Cougars get more bad news on injury front

ISIAH BARTON

SEPARATED SHOULDER. Torn anterior-cruciate ligament. Those are typical quarterback injuries. Coach Paul Wulff said redshirt freshman Connor Halliday's season-ending lacerated liver suffered during Saturday's 30-27 overtime loss against Utah is more along the lines of a car-accident injury, according to the internist at Pullman Regional Hospital. Meanwhile, WR Isiah Barton's season is over.

Wulff said during his Sunday teleconference that he believes Halliday's injury came during the second quarter when he was hit late by a linebacker. Despite that, the signal-caller guided the Cougars (4-7 overall, 2-6 Pac-12) on two late scoring drives to send the game into overtime. Halliday completed 21 of 48 passes for 290 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions.

"He had an unbelievably courageous outing," Wulff said. "I am unbelievably proud of his effort. He did a heck of a job considering all of those things."

He said he knew after the game that Halliday was not feeling well and he was taken to PRH. Wulff said evaluations on Halliday lasted until about 11 p.m. Saturday. He is in the intensive care unit and Wulff said Halliday will stay there until Monday or Tuesday.

Wulff said what "surprised everyone" is that Halliday did not suffer an injury to his ribs.

This marks the second usual injury for a starting WSU quarterback this year. Junior Jeff Tuel did not start the season opener as he was battling the flu, but entered the Sept. 3 game against Idaho State in the first quarter. Three plays later, his season was derailed by a fractured left clavicle.

"We've had some unfortunate things go against our team with injuries since the beginning of the year," Wulff said. "It's really strange."

He said Tuel will not play at 4:30 p.m. Saturday against Washington (6-5, 4-4) at CenturyLink Field (TV: Versus). Sophomore David Gilbertson will serve as senior Marshall Lobbestael's backup at quarterback. Lobbestael, who has started seven games this year, has completed 179 of 299 passes for 2,240 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

HALLIDAY'S INJURY WAS not the only bad news the Cougars received on the injury front. Senior wide receiver Isiah Barton saw his WSU career end during the second half when he suffered a torn anterior-cruciate ligament in his right knee. That occurred without contact, but Wulff said that is how about 70 percent of those injuries happen. Former WSU wide receiver Chris Jordan was injured in similar fashion during the 2003 Apple Cup.

In addition, junior defensive end Adam Coerper, who had a great game, strained his left knee Saturday and is questionable to play in the Apple Cup. Coerper also missed several games after injuring his right knee Sept. 17 at San Diego State.

Wulff said redshirt freshman defensive tackle Kalafitoni Pole (bereavement) will play against the Huskies after missing Saturday's game. He also is hopeful that sophomore linebacker Sekope Kaufusi, who is scheduled for offseason surgery on his shoulder, senior left tackle David Gonzales (ankle) and junior right tackle Dan Spitz (ankle) are ready to play against UW.

FIRST, WSU WILL have to get past Saturday's setback. Wulff said he reviewed the final play before sophomore kicker Andrew Furney's field goal that sent the game into overtime. On the previous play, Halliday threw a pass over the middle that appeared to be caught in the end zone by sophomore wide receiver Marquess Wilson. But the ball was placed at the Utes' 1-yard line and was not reviewed. The Cougars did not have a timeout to stop the clock and challenge the call.

"I personally try and be unbiased," said Wulff, adding that he reviewed photos and video of the play. "I think if you look at it closely, you see where his body is. I think he was across the line. I wish they would have reviewed it."

Wulff conceded that the television cameras might not have provided conclusive evidence to overturn the call, though.

He said he did not receive an explanation from the officials for why the play was not reviewed.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Redshirt freshman wide receiver Kristoff Williams threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to classmate Bobby Ratliff on Saturday. Despite that, Wulff said there are no plans to use Williams out of the Wildcat formation against the Huskies.

  • WSU will not advance to a bowl game but Wulff said he does not expect a letdown against UW.

    "We've got great, tough kids that like to compete," he said. "We're fighting and playing hard football. I don't see any reason why we won't be able to do it again."

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