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Cougars have another offensive lineman get injured
As if Saturday afternoon's events on the field weren't disheartening enough to Washington State — the Cougars fell victim to Colorado's...
Seattle Times staff reporter
PULLMAN — As if Saturday afternoon's events on the field weren't disheartening enough to Washington State — the Cougars fell victim to Colorado's big comeback in a 35-34 loss — its offensive line is getting thinner by the week.
The Cougars weren't especially deep at the position entering fall camp, and Saturday, they lost senior guard-tackle Wade Jacobson with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. WSU coach Mike Leach doesn't comment on injuries, but Jacobson departed late in the first quarter and didn't return.
"We're a little thin," conceded center Elliott Bosch. "But it's just a matter of next-man-in."
With Bosch and left tackle Gunnar Eklund, the Cougars were already playing with two linemen who came to the program as walk-ons. They lost tackle Rico Forbes with a knee injury in fall camp and Dan Spitz hasn't practiced in two weeks with what Leach has called a personal problem.
Leach hasn't concealed his overall displeasure with the line, saying after the game, "They'd be a prime example of a group that wants to relax when we're ahead. The guys that are great offensive linemen are the guys that relish the opportunity to pound the guy across from him, until he makes them quit and want to look for the sideline.
"That's the not the identity we have, and that needs to change."
Connor Halliday got his second straight start, but it's not known whether he won the job over Jeff Tuel, or whether Tuel is healthy from a knee injury sustained two weeks ago.
Leach called Halliday's performance — 32 completions on 60 attempts for four touchdowns and two interceptions — "sporadic. His good stuff's good; he's not afraid to make a play. But sometimes he gets ahead of himself and tries to make too much happen. We've got to rein some of it in.
"I like the fact he pulls the trigger (throwing downfield). When he goes downfield as often as he did, there's plenty available underneath."
Halliday appeared to pass up a couple of prime opportunities to scramble for yardage, including a key, fourth-and-three chance with about eight minutes left and WSU at the Colorado 19, when he threw an interception.
"There was one (opportunity), but other than that, guys were open, and I was trying to get them the ball," Halliday said.
• Jordan Webb's winning touchdown on a 4-yard run for Colorado was his choice at the line of scrimmage, a run or pass depending on how WSU lined up. "We saw that the box was kind of thin, we checked to the run play like coach tells us and it worked out," Webb said.
• Colorado started two true freshmen at cornerback — Kenneth Crawley and Yuri Wright. Its best cornerback, Greg Henderson, played briefly in the second half but couldn't go extensively on a bad ankle. Its best safety, Ray Polk, was also out with an ankle injury.
• WSU's Marquess Wilson dropped two more passes, atop two last week at UNLV. "It's just focus," said Wilson.