Halliday season felled by grinch called loss

SIMPLY PUT, CONNOR HALLIDAY is not OK. And it’s pretty easy to understand why Halliday, who on Saturday night broke Washington State’s career passing record – just three weeks after shattering the Football Bowl Subdivision single-game mark by throwing for 734 yards – isn’t satisfied.

Both of his dazzling accomplishments came in losses during which the Cougars gave up more than 50 points – specifically, 59 against Arizona and 60 against California.

Halliday acknowledged in a postgame radio interview after the 59-37 loss to No. 15 Arizona that holding the school record with 11,264 passing yards is “a pretty good deal.”

He elaborated: “There obviously have been some pretty good quarterbacks here.”

But?

“It’s frustrating to see it happen in this way,” he finished.

Against the Wildcats, Halliday completed 56 of 79 passes for 489 yards, with four touchdowns and two interceptions. His 37-yard touchdown pass to Isiah Myers in the second quarter enabled him to break Alex Brink’s record of 10,913 career passing yards, and his 90 career touchdowns sit him at third on the Pac-12’s all-time list.

Once again, a memorable night for Halliday has been overshadowed by yet another frustrating loss for a team that last season went to its first bowl game in a decade and this year at times appears to be apt to lose to an intramural team from one of the residence halls down the street from Martin Stadium.

“It’s frustrating,” Halliday said. “It’s not OK with losing. It’s been a rough 11 years here. It’s too easy for guys to accept losing around here.

“My job as a leader is to get rid of that.”

AND HE’S NOT the only senior feeling the sting of failure – and the clock winding down on their days in crimson and gray.

Wide receiver Vince Mayle, who on Saturday tied the school’s single-game record with 14 receptions on 145 yards and scored on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Halliday, said that the Cougars weren’t physical early on against the Wildcats.

“It was like none of us wanted the ball,” he said. “Coach (Dennis) Simmons asked me if I wanted to be remembered like this.

“I said no.”

Coach Mike Leach felt similarly about the early problems.

“I thought we started out tentative and hesitant, and dug a hole for ourselves,” he said.

Still, Mayle said that constructive criticism is crucial for the Cougars’ growth.

“You’ve got to tell the people who didn’t do their job what they need to improve,” he said.

“You’ve also got to tell the people who did their job what they need to improve.”

Will it be enough?

Only time will tell – and it’s something the seniors are rapidly running out of.

NOTABLE NOTES
  • Redshirt freshman linebacker Peyton Pelluer, freshman Pat Porter and redshirt sophomore Sam Flor made their first career starts against Arizona.

  • Freshman defensive back Kevin Griffin played his first game, which means seven true freshmen have seen playing time so far this season.

  • Redshirt freshman running back Jamal Morrow recorded a career-high 11 catches.

  • Junior linebacker Kache Palacio recorded a career-high 10 tackles.


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