Halliday leads Washington State past UNLV, 35-27

Associated Press Modified: September 15, 2012 at 2:16 am •  Published: September 15, 2012
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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nick Sherry had a career-game for UNLV. It just wasn't enough to help the Rebels end an eight-game losing streak and beat Washington State.

Sherry passed for 351 yards and three touchdowns and had 33 completions to tie a school record set by Jon Denton in 1996 against San Jose State. He couldn't rally the Rebels from a 15-point fourth quarter deficit and UNLV fell 35-27 to the Cougars on Friday night.

Sherry completed a pass to Jake Phillips for a four-yard touchdown with 1:44 left to make it 35-27, but the score came too late to affect the outcome. The Rebels attempted an on-side kick, but Andrei Lintz fell on the ball and the Cougars ran out the clock.

"I didn't make enough big plays," Sherry said.

Connor Halliday threw four first-half touchdown passes to lead the Cougars. He has thrown 13 career TD passes in his first six games, which is four more than former NFL star Drew Bledsoe, who threw nine touchdowns in the first six games of his Cougars' career.

"I'm where I need to be now and that's all that matters," Halliday said. "I feel like I made a decent case for myself. I haven't been told anything (about if he'll start again in the near future) by the coaching staff. We'll see what (Washington State head) coach (Mike) Leach says when we come in and watch the game film."

The 6-foot, 4-inch, 189-pound Halliday, starting in place of the injured Jeff Tuel, completed two TD passes to Marquess Wilson, one to Gabe Marks and one to Isiah Myers in the first half. For the game, sophomore Halliday completed 26 of 45 pass attempts with two interceptions for 378 yards. It was his third career 300-yard performance and second career four-TD game.

"For a guy who hadn't played football for a long time, I thought he played good," Leach said. "Obviously, (the two interceptions were) two balls he'd like to have back; one he threw behind the guy and the other one he just threw off his back foot. I thought (Halliday was) really calm for a guy that hasn't played a lot. I think his demeanor with his team was good."

Washington State (2-1), which owned a 28-20 halftime lead, never trailed and held off the Rebels, who regained possession with 40 seconds left in the game but were unable to advance past the Cougars' 42-yard line.

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