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Washington State’s Connor Halliday sets FBS record for pass attempts against Oregon

Nick Bromberg
Dr. Saturday

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Oregon's win over Washington State was record setting. Not for the Ducks' ridiculous offense, but for Washington State's Connor Halliday, who set the FBS division record for pass attempts in a game with 89.

Halliday went 58-89 for 557 yards and four touchdowns and four interceptions in the Cougars' 62-38 loss, much of it coming in garbage time. That's six more attempts than Drew Brees had for Purdue in 1998 against Wisconsin and ties the record for completions that Eastern Michigan's Andy Schmitt set in 2008 against Central Michigan.

Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliott, however, was none too pleased with the garbage-time air attack, even with the Ducks' dominant effort.

“That’s total (B.S.) that he threw the ball at the end of the game like he did,’’ Aliotti said of WSU coach Mike Leach. “And you can print that and you can send it to him, and he can comment, too. I think it’s low class and it’s (B.S.) to throw the ball when the game is completely over against our kids that are basically our scout team.’’

Why did Halliday take it to the air so much? Well,  Leach, the former Texas Tech coach who became famous for his air raid offense that led the Red Raiders to national prominence with quarterbacks like current TT head coach Kliff Kingsbury, B.J. Symons and Graham Harrell. And also because Washington State has a horrible time running the football.

The Cougars entered Saturday's game averaging just 66 yards per game on the ground and against the Ducks had 12 carries for two yards. (Though it must be noted that in college football, yards accumulated on sacks count against rushing totals.) They were so ineffective running the football that the team's last 33 plays were Halliday passes.

 “I am kind of stunned he would keep his quarterback and crew in there,’’ Aliotti said. “And still he threw the ball with 20 seconds left. But he did. They want stats, they got stats. But we got the most important stat and that’s the ‘W’ and we are happy about that.’’

Through eight games, Halliday has now attempted 428 passes, so Saturday night was almost 21 percent of his season's total. Will he have a chance to break his own record? Anything's possible with the combination of Leach and an awful running game, but Oregon scored so quickly against the Cougars that Washington State had the ball for almost 36 minutes. They likely won't have that much possession in a game the rest of the year.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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