What we learned from the Cougars’ win over Cal

Oct 6, 2013, 12:15 PM | Updated: 12:37 pm

By Jim Moore

Well, that was fun. Nice to see the Cougs bounce back from the Stanford drubbing to beat Cal 44-22 Saturday afternoon in Berkeley.

At 4-2, the Cougs already have more victories than they had during Mike Leach’s first season when they finished 3-9.

It usually depresses me when the Cougs reach the halfway point of the season because it means we’ve got only six games left, and it’s only early October. But this year we might be playing a 13th game for the first time since 2003, which will certainly be something new to look forward to.

Three things we learned:

da6e7d08-9448-40ed-b97e-9ed57d1be1b2
Connor Halliday threw for 521 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in the Cougars’ win over Cal Saturday. (AP)

1. Connor Halliday is the man.

There’s a Coug fan who was giving me a hard time on Twitter Saturday because I’m always backing Halliday. He thinks Washington State’s quarterback is “mediocre,” offsetting his occasional brilliance with frequent interceptions.

This guy on Twitter is a good guy – I say this having never met him, but I know that he goes to every Cougar game home and away and has done this for years. He lives in Las Vegas now, but for years he attended Cougar games from his home in Orlando, Fla. Even during the bad years, he’d get on a plane and watch that God-awful team of ours lose again. He has to be a good guy if he loves the Cougs that much.

So his assessment of Halliday is probably better than mine, most frequently made off of observations from my flat screen. I just like the kid’s gunslinger-ness, knowing that it costs us at times. But he’s also capable of making big plays. And he’s never boring, whether he’s flinging it all over the lot or filling reporters’ notepads with terrific quotes.

I can’t call a quarterback mediocre when he passes for 521 yards and three touchdowns like Halliday did on Saturday. Especially not when it happens in a Pac-12 road game.

2. Mike Leach is the man, too.

I’m still having a hard time embracing Leach the person, but it’s clearly evident that what he did at Texas Tech can happen at Washington State. The guy can flat-out coach. I had my doubts last year when it appeared that half the team bought in and half the team didn’t. He has changed the culture – if you want to use that buzz-phrase – for the better. With all the players on board, you can see the potential with this team.

3. Andrew Furney will be there when we need him.

I don’t even know this kid, but I love him like he’s one of my own. Furney whiffed on his first field-goal attempt Saturday but came back to hit three fourth-quarter field goals from 44, 41 and 28 yards. Hope to see him trotting out on the field with a chance to win the Apple Cup again this year.

Three things we’re still trying to figure out:

1. Is the Cougars’ defense good, bad or something in between?

At this point, I’d vote for the latter. It’s not as good as the one that allowed 17 points over a three-game stretch to USC, Southern Utah and Idaho. It’s not as bad as the one that was beaten deep at times by Stanford and Cal. But when it gives up more than 500 passing yards like it did against the Bears, there are issues that need to be taken care of.

2. Are we a bowl team?

I know, this is a weekly installment in this here post, but there’s no definitive answer as yet. Looking at the schedule, we’ll be favored in just one of the six remaining games – against Utah at Martin Stadium on Nov. 23. We need two wins to be bowl eligible. Can we get one of those wins this week against Oregon State on Dads’ Weekend in Pullman? Can we beat one of the Arizona schools? How about the Dawgs on Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving? Vegas thinks we’ll go 1-5, but we could go 4-2 or heck, if you told me we could finish 2-4 and go to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, I’d take it right now, no questions asked.

3. Do the Cougs have the best receiving corps in the Pac-12?

Quick answer: likely not. There might be some top-end receivers who are better than the Cougs’ top two or three. But look at them as a group – they’re outstanding. Counting running backs, the Cougs had seven receivers who caught at least four passes against Cal and 10 who caught two or more. All good stuff and necessary components in an Air Raid offense.

The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at jimmoorethego2guy@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.

Wyman & Bob

WSU

WSU...
The Associated Press

Dante leads Oregon Ducks past WSU Cougars in 2nd half 74-60

N'Faly Dante scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half when Oregon used a 13-2 run to jump start a 74-60 win over WSU in a Pac-12 opener.
2 days ago
Apple Cup Michael Penix Jr....
The Associated Press

No. 12 UW Huskies outlast WSU Cougars 51-33 in Apple Cup

Michael Penix Jr. threw for 484 yards and had five total touchdowns and the No. 12 UW Huskies reclaimed the Apple Cup with a wild 51-33 victory over WSU.
7 days ago
WSU TJ Bamba...
The Associated Press

WSU makes program record 19 3s, beats Detroit Mercy 96-54

Jabe Mullins scored 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting and WSU hit a program record-tying 19 3-pointers to beat Detroit Mercy 96-54.
8 days ago
Apple Cup 2021...
SeattleSports.com Staff

Podcast: Apple Cup preview with CFB analysts Michael Bumpus, Brock Huard

Listen to Brock Huard of FOX Sports and Michael Bumpus of Pac-12 Network break down Saturday's big Apple Cup between the WSU Cougars and No. 12 UW Huskies.
8 days ago
UW Huskies Michael Penix Jr...
Brock Huard

Huard’s Apple Cup Preview: Breakdown, prediction of No. 12 UW at WSU

FOX college football analyst and former UW huskies QB Brock Huard details Saturday's huge Apple Cup between the UW Huskies and WSU Cougars.
8 days ago
Apple Cup WSU...
Brandon Gustafson

Bump’s Apple Cup Preview: Matchups, prediction and much more

Former WSU WR Michael Bumpus shares his thoughts on this year's Apple Cup matchup, including his prediction for the game in Pullman.
10 days ago
What we learned from the Cougars’ win over Cal