This week we’re diving a bit deeper into some Pac-12 quarterback stats, as the field this season is going to be so impressive. On Tuesday, we took a look at Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, who took major snaps as a redshirt sophomore and blossomed as a junior. Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday is similar in that regard. He started five games (and played in nine) as a redshirt sophomore in 2012, but came into his own with 13 starts last season for the Cougars.
As a redshirt sophomore, he took over the starting job as Jeff Tuel nursed an MCL injury. Looking at his season-by-season statistics, it’s pretty obvious to see that he made major strides between those two seasons -- when you see yourself as the definitive starter, it gets a bit easier to play and that’s one of the biggest differences for Halliday between 2012 and 2013.
By looking more into Halliday's junior season statistics and breaking them down into three- and four-game sections, it's easier to see when and where his improvements were made. By doing this, it’s easier to see when he was getting a better grasp on different aspects. Granted, the defenses are all differently played and differently skilled, but keeping that in mind, it’s still quite impressive how much better his numbers were during the final four games of the season as opposed to the first three games of the season.
For the most part, Halliday's statistics all improve -- at least by a bit -- in each time period, except for the third quarter against Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona State -- arguably the toughest three-game grouping in Washington State’s schedule last season. Considering the opponents, the numbers weren’t that bad. Plus, his 42.5 percent completion rate on throws of 10-plus yards during that three-game stretch was his best of the season. His 9.8 yards per completion isn’t too shabby when considering those three teams only allowed conference opponents to gain 6.6 yards per completion during the Pac-12 season.
Halliday was playing his best at the end of the season, which puts him in a great position going into the 2014 season. He threw for 34 touchdowns last season (second-best in the Pac-12), so that certainly isn’t his problem. His main improvement will need to be cutting back on turnovers (as any coach would say). If he can improve his accuracy and cut back on interceptions, he should be able to put the Cougars in a good position this season.
Redshirt junior season (full-season statistics):
Passing yards per game: 353.6
Completion percentage: 62.9
Passing attempts per game: 55
Passing TDs: 34
3rd down conversion percentage: 36.7
Completions of 10-plus yards: 41.4
Auburn, USC, Southern Utah:
Passing yards per game: 314
Completion percentage: 64.6
Passing attempts per game: 48
Passing TDs: 6
Third down conversion percentage: 39.5
Completions of 10+ yards: 41.9
Idaho, Stanford, Cal:
Passing yards per game: 350.3
Completion percentage: 65.8
Passing attempts per game: 48.7
Passing TDs: 7
Third down conversion percentage: 34.4
Completions of 10-plus yards: 38.5
Oregon State, Oregon, Arizona State:
Passing yards per game: 368.3
Completion percentage: 58.9
Passing attempts per game: 64
Passing TDs: 7
Third down conversion percentage: 30.8
Completions of 10-plus yards: 42.5
Arizona, Utah, Washington, Colorado State:
Passing yards per game: 374.8
Completion percentage: 63.4
Passing attempts per game: 58
Passing TDs: 14
Third down conversion percentage: 40.4
Completions of 10-plus yards: 42.2