 for 279 yards with a touchdown.
Leach, never one to get too chatty about his quarterbacking hierarchy, called Halliday and Apodaca "pretty even."
"I thought other than turnovers, Connor played pretty decent in the second half," Leach said. "I thought Austin, when he settled in, played good. I thought he played nervous and frantic a little bit in the first half."
Marks caught a game-high 11 balls for 107 yards and pair of touchdowns in the victory. Kristoff Williams led the Crimson squad with seven catches for 136 yards and a touchdown. Isiah Myers and Bobby Ratliff also had receiving touchdowns for the Crimson team while Apodaca scored on the ground for the Gray squad.
"When we get a little tempo going and put a streak together, that was good," Leach said. "We need to make these streaks longer now."
Because of the split squad, the defense was limited to staying in base fronts. Leach said they could shift and twist, but there was no blitzing. The defenses combined for 10 "sacks" and safety Taylor Taliulu and linebacker Justin Sagote each had 11 tackles. Taliulu and Jared Byers also had interceptions.
The Cougars will wrap their spring session on Tuesday -- with more work ahead as they look to fall camp.
"This is going to continue," Leach said. "It's going to be heavy weight room and heavy running and they need to continue to work and develop their skills. We need to make more out of this time than the people we play. I think that's very important."