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WSU football: Cougars rising back to respectability

Washington State showcased their potential against Cal. Our Jack Follman and Patrick Flower debate.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State's offense really exploded against Cal and their defense wore down the Bears. What did you see as the keys to victory?

Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: A combination of the offense keeping it going and using their infinite depth of receivers to perpetually keep the Cal defense having to worry about the hole field. As said, I felt that their fleet of receivers and Halliday never let up and made it so Cal was going to have to score a lot of points to keep up. Then on the other side of the ball, the Cougar defense got after Goff, made turnovers and tightened up late in pass defense.

Patrick Flower, Pacific Takes: Two things: two Cal fumbles inside the WSU 5 and Connor Halliday took what the defense gave him. The significance of turnovers is obvious. Halliday not as obvious. Early on the Cal DBs played man coverage and Halliday was threw over the top. When the defense shifted to a zone, Halliday was able hit receivers underneath with the same amount of success. See: Mayle's two long TD catches along the sidelines and Marcus Mason's dump-off in the flat that turned into a 68-yard touchdown. The WSU offense kept the Cal DBs on their heels all game.

What things do the Cougars still have to work on?

Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: I know they don't rely on running the ball a ton, but Cal's run defense was atrocious going in but the Cougars barely averaged two yards per-carry. They need to be able to hit those draws with more success because it will help another thing they need to fix, protecting Halliday, which leads to another - Halliday throwing it up for grabs.

Patrick Flower, Pacific Takes: Cal is going to throw for yards regardless who they play but in the pass-happy Pac-12 the Cougs are going to need a better showing. The conference is home to 3 of the top 5 QBs in yards per game and features several others top flight QBs. Check out the total QBR rankings. Offensively, a credible run game would do wonders to an already prolific passing game.