Connor Halliday Sets Division I Passing Record

Saturday’s weekend of college football saw an unprecedented number of ranked teams fall to their opponents, but a record setting performance from Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday stole the top headlines.  The senior quarterback passed the Division I record for passing yards in a single game, slinging for 734 yards on 49 of 70 pass attempts.  The staggering numbers may shock many casual fans, but in head coach Mike Leach’s high-octane offense high statistics come with the territory. To go along with the 734 yards, he also contributed a stellar six touchdown passes with no interceptions.

The late night game was filled with offense and excitement, as Halliday completed the record-breaking pass on the final play to set up a field goal.  Still, Halliday’s performance was not enough to guide the Cougars to victory, falling to California 60-59. Kicker Quentin Breshears missed a chip shot and potentially game winning 19-yard field goal.

Thanks in part to Halliday, the 2-4 Cougars have the number one ranked passing offense in the nation, however, have suffered a series of heart breaking losses.  The team faces a crucial stretch of games including three ranked opponents, and we’ll need to do a much better job giving their offense an opportunity to play from ahead than forcing them to go toe-to-toe with everyone the Cougars face.

Through six games, Halliday has thrown for an outstanding 3,052 yards, 26 touchdowns and seven interceptions.  His totals reminisce those of Leach’s old Texas Tech days where quarterback Graham Harrell achieved comparable numbers. The enormous numbers have Halliday almost 900 yards in front of the closest quarterback, and had the team won more games, could have been a candidate for the Heisman Trophy.

While Halliday might have to watch the award season glamour from home, it’s a safe bet that NFL scouts are aware of Halliday’s success, and unlike Heisman voters – they don’t emphasize winning over pure talent at this level. Look what happens to winning quarterbacks at great programs, like AJ McCarron (Alabama), Colt McCoy (Texas), Jason White (Oklahoma), Tim Tebow (Florida) or anyone who played for USC not named Carson Palmer.

Winning in college can be the result of an average quarterback leading a well rounded team, and can devalue players like Halliday who can’t put together a W no matter how well they play (734 yards and six TDs is what’s called a “good game”). If Halliday keeps this up, a fair shot at an NFL career surely awaits him.

*Section Photo credit to William Mancebo, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to James Snook, USA Today Sports

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