SEATTLE – Washington State will return to Pullman early this morning with a handful of nicks and bruises to tend to.
Quarterback Connor Halliday is the most notable of the bunch, as he limped off the field in the third quarter of WSU’s 55-17 loss to No. 5 Stanford on Saturday favoring his left hip area.
Running back Teondray Caldwell and cornerback Damante Horton also left the game with apparent injuries, and neither returned to the game. Caldwell was taken to the locker room, but returned to the sideline in full uniform. Horton spent the rest of the game standing on the sideline without his helmet.
The Cougars played without sophomore receiver Brett Bartolone, who was limited in practice all week and didn’t play last week against Idaho, either. They did regain the services of sophomore buck linebacker Destiny Vaeao, who started WSU’s first two games before missing the last two with an undisclosed ailment.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Apodaca took a couple of big hits, but was apparently OK and finished the game. He also threw his first career touchdown pass, a 47-yarder to Gabe Marks midway through the fourth quarter.
WSU coach Mike Leach, who doesn’t discuss injuries, said he didn’t necessarily plan to insert true freshman quarterback Tyler Bruggman if Apodaca hadn’t been able to return.
“We didn’t really expect that to happen,” Leach said. “We might have brought Connor back.”
Asked if he expects Halliday to be available next week, Leach said, “Yes.” Halliday was not made available to media afterward.
Apodaca finished 15 of 29 passing for 138 yards, two touchdowns and an interception that was returned for a touchdown. His second scoring throw was an 8-yard toss to Rickey Galvin with 27 seconds left in the game.
Freshman cornerback Daquawn Brown, who played most of the game in place of usual starter Nolan Washington, had to be helped off the field late in the fourth quarter. He appeared to be favoring his left leg.
Cardinal caught WSU off guard
Stanford threw the ball 17 times in the first half and 28 times total, numbers that surprised many observers of the typically smashmouth program.
It surprised the Cougars, too.
“I commend their coaches. We came in and we expected them to do what they did (in) previous games, which is not what they did,” WSU linebacker Darryl Monroe said. “It kind of caught us off guard.”
State products hurt WSU
Joshua Garnett, a 6-foot-5, 314-pound sophomore offensive guard from Puyallup, got the start for Stanford in place of pre-season All-American David Yankey.
Yankey did not make the trip with the Cardinal because of a family issue that required him to return home. School officials did not specify the nature of the problem.
Garnett wasn’t the only home-state product to hurt the Cougs.
Michael Rector, a 6-foot-1, 187-pound wide receiver from Gig Harbor, caught two passes for 93 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown strike from Kevin Hogan with 8:45 left in the third quarter.
Thompson gets in game
Make it five true freshmen who have played for WSU this season.
With sophomore receiver Brett Bartolone still sidelined by an apparent injury, walk-on freshman receiver John Thompson saw his first collegiate action Saturday.
Thompson emerged as one of the more pleasant surprises of WSU’s preseason camp, earning praise from coach Mike Leach for his reliability and toughness at the inside “H” receiver position. He’s a lifelong WSU fan who attended Bethel High School in Spanaway, Wash.
WSU has also played freshmen Isaac Dotson (safety), River Cracraft (receiver), Riley Sorenson (offensive lineman) and Brown.
Thompson caught two passes for 6 yards.