PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Connor Halliday threw for 346 yards and four first-half touchdown passes, two to Gabe Marks, and Washington State improved to 3-1 for the first time since 2006 with a dominating 42-0 win over neighboring Idaho Saturday night.
It was the third straight game Halliday had thrown for more than 300 yards and the eighth time in his career.
The shutout was the first for the Cougars since 2003, when they blanked the Vandals, 25-0, to open the 2003 season.
“They just kicked our butt,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said. They beat us. You have to give them credit. We didn’t do a good job, so that’s what it came down to.”
Marks had a career high 11 catches for 146 yards, including a 43-yard catch for a first quarter touchdown.
Halliday also connected with Dom Williams on a 30-yard TD pass and Vince Mayle for a 20-yard TD.
Jeremiah Laufasa added a 13-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter and a 3-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Washington State dominated every aspect of the game and turned in an exceptional defensive performance to stop the Vandals cold, including a goal-line stand in the final minute to preserve the shutout.
“Our defense played hard, except for penalties,” Washington State coach Mike Leach said. “I mean, it’s hard to get a shutout. I think they played a pretty complete game.”
Idaho did not put together a legitimate scoring drive until late in the fourth quarter. With eight minutes remaining, Dezmon Epps’s 17-yard kickoff return sparked a 16-play drive that put the Vandals on the WSU 2.
The Cougars were called for roughing the passer, a call that enraged Leach and led to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the fiery coach and gave Idaho a first and goal. But the Vandals were ultimately denied on fourth down in the closing seconds.
“I was really proud of them,” Leach said. “They got a shutout so I was particularly proud of that. They worked hard to get the shutout. I was really glad to see them come up with it at the end.”
Saturday was the first time since 2007 the schools — just eight miles apart — met on the football field. Washington State won that game in 2007 45-28 and were even more impressive on Saturday. Idaho has not defeated the Cougars since 2000.
The Cougars will now jump back into Pac-12 play with a major challenge facing No. 5 Stanford across the state in Seattle at CenturyLink Field.
“It’s the same as we prepare for every game,” Leach said. “As long as we go in there and make our plays, it will be a good game.”
Washington State’s defense entered the night No. 1 in the country allowing just 99.7 yards per game passing. They had held USC to 193 total yards and Southern Utah to 213, the first time the Cougars held back-to-back opponents under 225 total yards since 1994.
The Cougars weren’t as stingy against the Vandals. Idaho finished with 253 total yards and just 174 through the air.
Idaho QB Chad Chalich finished 17 of 23 for 167 yards.
Idaho committed eight penalties in the first half, including a false start that negated a completed fake punt on the Vandals opening possession. The penalties just added to the Vandals mistakes. Idaho quarterback Josh McCain was intercepted by Deone Buchanan in the first quarter and Buchanan recovered a fumble deep in Idaho territory in the second quarter. The interception was the first this year thrown by the Vandals. They began the weekend as one of just 16 teams in the country having not thrown a pick.
Washington State had three sacks in the first quarter and finished with six for the game. Idaho came in worst in the country giving up 20 sacks in three games, with Chalich getting taken down 17 times. The 20 sacks allowed were eight more than any other team in the country.
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