Washington State's 2014 football season hit a new low point on Saturday and it wasn't just because USC dominated the Cougars on the way to a 44-17 victory. The loss was overshadowed by the injury Connor Halliday suffered in the first quarter. Halliday got rolled up by a pair of lineman and appeared to suffer a serious leg or ankle injury. He had to be taken off the field on a cart.
The result on the field was an embarrassment in what is quickly becoming an abysmal season, but the final score is the secondary concern. It's impossible not to feel completely gutted for Halliday. His leg got caught under falling offensive lineman and it was obvious early Halliday was hurt. He laid on the field yelling in pain in a scene that everyone hopes to never see. Halliday remained down for several minutes with players from both teams coming over to show support while the training staff was tending to him. He was eventually loaded onto a stretcher and taken off the field on a cart. It was impossible to tell what the injury was, but it appeared to be a significant ankle or leg injury.
There is almost a lore around Halliday for his toughness. After playing through a lacerated liver and taking nearly every snap the last two years despite taking a constant pounding, it was almost as if he was too tough to get hurt again. Mike Leach has called him the toughest quarterback he's ever coached. Seeing Halliday down and in the pain he was in was just brutal. He's played through some very rough times and like Travis Long, deserves a better ending. If the injury is significant the only hope is it will be a quick and complete recovery that doesn't impact his ability to get a shot at the next level.
The game itself was another in a string of disappointing results. USC's speed overwhelmed the Cougars on defense and special teams. The coverage units were a disaster again, allowing another return touchdown. The secondary wasn't any better, getting routinely roasted by the Trojans. Cody Kessler threw for 400 yards and five touchdowns on just 32 attempts. The young members of the secondary may be good Pac-12 players one day, but that day is not now.
The offense didn't do much after Halliday went out. Luke Falk showed about as well as he could, throwing for 370 yards, but the Cougars really struggled to sustain significant drives. WSU played without River Cracraft and Vince Mayle had the worst day catching the ball of his career. He dropped at least three passes, including a touchdown.
There have been a lot of lows this season, but this feels like the lowest yet.
Get well soon, Connor.