SPOKANE — College football players love to bet on their final spring scrimmages. No money changes hands, of course — that is an NCAA no-no — and the players’ bets often consist of little more than the right to brag in the locker room for a week or two.
Darryl Monroe declined to reveal what was at stake Saturday in Washington State’s Crimson and Gray Game. However, the linebacker said the winners won’t get a thing from his Crimson team after the Gray completed a two-point conversion pass on the final play to win, 22-21 — with 5 minutes, 28 seconds to go.
The game was ruled over after about 21/2 hours.
“The way they won, they ain’t gettin’ nothin’, ” Monroe said. “That wasn’t a win. They know we won, so all bets are canceled.”
The scrimmage drew an announced crowd of 8,340 — down from last year’s record of 10,713 — at Joe Albi Stadium. Threatening skies made way for sunshine during a scrimmage that primarily consisted of the No. 1 offense and defense opposing each other, and likewise for the No. 2s.
Connor Halliday and Austin Apodaca took turns running both offenses and had moments of brilliance and futility.
Coach Mike Leach stopped short of saying Halliday — who shared the starting job with the since-graduated Jeff Tuel last season — is a lock to start the Aug. 31 opener at Auburn.
“It’s pretty close,” Leach said. “They’ll come to (fall) camp, and they’ll fight it out.”
Halliday, a redshirt junior, completed 38 of 58 passes for 406 yards and three touchdowns. However, he missed two wide-open receivers in the end zone, threw three interceptions — one near the defensive goal line — and occasionally forced the type of high-risk passes that dogged him last season.
Apodaca, a redshirt freshman, completed 27 of 45 passes for 279 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He also scored on a 1-yard run.
“Other than the turnovers, Connor played pretty decent in the second half,” Leach said. “I thought Austin settled in and played good (eventually). He played nervous and panicked a little bit in the first half.”
Apodaca wasn’t the only Cougars player who struggled out of the gate.
“We were slow and sloppy at first,” Leach said. “I thought we tightened things up in the second half.”
Gabe Marks led the Gray with 11 catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns, including the final TD, a 21-yard pass from No. 3 quarterback Jesse Brown. Wide-open running back Theron West hauled in Brown’s two-point conversion pass.
Kristoff Williams led the Crimson with 136 yards on seven catches. Teammate Isiah Myers had eight receptions for 111 yards. Both scored once.
WSU’s much-maligned offensive line gave up 10 sacks, and the Cougars finished with minus-17 rushing yards against a defense that was missing key players and did not blitz.
However, Leach pointed out that offensive linemen were mixed and matched at different positions, and some reserves faced starters.