The Washington State Cougars (2-7, 1-5) were eliminated from bowl contention after a 44-17 loss to the USC Trojans (6-3, 5-2). Washington State starting quarterback Connor Halliday’s fibula was broken in the second quarter, ending his college career.
The senior quarterback has been on a record setting pace throughout the season, and was a major reason that the Cougars were still worth watching in 2014. He already set the FBS single game yardage mark against Cal (734 yards), and was on pace to rewrite the Pac-12 career yardage mark as well. But that all came to an end in the second quarter, when a USC defensive lineman rolled onto Halliday’s leg.
Halliday has arguably been one of the best quarterbacks to lead WSU, and the toughest. He suffered a lacerated liver, in the second quarter of his first career start…and stayed in the game. In fact, Halliday led the team on a game tying drive in the final two minutes of regulation.
As CougCenter’s Brian Floyd put it, this just isn’t fair.
Freshmen Luke Falk came in for Halliday, and played pretty good in his Pac-12 debut. Falk averaged 6.5 yards per completion, and tossed 370 yards with two touchdowns and one interception — the interception came at the end of the first half — after the injury to Halliday.
But it was too little, too late for Washington State as USC had built a 24 point lead before Halliday’s injury.
The Trojans scored first on a 65-yard punt return by Nelson Agholor less than three minutes into the game. USC would score another touchdown in the first quarter, when quarterback Cody Kessler found freshmen wide receiver JuJu Smith for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 41 seconds left.
Kessler torched the Cougar defense Saturday afternoon. Kessler averaged 11.4 yards per completion, as he completed 21 of 32 passes for 400 yards and five touchdowns.
WSU’s first touchdown came late in the second quarter. Falk hit redshirt freshmen wide receiver Robert Lewis on a nine yard touchdown pass with 1:33 left in the first half. It was Falk’s second touchdown pass of his young career.
The Cougars next game is at 4 pm on Saturday, November 8th at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore.