Lost in the shuffle of the drama of Saturday’s evening games was the season-ending broken leg suffered by Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday during the first quarter of Saturday’s 44-17 loss to USC.
Halliday, the nation’s leader in passing touchdowns, passing yards and completions per game, had his right leg caught under USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams after completing a 14-yard pass on third down.
Halliday is a senior, so the injury will actually end his Washington State career.
After coach Mike Leach broke the news, Halliday’s Twitter feed was filled with well-wishes from friends and fans, but one response from Halliday stood out more than others.
@PappaMeighen 22 years of hard work I was 3 god damn games away from my dream 3 freakin games away from being drafted and living my dream
— Connor Halliday (@c_halliday12) November 2, 2014
Halliday was a lightly-recruited pro-style quarterback from Spokane, Wash. The Cougars were his only major offer and in four years with the program, especially the past two, he became a must-watch player even if his team was a less-than-desirable draw.
While he’s only been to one bowl game — a 48-45 loss to Colorado State in last year’s New Mexico Bowl — he leaves Washington State as one of the most accomplished quarterbacks (record-wise) in college football history.
He owns a multitude of Washington State records. Last season, he tied the NCAA Division I record for completions and broke Drew Brees’ NCAA Division I record for pass attempts. He tied an NCAA bowl game record with six touchdown passes.
The way his career ended was sad. He was a good player who deserved to go out by setting as many records as he could in what was already another lost season for the Cougars.
Still, if his Twitter feed was any indication of the impact he had on Washington State during his time with the program, it’s clear the fans appreciated his work even if it didn’t result in a lot of wins.
And if Halliday has one thing going for him — other than his arm strength — it’s his toughness. Throughout his career, Halliday has played through a multitude of injuries, including a lacerated liver against Utah, which ultimately required hospitalization. The road back from a broken leg will be difficult, but it’s not something he can’t overcome.
However, Halliday’s future in football is uncertain. Even before the injury, there were questions about whether his style of play could translate at the NFL level. Leach-coached quarterbacks have had a tough time making the transition to the NFL game and while some have gotten some looks, few have stuck. Former Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel, Halliday’s predecessor, is on the Buffalo Bills practice squad.
It’s also unknown whether Halliday’s leg will heal before the NFL draft and whether he’ll be able to either participate in the NFL combine (if he gets an invite) or a pro day.
It would be a shame if he didn’t get an opportunity to at least show he’s worthy of an NFL roster spot.
For more Washington State news, visit WazzouWatch.com.
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