Late in the first quarter, junior wide receiver Isiah Myers dropped a third-down pass that would have given the Cougars a new set of downs. Senior Mike Bowlin magnified that with a wobbly punt that only went 38 yards because of a generous roll. Stanford took advantage of the consecutive gaffes when Kevin Hogan scrambled for an 11-yard gain on third down and then found Devon Cajuste for a 33-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing play.
DEFENSIVE PLAYS OF THE GAME:
There isn't much for the Cougars' defense to celebrate. WSU allowed Stanford to score on each of its first three drives -- and got worse in the second half. But here are a few highlights:
OFFENSIVE PLAY OF THE GAME:
Fans often bemoan conservative coaching calls on third-and-long but WSU, which faced a third-and-22 on its first possession, went the aggressive route as Halliday found true freshman wide receiver River Cracraft for a 23-yard gain over the middle.
WSU did a somewhat good job of containing the run – at least through three quarters – as the Cardinal had 109 rushing yards on 28 carries through 45 minutes. But the biggest thing was WSU's inability to generate anything resembling a pass rush. Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan had all day to throw.
The Cougars had an opportunity to win in the waning moments of last year's 24-17 loss in Palo Alto. No such luck in 2013 as Stanford converted 5 of 8 third-down attempts in the first half, while the Cougars failed on all six of their attempts.
MEANINGLESS STAT OF THE GAME:
Thirteen wide receivers caught passes for the Cougars, but they should hardly celebrate the achievement. Outside of Cracraft and junior Kristoff Williams, WSU's receivers featured few explosive plays. Even more glaring were the ones they did not make. In addition to Myers' drop, junior Bobby Ratliff could not corral a Halliday pass on third-and-4 when the game still was competitive during the first half. It was no better after halftime as the Cougars dropped several passes from both Halliday and Austin Apodaca.
MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACKING:
SPECIAL TEAMS EDGE GOES TO …
This essentially goes to the Cardinal by default. Stanford had no glaring mistakes on special teams, while Bowlin struggled with his punting and a high snap helped contribute to Furney's first miss of the season on a 45-yard field goal attempt late in the first half.
Ending an eight-game losing streak at California at 1 p.m. Saturday is essential. The Bears, who were blown out Saturday at Oregon, are the only Pac-12 team with a losing record.
10:55: The Cardinal capped a seven-play drive with a 28-yard field goal by Jordan Williamson. Key play: Sophomore wide receiver Michael Rector had a 48-yard reception to WSU's 17-yard line.
6:03: Andrew Furney capped a 12-play drive with a 36-yard field goal. Key plays: True freshman wide receiver River Cracraft fell inches short of a first down on third-and-22. On the ensuing play, junior Wayne Lyons cornerback was called for pass interference to give the Cougars a first down.
2:49: Junior Devon Cajuste had a 57-yard touchdown reception on third-and-9.
14:25: Cajuste caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Hogan. Key play: Hogan scrambled for an 11-yard gain on third-and-6.
10:42: Strong safety Jordan Richards returns a 30-yard Halliday interception for a touchdown. Halliday was hit by senior outside linebacker Trent Murphy as he released his pass that was intended for Rickey Galvin.
8:45: Rector 45-yard touchdown pass from Hogan. Key play: Stanford took over at its own 46 after Bowlin's punt went just 27 yards.
6:41: Murphy 30-yard interception return off redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Apodaca.
11:40: Williamson 27-yard field goal.
10:58: Remound Wright scored on a 53-yard touchdown run. STANFORD 48-10
8:24: Sophomore wide receiver Gabe Marks hauled in a 47-yard touchdown pass from Apodaca. STANFORD 55-10
6:29: Barry Sanders rushed for a 22-yard touchdown. STANFORD 55-17
0:27: Apodaca scrambled before delivering an 8-yard touchdown pass to Rickey Galvin.