EUGENE- Washington State's Connor Halliday set bevy of passing records, but what he couldn't do was keep the contest close.
Halliday threw a FBS record 89 passes, completed a Pac-12 record 58 of them, but still fell 62-34.
With the high volume of throws came the inevitable high volume of interceptions, a category Halliday leads the country in. Halliday was intercepted four times, with most of the damage coming in the second half when, for at least a few drives, the Cougars appeared to be within striking distance of the second-ranked Ducks.
"We saw it on film, that he kind of takes chances and throws the ball it up," said safety Avery Patterson, who had one of those picks. "That's something that we kind of keyed on, and we capitalized."
Oregon entered the locker room with just a 34-24 lead. Halliday had found different receivers on a pair of short passing scores in the first half.
In fact, if it wasn't for two timely red zone forced turnovers in the opening half, the margin might have been even less.
But the defense stiffened when it needed to, holding WSU off the board until two mop-up TDs to end the game. Three of the first four Cougar drives of the second half ended with interceptions.
Patterson, Derrick Malone and Terrance Mitchell had the three second half picks. Mitchell's was of the pick-six variety, as his score made it 62-24.
"Against a passing team like that, you know the ball is coming," Mitchell said.
They certainly weren't going to run it.
Washington State ran only eleven rushing plays for two total yards, which paled in comparison to the 557 on 89 pass attempts.
"They didn't really run it much. It was our main effort to focus on stopping the pass. We did our best," Patterson said.
The Cougars rarely went deep either, settling for the predictable short routes that led to easy completions, but little sustained drives.
"They were nickel-and-diming us. It was kind of frustrating. At the end of the day we're going to learn from it and we're going to see what we have to do to fix it," Mitchell said.
A 5 minute, 26 second drive in the middle of the third quarter developed much that way. The Cougars ran 11 plays, but Patterson's interception cut them short of any points.
That drive might have been the final coffin for the Cougars.
Tony Washington had two first half sacks and applied pressure on countless other occasions, but still found himself dissatisfied with his effort.
"I'm frustrated with how we played the whole game. I know myself, I had a lot of missed tackles, I let the ball get outside of me a couple times," he said.
"I think our guys played with a tremendous amount of effort, it's just the little things we have to clean up."