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Cougs Cruise Past Beavers

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One game after being benched, Luke Falk tosses 6 touchdown passes on 37 of 49 passing for 396 yards as the WSU steam rolls Oregon State in their Pac-12 opener 52-23.

Luke Falk made his first start against Oregon State in 2014 and after Saturday’s win, made it 4 in a row against the Beavers.    

“I thought he played well, I though he got in a good rhythm, he looked very sharp most of the game,” Leach said regarding Luke Falk.

The Cougs started slow the first drive going 3 and out and it started to look like more of the same.  But as Falk has done the past 3 years under Leach’s system, takes a few games to get warmed up and then catches fire.  He did that in a big way on Saturday and appeared to have found two replacements for the graduated Gabe Marks.

Falk started off his touchdown spree by connecting with Tavares Martin Jr. and Isaiah Johnson-Mack to give the Cougs the early 14-2 lead.  He followed that up with 2 more touchdowns to each of them to give the Cougs a 28-9 advantage at halftime.

Ryan Nall, who has been a horn in the heel of the Cougs finished with 118 yards on 15 carries including a 45 yard td run to begin the 2nd half to pull the beavers within 12 at 28-16.  That was when both offense and defense stepped it to another level. 

On 3rd down and 22 from their own 43 yard line, Falk evaded to two tacklers and completed a pass across the middle to Martin Jr. that went for a 57 yard touchdown and WSU’s biggest pass play of the season.  Luke followed that up with a 10 yard touchdown pass to Kyle Sweet for his 6th touchdown pass on the day.  The next possession, the swarming Cougar defense on a corner blitz forced OSU quarterback Jake Luton to fumble and Frankie Luvu returned it 40 yards to put the Cougs up 49-16 in the 4th.

A scary moment in the 4th, Jake Luton was hit hard on a quarterback keeper and was taken off in a stretcher after 10 minutes of stoppage time.  Luton was released from a Spokane hospital within hours, so a good sign, but it hasn’t been released whether he will play next week or not. 

Tavares Martin Jr. ended the game with 10 catches for 194 yards with 3 touchdowns.  The Cougs were looking for a replacement for Gabe Marks, and they have found it in both Isaiah Johnson-Mack and Tavares Martin Jr. The 194 yards by Martin Jr. is more than Marks got in any one game, and this offense is just getting started.  Falk has so many offensive weapons that it’s scary to think how much damage they can do when this offense really gets in its groove.  “He’s dynamic, he can do a lot of things, he’s got good hands and can make people miss,” Falk said about Tavares Martine Jr.

Falk said about the performance, “We had some real explosive plays by our outside guys.  I still don’t think we’re quite to our ceiling yet,  I think we have a lot of things to improve on, but it was good to put that many points up.”

“We’ve been waiting for the outside receivers to get in a rhythm, I thought they did today, we got to build on it and continue it,” Leach said.

The Cougs running game who went wild against Montana State, only had 16 carries for 60 yards.   “I didn’t give a lot of thought to that, we kinda identify what the defense gives us and attack,”  said leach.

WAZZU takes on a lowly Nevada Wolfpack teach next week before facing the number 4 ranked USC Trojans on Friday night the week after.

https://youtu.be/DrTkrau-85w

 

Cougars Win Instant Classic in OT!

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Boise State silenced the crowd  in Martin Stadium after an interception return for a touchdown put the Broncos up 21 points in the 4th quarter.  The Cougs went on to put up 21 unanswered points with their back up quarterback Tyler Hilinski, before the end of the quarter and shock the Broncos in triple overtime 47-44.

WSU was looking to avenge a loss from last season against Boise State, and got off to a slow start.  Former Cougar legend Mark Rypien’s nephew Brett, used 6 plays to start out the game and go up 7-0 early.  The following drive, Luke Falk drove the Cougs right down the field, but on 3rd and goal, Falk was intercepted by Boise State’s Tyler Horton.  The Cougs redeemed themselves the next Boise State possession. Herc Mata’afa hit Rypien from behind and forced a fumble that Robert Taylor ran in to tie the game at 7.  The remainder of the first half was a defensive battle, the offenses couldn’t get much going and both teams went to the locker room tied up at 10.  Wazzu had only 148 yards of total offene and 116 through the air in the first half.  On how the receivers played in the first half, coach Mike Leach said,  “I thought they played timid.  They’ve got to go out there and play like they deserve to be there.”

The third quarter showed more struggles for the Cougar offense.  After Falk got hit hard a few times, back up sophomore Tyler Hilinski took over for good in the fourth quarter. “We were being cautious with Luke,”  Coach Leach said forllowing the game.  Falk took his final snap of the game late in the fourth when he was hit hard by Jabril Frazier and forced a fumble that was returned 55 yards for a toucdown by Curtis Weaver and the Broncos held a comportable 31 to 10 lead with only 10:53 to go in the game. 

Hilinski entered the game and made quick work on a 8 play, 75 yard drive lasting only 3 minutes and pulled the Cougs within two touchdowns.  The Cougs were in need of another huge defensive play, and they got it.  Bronco quarterback Montell Cozart was pressured and tried to shovel a pass and did so right to Wazzu’s Peyton Pelluer who took it back 18 yards to the end zone, and the Cougs were now within 7  with 5:44 to play.  Washington State stopped the Broncos on the next possession and the Cougs had just under 4 minutes to tie the game.  The Cougs were stopped and forced to put with 3 minutes to play.  On the Erik Powell punt, the ball landed on the back of a Bronco player and WAZZU recovered at the Boise State 24 yard line.  4 plays later, Hilinski connected with Jamal Morrow for 6 yards and the Cougs tied it up at 31 1:07 to play.  Neither team was able to score, so the game went to overtime in Pullman for the first time since the 2012 Apple Cup.

In the first over time, both teams came up with field goals.  Tavares Martin Jr. caught a 9 yard touchdown pass to put the Cougs up 7 in the 2nd overtime.  On Boise State’s possession, Cozart found Cedrick Wilson for 5 yards, and the score was tied again.  In the third overtime after the Broncos were held to a field goal, Hilinsky found Jamal Morrow in the flat on a screen pass from 22 yards out, who leaped over the pile on to give the Cougs one of their greatest victories in Martin Stadium history.

After this improbable win, the Cougs look to go 3-0 Saturday as they play the lowly Beavers who have looked terrible so far this season.  Washington State will have 2 more games to warm up for the mighty Trojans of USC.

 

 

Cougs Scratch Up Bobcats

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After 2 years of home opening losses to Big Sky teams, the Cougs put together a dominating performance on both sides of the ball and dominate Montana State 31-0 to start the season 1-0 for the first time since 2011. 

Senior quarterback Luke Falk threw for 311 yards on 33 of 39 passing, including starting the game with 20 completions in a row as the Cougs dominate the Montana State Fighting Bobcats 31-0.

There was sense of calm in this team throughout the game.  WSU has struggled with running quarterbacks made it a point early on not to give up the big play and to stay grounded defensively by defending for the long pass as well as the option.  Bobcats quarterback Chris Murray was running for his life most of the game.  The Cougs held Murray to 5 of 12 passing for 28 yards, most of which were in the second half when the game was all but over for the Bobcats.  Murray added 55 yards on the ground, but collectively, the Cougs held the Bobcats to 143 yards of total offense.

Coach Mike leach said following the game, “We had a steadiness and consistency that I thought was positive for a first game.”  The Cougs opening drive took over six minutes and saw nothing deep, just consistent 5 to 10 yard completions ending in a shovel pass to James Williams who took it in for the score.

The following drive was more of the same mixed in with more running plays.  On third and goal from the Bobcat 6, Falk connected with Tavares Martin Jr. over the middle and gave the Cougs a 14-0 lead.  Just before the half, Isaiah Johnson-Mack fumbled Falk’s screen pass at the WSU 43 yard line.  A missed 42 yard field goal by the Bobcat’s Luke Daly kept Montana State off the board.

The Cougs went up 21-0 early in the 3rd on a Jamal Morrow 29 yard run.  Their fourth touchdown came early in the fourth on another shovel pass from Falk to Williams who scampered 29 yards for the touchdown.

The Cougs used short passes combined with the running game for much of the night.  They used up a lot of clock and didn’t feel like they really tapped into their offense.  It was a balance attack with 150 yards on the ground and 351 yards through the air.  Wazzu welcomes in Boise State next week and it feels like we will see more of their arsenal against the Broncos.  This was a great warm up game for the Cougs who had 2 heartbreak openers to start the season the past 2 years.  Kickoff will be at 7:30 on ESPN.

 

WSU 2017 Preveiw

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The Washington State Cougars look to improve on the last couple of seasons and take another step closer to the PAC-12 title.  The Cougs finished 9-4 in 2015 and 8-5 in 2016. In 2016 they got off to a slow start losing their opening 2 games to Eastern Washington and Boise State, but they ran off an 8 game winning streak following that before losing their last 3 games of the season including a Holiday Bowl loss to Minnesota.  This season hopes to be different for WAZZU and they have a favorable schedule to start the season.

WSU’s leading receiver Gabe Marks and River Cracraft moved on, but there are plenty of new guys looking to take that role.  One of the big shockers on signing day was California 4-star wide receiver Jamire Calvin signing with WSU after committing to Nebraska.  Isaiah Johnson Mack is 6’3 target who is now wearing number 9 like Gabe Marks, and has looked good so far in fall camp.  Redshirt Freshman Renard Bell stands 5’8, but has shown great speed and illusiveness during the scrimmages.  6’5 receiver CJ Dimry is also a big target for quarterback Luke Falk.  CJ was a senior last season but because of a medical redshirt, he is able to play one more season and look to see him used more this time around.  Kyle Sweet will step into River’s role more this season, as the junior has continued to get more targets.  The three headed monster of James Williams, Gerard Wicks, and Jamal Morrow who helped WSU to their most rushing yards in the Leach regime will be back for one last hoorah.  The Cougs only 1st team pre-season all-American for 2016 and 2017, Cody O’Connell will be back on the offensive line to protect Luke Falk. Defensively, the Cougar secondary has gotten quicker which was a huge problem the last few games of the season.

Sept. 2nd – Montana State- W 52-17, 1-0

Although the Cougs have opened up the past 2 seasons with losses to consecutive Big Sky teams, this one should smooth sailing.  The Bobcats finished 4-7, but have a returning sophomore quarterback in Chris Murray.  That won’t be enough as the Cougs will cruise in their home opener.

Sept. 9th- Boise State- W 45-35, 2-0

The Broncos are always tough and this is a rematch of last year’s game where the Cougs had a chance to win with a minute to go but couldn’t cash in.  Brett Rypien out of Spokane is dangerous, but being a home game at Martin Stadium, the Cougs offense will be too much and will hold on and start the season 2-0.

Sept. 16th- Oregon State- W 59-21, 3-0

The Beavers coming off 2 disappointing seasons have former Idaho quarterback and JC transfer Jake Luton that stands 6’7 and returning running back Ryan Nall who was one of the leagues leaders in yards per carry at over 6 yards.  The Beaver defense is still suspect and the Cougs have way too much talent.

Sept. 23rd- Nevada- W 62-17, 4-0

The Wolfpack finished last season 5-7 and have questions in the quarterback and running back positions as well as a new coaching staff.  This will be a good warm up game for the Cougs before the face one of the nation’s top teams.  Cougs cruise in this one and should have all their ducks in a row for their matchup the following week.

Sept. 29th- USC – L 41-30, 4-1

The Trojans, who won their final 9 games of the season after starting 1 and 2, looked to be one of the most dominant teams in the country by season’s end.   USC’s top recruiting class each year brings them with their 1st team pre-season All American quarterback Sam Darnold who is going to give the Cougs defense fits.  Good offensive teams like Washington and Colorado, had their way with the Cougar defense last year.   This is an improved Cougar defense but USC has one of the best defensive fronts which will play havoc on the Cougar line.  USC starts off the season by playing Stanford and Texas in their first 4 games, so they will be ready for what the Cougs will bring.

October 7th- at Oregon- W- 45-31, 5-1

The Ducks are coming off an extremely disappointing season going just 4 and 8.  Oregon will be returning 4 year starter Royce Freeman at Running back who had some big runs against the Cougs last year.  They also have a new coaching regime and running a different offense then we are used to seeing at Oregon.  It’s always tough playing a game at Autzen Stadium, but the Cougs will pull away late to beat the Ducks.

October 13th- at California- W 52-35, 6-1

The Golden Bears are coming off an average season but lost their quarterback and it is a toss between three who is actually going to start.  Tre Watson and Vic Enwere will anchor the back field, but another new coach and Cal will not be able to hang with the Cougs potent offense and WAZZU becomes bowl eligible.

October 21st- Colorado- W 48-31, 7-1

The Buffaloes won the Pac-12 South last year, but lost their 4 year starter at quarter back as well as 9 starters on a top 20 defense last season.  They are going to be decent, but not as good as last year, and playing on the road will just be too much for Colorado.

October 28th- at Arizona- W 45-20, 8-1

The Wildcats won only 3 games last year including a 69-7 loss last year to the Cougs.  Arizona was the conference’s best rushing team last year, and J.J. Taylor is the guy, but they don’t have much of a passing game.  It is going to be a struggle for them this year as well.

November 4th- Stanford- W 35-31, 9-1

The Cardinal start the season ranked 14th in the nation and are always tough under David Shaw.  Stanford is returning 8 starters on both sides of the ball, and finished last season off very strong.  Stanford did lose their Heisman candidate Christian Mccaffrey to the NFL, but his replacement Bryce Love appears to be a good fill in behind the strong offensive front.  Look for this to be a battle similar to the 2015 game, but if the Cougs can control the game defensively, they should be able to pull it off.

 

November 11th- at Utah- W 30-27, 10-1

The Utes have had 9 wins the past 3 seasons and return starter Troy Williams. Utah has been good defensively but not much offense. The Cougs will pull this one out late in a low scoring affair for Cougar standards.

November 25th- at Washington- L 45-38 10-2

The Huskies made it to the college football playoff a year ago, but lost quite a bit on the defensive side and their top receiver John Ross to the NFL.  The Cougs have only won the apple cup once under Mike Leach, and playing at Husky Stadium is always a struggle.  The last two years have been lopsided victories for Washington.  The Cougs will close the gap, but still will struggle giving up points.

The Cougs finish 10-2 and lose the Pac-12 North to the Huskies who have an easier schedule by avoiding USC this season.  There are a few games that could go either way and boost the Cougs momentum.  The USC game is possible for the Cougs, but will be a tough one.  If they can pull that off, they may win the Pac 12 North.

 

 

 

 

 

Buffs Trip Cougs, Apple Cup Looms

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The Colorado Buffaloes used a quarterback/running back combination to rush for 250 yards and power through the Cougs in Boulder 38-24.  In the first ranked matchup the Cougs have had since early October, they were looking to make a statement and come away from the high altitude with their biggest win of the season over the tenth rank buffaloes.

On the first drive of the game for the Buffaloes, quarterback Sefo Liufau drove the Buffs down the field in 10 plays giving the ball to the back Philli Lindsay in the last 3 plays to gather up 34 yards as Colorado took the early 7-0 lead.  The Cougs answered back the following drive when Falk found Robert Lewis from 15 yards out to tie the game at 7.  The next drive for WSU, Falk threw a nice ball over the shoulder of Jamal Morrow and he took it in for the 46 yard touchdown completion to put the Cougs up seven at the end of the 1st.

Just when the Cougs looked like they had found their stride, the Buff defense tightened up. Colorado tied up the game early in the second on a quarterback keeper from Sefo Liufau.  The Cougs took a 17-14 lead into the locker room.  The Cougs seemed to be just be a little off this game.  Luke Falk finished under fifty percent passing for the first time in his college career, and they just didn’t seem to have control of the game like they did for most of the year.  The Pac-12 all time leader in catches, Gabe marks dropped an easy touchdown in the first half, and also misread a fade pass for another touchdown which could have had something to do with the thin air.  “I didn’t think we consistently did our job on offense, defense, either one,” Coach Mike Leach said following the game. “There were some key downs that they rose to better than we did.”

In the second half, the Buffaloes took control and put together long drives, and controlled most of it on the ground.  They took the lead on their first drive of the second half when Liufau rushed the ball for 16 yards and 7 yards respectively to put the Buffaloes up 21-17.  The Buffaloes cruised from there, with no punts in the 2nd half and the thin air of Colorado appeared to tire both the offense and defense of WSU out.   Midway through the 4th Philli Lindsay had a 13 yard rush that put the Buffaloes up 38-24 and put the game out of reach for the Cougs.  “I think we definitely missed some opportunities early on,” Luke Falk said after the game.  “We gotta look at the film tomorrow, and move on.” 

In the grand scheme of things, the loss doesn’t hurt the Cougs, because they have the chance to win the Pac-12 north and play for the Pac-12 championship with a win against the Huskies on Friday in the Apple Cup.  It seemed to me that the Cougs may have been looking ahead to the Apple Cup and if they play the Buffs in the Pac-12 championship in Palo Alto, the game will go better for the Cougs.

 

Cougs Roll Cal, Ascend to 1st in Pac-North

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Senior River Cracraft pulled in 9 catches for 87 yards and 3 touchdowns and Gabe Marks hauled in 2 of his own including a record breaking catch to dominate the Cal Golden Bears 56-21.  After losing their first 2, the Cougs have rolled off 8 straight wins and after the Huskies loss at home against USC, are in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 North. 

Another late night game for the Cougs, and they got it started early.  Kaleb Fossum returned the first punt of the game 75 yards to give Wazzu the early 7-0 lead.   This was the first punt return for WSU since the 2005 season. “It was an awesome moment, I’ll remember it for the rest of my life,” said Fossum.  “I kind of blacked out, almost forgot to hold for the PAT.” 

In the second quarter, Cracraft started to take off.  After an 8 yard touchdown pass from Davis Webb to Jordan Veasy for Cal, Falk threw a 22 yard touchdown pass to put the Cougs up 21-7.  A  Couple of drives later, Cracraft caught another touchdown, this time from 5 yards out to give the Cougs a 28-7 halftime lead over the Bears.

Cracraft continued to do work in the third catching an end zone fade from 9 yards away to give him his third touchdown pass of the game.  The next offensive possession, River tore his ACL on a 3rd and 5 which has ended his career as a Coug.  Leach did not comment on this after the game, so we will hear more from Coach about river during Monday afternoon’s press conference.

When Cracraft went out, Gabe Marks took the spotlight.  Late in the third, Marks caught a 16 yard fade route in the corner of the end zone to break the Pac-12 record for catches in a career.  Marks said following the game, that he kept the ball despite the referees’ efforts to get it back.  Luke Falk finished the game with 373 yards on 36 of 50 passing and 5 touchdowns.

The Cougs go on the road, in their toughest game of the season to face the number 12 Colorado Buffaloes who are early 4.5 point favorites.  The Cougs are going to need to be careful not to take this team lightly and have a let down game before going into the biggest Apple Cup in history.

Cougars Stomp Arizona

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Luke Falk completed 92 percent of his passes on Saturday, going 32 for 35 with 311 yards and 4 touchdowns in as the Cougs blast the Arizona Wildcats 69-7 at Martin Stadium. 

WSU is coming off a come from behind victory against the lowly Oregon State Beavers last week, and it was evident early on that they weren’t going to try and coast by this 2-6 Arizona team.  The past 3 games, the  Cougs have been scoreless in the 1st quarter.  This game would be a different story as the Cougs came out firing on all cylinders.   Early on Arizona’s Brandon Dawkins threw an interception to  Shalom Loani Deep in Cougar territory.  Falk capitalized on the mistake, and threw a shovel pass to James Williams and he scampered in for the touchdown to put the Cougs up 10-0 early.  On the next Cougar possession, running back Gerard Wicks ran for 19, 11, and 1 yard in consecutive plays to lead to the Cougar touchdown.  The next drive, Falk connected with a fade pass to Gabe Marks in the corner of the end zone to put the Cougs up 24-0 in the first quarter.  This was the type of boost to get the ball rolling for the Cougs.  “I thought we played together the whole game.  One of those things where everything we touched worked,” Mike Leach said. “We talked all week about having a complete game, so we tried to focus on that.” 

The Cougs continued to effectively move the ball in the 2nd quarter, putting two more touchdowns on the board.  The one defensive let down Saturday was in the final 2 minutes of the 2nd when Arizona’s 2nd quarterback in the system Anu Solomon threw a nicely thrown ball over the defenders to Cam Denson  for a 47 yard strike to make the score 38-7 at half.

The Cougs just rolled from there and put up 69 points on the Wildcats.  “Once that ball starts rolling downhill, it’s hard to stop.   We’re definitely not good and they definitely aren’t that bad,” coach Leach said.  Late in the 3rd, the future quarterback, freshman Tyler Hilinski got in the game and threw for 163 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 72 yard touchdown pass to River Cracraft for his first collegiate touchdown pass.

The Cougs played their most complete game on both sides of the ball in the Leach era. The Cougs look like they can hang with anyone when they are playing this well both offensively and defensively.  They take on California next Saturday who lost to the Huskies 66-27 at home on Saturday.

WSU Tops Devils In the Desert

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WSU quarterback Luke Falk exploded for 398 yards on 42-53 passing and 3 touchdowns as the Cougs hang on in the desert 37-32 over the Arizona State Sun Devils and improve to 5-2 on the season. 

The Cougs started the game, with another slow first quarter.  It took the offense almost the entire half to find their stride.  Gabe Marks said following the game, “Luke sometimes takes some time to see what they are giving him.”  Their offense was held to a field goal until midway through the second quarter following a Sun Devil touchdown, Robert Taylor returned the kickoff 100 yards to ignite the team and pull them within 4 points at 14-10.  On the next possession, quarterback Luke Falk began to click.  He drove the Cougs down by getting consistent gains throughout the possession.  Falk completed a 9 yard pass to Tavares Martin Jr. for a touchdown that gave WAZZU at 17-14 lead at half.

The Sun Devil defense was putting the pressure on Falk the entire game.  This was the same defensive front that sidelined UCLA’s quarterback Josh Rosen for the last two games.  Falk was sacked 7 times in the game and looked hobbled for a good majority of it but battled through.  Don’t be surprised if he sat out next week’s game against Oregon State to rest up.  When asked how he felt following the game, Falk said, “I feel great that we got the win.”  Under coach Leach, the Cougs don’t talk about injuries and it is hard to get a good feel on what their status is.

The Coug rushing game was only able to get 7 carries in the game because Arizona State was loading the box and giving Cougs the opportunity to pass at will.  “They just loaded the box, gave different looks and different fronts.  We’re a pass heavy team, so why wouldn’t we do that?”  Falk said about the negative run yardage in the game.  Early in the 4th Falk found Gabe Marks on a streak route down the sideline for a 52 yard touchdown strike to put the Cougs up 37-21. “I saw that Gabe had single coverage, and shook the crap out of the guy,” Falk said on the big play.  The Cougs withstood a furious rally from the Sun Devils and were able to hold on for the five point win.  “We started off slow, but ultimately did a nice job of having a gutsy win,” Falk said.  

Mike Leach made national headlines this week, because of his comments regarding Arizona State stealing their play signs, and was fined $10,000.  Coach responded to many of the questions in the post game press conference by saying that he respectfully declined to respond to the questions so that he would not get publicly reprimanded or fined. 

The Cougs go on the road again next Saturday to face the 2-5 Oregon State Beavers who lost to the Huskies 41-17 Saturday.  If the Cougars do rest Falk, this would be a good week to do it.  This will be another late night Cougars game at 7:45 on ESPN 2.

Cougs Fly By Ducks

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The Cougs used a combined 651 yards on offense including a WSU record 280 yards on the ground to blow away the Ducks in Pullman 51-33.
Two teams who came into Saturday’s game at 1-2 and 2-2 respectively after pre-season expectations of competing for the conference title, were looking to avoid their 3rd loss in this early season.  Two high flying offenses squared off and WAZZU was looking to get back on track after the bye week, but they would have to try to solve Oregon’s running game, and their future number one draft pick Royce Freeman. 
The Cougs had yet to score on an opening drive this season which is what they excelled in a year ago.  For the 1st time this season, the Cougs kicked the ball off to start the game, and the defense was called on to make an early stop.  With a sold out crowd of 32,952 on hand, the defense answered the call forcing the Ducks to punt.
The Cougs used their first drive and went 65 yards in 6 plays ending with a Luke Falk to Gabe Marks touchdown over the middle from 7 yards out to give the Cougs an early 7-0 lead.   The Ducks answered right back driving 42 yards with Freeman running it in from 11 yards out to tie it at 7.   The Cougs and ducks traded scores again in the 2nd quarter and it remained tied until 6 minutes left in the half, when Jamal Morrow found the endzone from  10 yards away to put the Cougs up 7, 21-14.  On the following Ducks possession, the WAZZU defense put the clamps down.  Robert Barber sacked Montana State transfer Dakota Prukop for an 8 yard loss and the Ducks were forced to punt again.  Falk then led a methodical 10 play 55 yard touchdown drive ending in a Gerard Wicks 2 yard run that at up nearly 5 minutes on the clock leaving only 37 seconds left in the half to put the Cougs up 28-14. 
To start the 3rd, the Cougs had two straight turnover on downs inside the 5 yard line, and Royce Freeman broke a 75 yard touchdown run to close the Cougar lead.  But the Cougar run game started to wear down the mediocre Duck defense, and freshman running back James Williams put a cap on it with a 38 yard touchdown run that ended it a Cougar dog pile in the end zone similar to the Phillip Bobo play in the 1992 Apple Cup.
“I felt like we had really good energy the whole time.  I felt the whole game we were highly motivated,” Mike Leach said after the game.  The Cougs exploited the man to man defense that the Ducks were playing by using a lot of motion.  “We haven’t played a team that runs as much man as they do,” said Leach.
Quarterback Luke Falk was 36-48 with 371 and a touchdown.  The Cougar defense held the Ducks in check and were able to control the game offensively and score at will. Following the game, Falk said, “I felt really good out there.”   Royce Freeman finished with 138 yards on the ground, which included the one carry of 75 yards.

 
The Ducks fall to 2-3 on this early season, and are a far cry from the team that played in the National Championship just two years ago.  The Cougs started the season 0-2 after high expectations, and have seemed to find their stride as they have looked impressive in their last 2 games.  They face the 15th ranked Stanford Cardinal on The Farm in Palo Alto next week at 7:30.  Stanford had a disappointing loss Friday night against the Huskies and have 4 injured corner backs that should play into the Cougars Favor.

Cougs Stumble On Smurf Turf

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The Cougs drop a heartbreaker in Boise Saturday night after  a hail mary by quarterback Luke Falk doesn’t connect and the Cougs fall to 0-2 on the season.
After a disappointing loss last week to Eastern Washington, the Cougs were looking to bounce back against an always tough Boise State Bronco team on the blue turf.  On the Cougs first drive of the Game, Falk drove WSU down to the Bronco 23 yard line.  On 3rd and 9, Falk threw an interception to Tyler Horton who returned it 85 yards for a Bronco touchdown to put the Cougs in an early hole.  “The ball sailed on me and it was returned for a touchdown,” Falk said.
The Cougars defense struggled last week giving up over 500 yards of offense, but regrouped well giving up only one touchdown in the first half on Boise State’s opening possession.  The problem for the majority of the game was the Cougar’s offense and their Red Zone woe’s.  The Cougs had 4 turnovers in the red zone, reminiscent of Leach teams in his first couple years of coaching WSU. 
They started to get in their grove for the first time this season late in the 3rd when Falk found Tavares Martine Jr. for a 50 yard TD strike to give the Cougs their 2nd score of the game.  With 4 minutes left in the 4th, Falk connected with senior Gabe Marks for 33 yards to erase a 17 point deficit and pull the Cougs within 3.  The Cougs were given one last chance with 53 seconds left and one timeout from their own 20 yard line. The Cougs were able to muster three 8 yard connections and forced to use their final timeout with 4 seconds remaining at the WSU 45.  Falk had one last chance to win it, but was unsuccessful. 
The Cougs woke up in the 4th quarter but it was too late.  Coach Leach after the game said, “We beat Boise State in almost every category except toughness.  We aren’t tough enough, and that’s going to change.” Falk was 55-71 with 480 yards and 4 touchdowns, but only able to gain 40 yards on the ground.  The Cougs fall to 0-2 and have an easier game this week against the Idaho Vandals before their bye week, followed by the Oregon Ducks coming to Pullman.

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