The Washington State Cougars traveled to Berkeley this weekend to take on the Cal Bears in a matchup of Pac 12 North foes in desperate need of a bounceback after blowout losses a week ago. Both teams were counting on their offenses to get on track behind the strong arms of quarterback Connor Halliday for WSU and Jared Goff for Cal. The pair did not disappoint (though the defenses certainly did) as the quarterbacks put on a show in a shootout win for Wazzu.
Both Mike Leach and Sonny Dykes have built their coaching reputations on their wide-open offensive styles that attack down the field through the air. Halliday and Goff have stepped in pretty perfectly to their “gunslinger” roles within the offense and put on a show with a shootout for the ages. Halliday set school record for pass attempts (67) and yards (521) for WSU who got their fourth win of the season and improved to 2-1 in Pac 12 play. On the other side, Goff threw the ball 58 times himself and racked up 489 yards in the losing effort.
With the ball in the air so much, that game dragged on a lot longer than it probably should have with incompletions, penalties and injuries stopping the clock on a regular basis. Despite both teams running an up-tempo and no-huddle offense, the game lasted nearly four hours as both teams will have plenty of coachable moments when they break down the film this week. The defenses were shredded and there were plenty of mental errors that will keep either side from patting themselves on the back too hard.
While the game was sloppy, the quarterback play was prolific even if it wasn’t always that efficient. For fans of video-game style offensive outputs, this was an exciting game that went up and down the field at a dizzying pace. Halliday and Goff are big-armed quarterbacks who aren’t afraid to stretch the field and they put that on display on Saturday in Berkeley. While the effectiveness of their play towards building a winning program may be debatable, there’s no denying their stats. They are big, they are flashy and they are record-setting.