Washington State football fans were often infuriated by the erratic play of quarterback Connor Holliday during the 2013 season — which saw the Cougs go to their first bowl game in 10 years. The fans seemed to complain about how his interceptions killed any momentum that the Cougar offense earned, especially in the red zone ones — five of his 22 interceptions came from inside the 20 yard line. But, what most WSU fans often don’t realize is that Halliday was amazaballs during the last five games of the season (including the bowl game), and that he was excellent during fourth down situations.
How good you ask? Well let’s take a look at his stat line:
14/20, 70.0% completion, 144 yards, 10.3 yards per completion, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, and a QB rating of 163.48
That’s some really good numbers for a quarterback who many wanted to bench and replace with red shirt Freshmen Austin Apodaca or true freshmen Tyler Bruggman. Especially when you consider the fact that he threw zero interceptions on fourth down attempts…ZERO.
Another astounding statistic from Halliday’s performance is his accuracy. The fourth down pass was completed 70% of the time (he completed 14 of 20 attempts). His completion percentage in these situations is especially amazing when it’s compared to his season long completion percentage of 62.9%, he completed 449 passes in 17 attempts during the 2013 season.
The final surprising statistic for Halliday during fourth down, is the fact that he averaged 10.3 (10.2857… to be exact) yards per completion. That means that the Cougs could have gotten a first down on every completed pass on fourth down…based off of the average yards per completion.
So what does this mean for the Cougs in 2014?
It means that you probably are going to see WSU go for it a lot in fourth down situations, especially inside the red zone. Washington State struggled with punting during the 2013 season, and lost stud senior kicker Andrew Furney to graduation. So it is safe to assume that WSU will be increasing the number of times that goes for it on fourth down in 2014.