Two-minute drill: WSU's Falk plays like a vet

LUKE FALK HAD THE POISE of a senior and the precision of a surgeon Saturday afternoon in leading Washington State to a 39-32 road win over Oregon State, ending a four-game losing streak. The Cougar receiving corps didn't miss a beat without the injured River Cracraft, particularly Tyler Baker, who tied a career high with nine receptions.

CF.C Players of the Game:
Luke Falk led the offense in his first start as the redshirt freshman played with the poise of a three-year veteran. Falk was able to find room in the pocket, as he threw five touchdown passes to five different receivers. The Beavers were not able to pressure Falk because of a strong performance by the Cougar offensive line. Falk also had a hand, as he showed good pocket awareness, scrambled on occasion and threw it away when necessary. Falk took shots downfield when spacing allowed for it. In the end, Falk completed 44 of 61 passes (72.1 percent) for 471 yards.

On defense, Kache Palacio recorded two sacks, one during a drive toward the end of the third quarter and the Beavers trailing by two. It was sack for 11 yards and ultimately forced the Beavers to settle for a field goal. Palacio was part of a defensive effort that applied heat on OSU quarterback Sean Mannion, key in limiting deep play-action attempts that were gashing the Cougar secondary early in the game.

Cougar Surprises:
  • Baker was a machine. The walk on proved to be a target as reliable as Cracraft, as the junior from Texas caught nine passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. In his past two games, Baker has 18 receptions for 202 yards.

  • The running game provided a much-needed balance to the Cougars’ offense as Jamal Morrow effectively ran against the Beavers. Morrow produced two 13-yard runs during the first quarter, one that set up a scoring drive where Falk found Isiah Myers for a 5-yard touchdown. Morrow ran nine times for 46 yards. All totaled, the Cougars ran 13 times against Oregon State, including several carries that helped extend drives.

    Eye-popping statistics:
  • Falk’s completion percentage of 72.1 percent was spectacular, so much so that it was a season-high for WSU. HREF=//>Connor Halliday's highest completion percentage in a game was 71.4 percent, in the season opener against Rutgers. Falk was beyond efficient and did not throw a pick.

  • The Cougars had a significant edge over Oregon State in terms of penalties. WSU was flagged only five times, while Oregon State was hit with 10 penalties for 100 yards. There was a brutal gaffe where the officials blew the whistle dead against WSU that wiped out a touchdown, but the Cougars scored on the next play. OSU seemed to fall apart in the second half, committing multiple 15-yard penalties. Another OSU personal foul was inexplicably missed, but OSU looked to get the raw part of the deal when a tunnel screen throw was blocked by Cyrus Coen and then ruled a backwards pass. Replays seemed to indicate the ball was at least parallel. It resulted in a 14-yard loss the Cougs used to later force a Beaver punt.

  • WSU has had had a tough time forcing turnovers this season, and that was the case again Saturday. However, it was a clean sheet, as Washington State's offense didn't commit a turnover.

  • Rickey Galvin come back to block for Tyler Baker on a pass completion, and delivered a whale of a block but the collision was gruesome. Galvin hobbled off the field with help. He did not return.

  • Theron West returned the first kickoff of the game, but had to be helped off the field after getting hit hard. He did not return and later stood on the sidelines in street clothes. Marcus Mason saw extensive time next to Morrow with Gerard Wicks out.

  • Vince Mayle was injured in the third quarter after blocking on a play. But Mayle eventually returned, and continued to rack up the yardage. Despite a couple of drops, Mayle finished with six receptions for a game-high143 yards and a touchdown.

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