Connor Halliday Creates Qb Controversy, Wazzu Defense Shines In 19-6 Loss


Oct. 06, 2012; Corvallis, OR, USA; Oregon State Beavers running back Storm Woods (24) watches Washington State Cougars cornerback Damante Horton (6) break up a pass during the first quarter at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-US PRESSWIRE

You’ve probably seen at least a couple wrap ups of this game by this morning, so today, I’m just gonna give you my take on what happened. Remember yesterday I said this felt like the performance we’d been waiting for, thinking we were going to go down and get it done? Yeah I thought we might get a defensive performance like that, but I wasn’t under the impression our offense would seriously regress and not score a touchdown for the second time this season. If you would have told me we hold OSU under 20, the obvious response would be that we win the game, maybe even big.

Connor had his worst performance as a Cougar, combing through his reads just long enough to take every wrong read he has made this season and put a collage of all of them together in this game. He threw 3 interceptions and none of them made sense. Remember the UNLV interception? Late and underthrown near midfield, just like his first pick of the game to Jordan Poyer. How about the Colorado pick that began their rally? Yup, over the middle into at least quad coverage deep in their territory and Connor pulled that off again. Oh and Oregon’s pick six on a 3rd down out route to start the second half after a touchdown by the other team? Why yes, I believe pulled that off in stunningly high definition replay as well, minus the 6 for Poyer.

Halliday told us he’s always been able to “throw his receivers open, when they are covered”, but I hope he’s finding out that you can’t do that here in the Pac-12. In fact, I think the major problem is that his anticipation skills are horrible right now on anything that’s not a go route, throwing his receivers INTO coverage. It’s NOT high school Connor, adjust!

Oct. 06, 2012; Corvallis, OR, USA; Oregon State Beavers player Jordan Poyer (14) heads up field against the Washington State Cougars during the first quarter at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-US PRESSWIRE

To be fair he shouldn’t have been in the game for that final interception to start the third, after being pulled in the first half he should’ve stayed on the the bench in favor of the senior leader. But Mike Leach outsmarted himself and gave Connor a chance to rebuild himself. Tuel came in and played lights out except for 2 throws. He threw behind Bartalone on a dinky out that would’ve given the Cougs a first and goal, setting up a 13-6 deficit in the 4th rather than 13-10. Then his last ditch effort ended up getting intercepted by that man Jordan Poyer when the team was down 2 tds late. On that note, when a guy has already picked you’re offense off twice, find his number before you take the snap and throw to the opposite side of the field! It’s not that hard.

Also on a quick note, I was not impressed with the O-line yesterday. I am just about sick of watching our qb’s under immediate pressure (or any for that matter) on a 3 man rush. We must lead the nation in penalties and sacks allowed vs a 3 man rush. The effort it requires to allow a guy to repeatedly split a double team by 2 guys that stand about 300 pounds each is barfingly disgusting. The worst part is that all three guys are getting there in record time, so it’s not just happening on one side of the line. If you’re a lineman right now at Washington State, man up, grow a pair and PROTECT YOUR QUARTERBACK!

Let’s move on to the defense right quick. Besides putting together a repeat 6 minute touchdown drive to begin the second half for the offense and for the second week in a row coming out of the break, this team played amazingly well. We were hurt by occasionally conservative play calling on 3rd down and the WSU offense, who put their defense in a bind several times and still had a chance to win. Travis Long played great, Daniel Simmons played great, Justin Sagote played out of his mind great and everybody else showed up to hit somebody in the mouth.

3 turnovers and a few sacks were caused by our defensive unit, in particular the pressure caused by our blitz packages. However at the most crucial times on both of OSU’s touchdown drives, coach Breske played coverage, which just killed us. We just don’t have the coverage guys to do that and once again, it manifested itself at the worst times. It was really nice to see our guys fight through to the end of the game though on that side of the ball. We haven’t seen that yet, so they’re growing. Hopefully we get that kind of performance next week and moving forward from this unit.