WSU middle linebacker Peyton Pelluer suffered a broken foot on Saturday, ending his season, according to the Lewiston Tribune. The news comes from Pelluer's father, who confirmed it to the Tribune on Sunday night.
Pelluer disappeared from Saturday's blowout win over Oregon State in the middle of the second quarter, quietly leaving for the locker room and leading to speculation about what happened. I rewatched the game on Sunday morning and couldn't see any obvious injury — it appeared that the last play he was in for was a 3rd down hurry on a ground ball snap, in which he went low on the Beavers' quarterback.
The loss stings for a few reasons. Pelluer is, and has been, a mainstay in the middle of the Cougars' defense. He's the most experienced member of the defense, operating like a quarterback on the field for Alex Grinch. Pelluer gets people in the right places and is a proven leader on the defensive side of the ball. The loss leaves a huge leadership hole that just can't be filled; no offense to his replacements, but there's only one Pelluer.
Pelluer also cleaned up a lot of messes himself, including mopping up a poor shovel pass in the Boise State game that threw gas on the Cougs' comeback fire, leading to a 3OT win. Being a linebacker, especially a middle linebacker, is a difficult, thankless job. Pelluer was a prime example of what you want in that position. In terms of performance, the loss also stings.
Finally, it's just a damn shame. Washington State has what looks like a solid team this year, and is 3-0 heading into its final non-conference game against Nevada. Pelluer has worked tirelessly over four-plus years, leading up to this. And just two and a half games into his senior season, it's over. He was poised to have a huge final season in Pullman, and got off to a superb start before the injury. It's awful, and stings the worst.
It's likely that this is it for Pelluer. Gaining a sixth year of eligibility is difficult, and usually takes missing two full seasons to injury. He already burned his redshirt year in 2013, as well.
Pelluer is a legacy, a third-generation Coug from a family of Cougs. He's been a key to Washington State's defensive resurgence, and a steady, dependable force in the middle of the defense. He's put his head down and put in the work, setting an example for everyone else around him. And that's over now. It's a shame, and puts a damper on what's been a great start to the 2017 season.