A long road ahead; Cougar football drops to 2-5 after loss to Stanford


Cardinal senior quarterback Kevin Hogan attempts to break Cougar junior linebacker Jeremiah Allison’s tackle at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, Cal., Friday, Oct. 11, 2014. Stanford went on to win the game 34-17.

William Cheshier | Evergreen football reporter

Cougar football was unable to spark any magic against Stanford as they fell to the Cardinal 34-17.

Stanford’s defense proved too tough for Head Coach Mike Leach’s potent Air Raid offense. Redshirt senior quarterback Connor Halliday was pressured all game and sacked four times throughout the night. Leach said on 920 KXLY that the defensive line was key for the Stanford defense.

“Their d-line was real physical, we were able to get receivers open, we just couldn’t hold it long enough to deliver it consistently,” Leach said. “That was disruptive the entire day.”

With the loss, the Cougars fell to 2-5, putting them just two losses away from missing a bowl game with five games left to play this season.

The Stanford Cardinal started off the scoring with a quick opening drive field goal by redshirt senior kicker Jordan Williamson, giving Stanford a 3-0 lead with 11:47 to play in the first quarter.

On the following drive WSU was forced to punt and Stanford responded with a touchdown drive after senior Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan found sophomore tight end Eric Cotton for a 39-yard touchdown pass. The score gave Stanford a 10-0 lead with 9:30 to play in the first quarter.

The Cougars got on the board after Halliday connected with redshirt senior wide receiver Vince Mayle for a nine-yard touchdown pass. The score cut the lead to three with 4:35 to play in the first quarter.

Stanford scored again after senior wide receiver Ty Montgomery’s punt return put them at the WSU 16-yard line. Hogan connected with sophomore tight end Greg Taboada for a three-yard touchdown on a fade route. The score increased Stanford’s lead to 17-7 with 11:08 to play in the second quarter.

Both defenses held strong for the rest of the half. Stanford had an opportunity to score as time expired going into half, but Williamson was unable to connect on the field goal attempt.

The second half provided more of the same. WSU’s redshirt junior kicker Quentin Breshears nailed a 46-yard field goal to make the score 17-10 with 7:51 to play in the third quarter.

The Cardinal responded with the second touchdown connection of the night from Hogan and Taboada to push the score to 24-10 with 3:07 left in the third quarter.

Halliday connected with sophomore wide receiver River Cracraft for a three-yard score, cutting the lead to 24-17 with 13:02 remaining in the fourth quarter.

That was as close as the Cougars could get. Williamson hit another field goal, this time from 34-yards, to extend the lead to 27-17 with just 8:13 to play in the fourth quarter.

The Cardinal increased their lead after a rushing touchdown by senior Remound Wright, moving the Cougars further from victory at 34-17. The score put the icing on the cake with only 1:38 left to play.

Leach’s message was clear to his team after the loss.

“Well Stanford’s really tough, you did the best you could,” Leach said. “Well yeah, yeah, yeah, we can’t accept that. We have to push beyond that and expect more from ourselves.”

Halliday reiterated how good the Stanford front-seven is on defense.

“That’s just a really good defensive front,” Halliday said in an interview with wsucougars.com. “Nothing our offensive line did wrong, they’re just a darn good front.”

The Cougar defense was outmatched by the Stanford running game and the play Hogan. Freshman cornerback Pat Porter entered the game after redshirt freshman Charleston White following a collision with redshirt freshman safety Darius Lemora. Porter said on 920 KXLY the WSU receivers helped him prepare for the game.

“I was pretty confident going in because our team has the best receivers in the conference, so going against them every day at practice it boosts my confidence so when I go against other receivers from different teams it makes my job way more easier,” Porter said.

Halliday finished the game 42-of-69 for 292 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

Cracraft set a Cougar single-game record with 14 catches. He also had his fourth straight 100-yard receiving game and added his seventh reception touchdown of the season.

The Cougars were unable to get any type of running game going as redshirt freshmen Gerard Wicks and Jamal Morrow and redshirt senior Theron West combined for 30-yards on just seven attempts.

After their bye week next weekend, the Cougs will play the Arizona Wildcats on Oct. 25th during Dad’s Weekend in Martin Stadium.