A great Halliday moment not caught on camera

CONNOR HALLIDAY didn’t roll his eyes. He didn’t throw his helmet in disgust or allow his shoulders to slump. When Rutgers recovered the fumbled punt that turned the game, Halliday came flying off the bench, a good 15 yards onto the field. He was electric, actually brimming with more positivity than the Rutgers squad that had just created a big break.

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Indeed, Halliday was the very epitome of what fans, coaches and players want their fifth-year senior quarterback to be ... a leader.

Halliday last year drew criticism from CF.C message boarders for the negative body language he displayed at times. Halliday himself this offseason said they were right, that he did need to conduct himself much differently when adversity strikes.

The 2013 Connor was nowhere to be found on Thursday night.

While the rest of the WSU sideline sagged or looked on in stunned silence following the fumble by River Cracraft, it was Halliday, helmet off, who was bouncing around the field. He went around to every player he could who now had to go back on defense, slapping their hands and backsides, hollering words of encouragement, brightening a dark moment.

The TV cameras didn’t catch any of it. But fans in the stands did.

And while the fans couldn’t hear what was said it’s a pretty fair guess it was something along the lines of, ‘You just finished holding ‘em! You can do it again! Let's do it! Let’s go!’

Alas, no, ultimately the Cougar D could not hold them. And yes, WSU ended up losing the game. But as frustrating as the loss to Rutgers was - and is - CougFans can at least take solace in the fact this new 2014 vintage of Halliday bodes well.

Being a quarterback and a leader is of course about more than what takes place immediately after the snap, but that was very good stuff as well. Halliday was 40-56 for 532 yards, five TDs and one pick. His 71 percent completion rate would have been even better had it not been for some on-target drops.

He consistently hit guys on the play side, enabling them to continue upfield in-stride. He didn’t lose patience, and suddenly try to fire it into a window the same size as a football.

But what’s taken place this offseason with Halliday’s mental makeup may be just as valuable as is his maturation between whistles. Call it a winning disposition, the right attitude, whatever you want. It’s going to pay dividends this season for the Cougs.

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