The latest on Cougar QB Connor Halliday

PULLMAN – Officially, Washington State’s bowl hopes died at the conclusion of Saturday’s loss to USC. Unofficially, the Cougars’ bowl hopes died when Connor Halliday was carted off the field midway through the first quarter.

Various media were reporting that Mike Leach said at his post-game press conference that Halliday underwent surgery for a broken fibula in his right leg. Leach actually said, “He’s having surgery.” Leach declined to confirm a leg injury.

An air cast was placed on Halliday’s right leg before he left the field.

Leach came onto the field to comfort Halliday after he was injured.

“He’s obviously very disappointed,” Leach said. “I just tried to relax him.”

Leach, who almost never comments on injuries, refused to say if Halliday – the nation’s leading passer -- will miss WSU’s remaining three games. However, backup quarterback Luke Falk said he’s “pretty sure” he will start the rest of the season.

“Connor and I have had a great relationship,” Falk said. “He’s been my mentor … my thoughts and prayers are out to him because he’s a great guy and I really love him.”

Halliday, a redshirt senior from Spokane’s Ferris High, had his legs bent back awkwardly when he was knocked to the ground by 300-pound defensive end Leonard Williams immediately after throwing a pass.

It remains to be seen if Halliday’s lifelong dream of playing in the NFL will be impacted by his injury. Washington State’s all-time leading passer came into the day leading the Football Bowl Subdivision with season passing stats of 3,833 yards, 32 touchdowns, 348 completions and 517 attempts.

Halliday told earlier in the week he’s “not too sure” he will be drafted by an NFL team. Halliday has struggled to keep 200 pounds on his 6-foot-4 frame, and only recently saw his name appear on media draft projections (Rounds 6-7, undrafted free agent).

Halliday completed 6 of 9 passes for 40 yards and an interception before he was injured. WSU coaches and players have frequently complimented Halliday for his leadership skills, particularly this season.

“He’s done a great job leading the team,” center Sam Flor said.

Wide receiver Tyler Baker said, “As a friend and a teammate, it’s always tough to see a guy go down like that. We just hope for the best.”

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