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Cougars need Connor Halliday at his best vs. ASU

By Jim Moore

At this very moment, 7:21 in the morning, I am prouder of my kids than usual.

When I asked them what today is, I thought they’d say: “Halloween.” But they both came back with the answer I was looking for: “Cougar football Thursday!”

They were also excited about Golden State’s win over the Lakers and wanted me to come upstairs so I could watch the highlights with them. Why? Because the Coug himself, Klay Thompson, scored a career-high 38 points on 15-for-19 from the field. They love Klay and everything about Washington State just like their dad.

The last time ASU came to Pullman, Connor Halliday replaced Jeff Tuel and set a Cougars freshman record with 494 yards passing to go along with four touchdowns. (AP)

I do a lot of things wrong, but when it comes to my kids, I’m raising them right.

Anyway, I’m fired up because this is a very special day, a combo platter of Halloween and Cougar football. Trick-or-treating with the kids followed by the Coug game against Arizona State. Can you mix beer, Butterfingers and booze? I’m about to find out tonight at 7:30.

Arizona State is favored by 12 and rightfully so. The Sun Devils appear to be the superior team. They’re 5-2 and flatten opponents at home. They lost to Stanford in Palo Alto and to Notre Dame in Arlington, Texas, so there are reasons to believe they’re not nearly the same team on the road.

I like to think of the last Arizona State team that came to Pullman. Remember that game two years ago? It was Dads’ Weekend. Snowed all day, and by kickoff, there was freezing rain.

Arizona State ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and that was all it took for my daughter to disappear from Martin Stadium, returning to the warmth of her Alpha Gamma Delta sorority house.

I stuck around and was glad that I did. Jeff Tuel got hurt, but that was the coming-out party for Connor Halliday, who threw for nearly 500 yards as the Cougs beat the Sun Devils.

I’m hoping for another game like that tonight. Then again, when I think of the Sun Devils, I also think about last year’s game when we got absolutely crushed in Tempe. I believe the final score was 46-7.

We were non-competitive. Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly did whatever he wanted to do against us. I went to the game with my daughter again. We flew down because I wanted to take a road trip with her before she graduated. We had two jumbo margaritas before the game, and in the fourth quarter I remember thinking I wish I’d had four. We were awful. Looked like we gave up.

Then the next week we rallied to beat the Dawgs, and since then, we’ve been OK, winning four and losing four, but at least we look like a football team again.

I don’t know what to make of tonight’s game. The last time we played at Martin Stadium, we were steamrolled in the fourth quarter by Oregon State.

Arizona State is as good as the Beavers, I would think. But Arizona State never seems to play well in cold weather, and the forecast calls for temperatures in the low 40’s and high 30’s tonight.

The question, as always: Which Halliday will we get tonight? Will he dress up as Drew Bledsoe or Chad Davis? With him, you never know from one play to the next.

Either way, I’ll still love the kid, but Connor, I’d appreciate a little more accuracy when you throw the ball downfield. Those guys in the white jerseys with the pitchforks on their helmets? You don’t want to throw to them.

What the heck, I’m guessing we’ll see enough of the good Connor to offset the bad Connor tonight.

Pass me the Snickers and gimme the Cougs and the points.

Prediction: Washington State 41, Arizona State 38 (OT)
Record against the spread: 5-3.

The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website,, and You can reach Jim at and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.