Two-Minute Drill: WSU vs. ASU

A LACK OF takeaways has hurt the Cougars this season, but their own turnovers were what killed them against Arizona State on Saturday. The game was still a tight one, 28-24, entering the fourth quarter but the Sun Devils converted four Luke Falk’s interceptions, as well as his fumble, into touchdowns in the Cougs' 52-31 loss.

CF.C Players of the Game:
Despite all of Falk's turnovers, he quietly amassed an astonishing 601 passing yards, (second-most in school history) and the target on the majority of Falk’s throws: Biletnikoff Award semifinalist Vince Mayle. The redshirt senior receiver dominated, catching a team-high 15 passes for 252 yards (also a school record). He did not score a touchdown, but was clearly Falk’s favorite for moving the Cougars down the field.

No Cougar racked up a monster number of tackles, but credit goes to the five players who brought Taylor Kelly to the ground. Kache Palacio, (who led the Cougs with five tackles) Daniel Ekuale, Destiny Vaeao, Xavier Cooper and Ivan McLennan each recorded a sack, doing everything they could to disrupt a quarterback who was hobbled earlier this season by a foot injury.

Cougar surprises:
  • The WSU defensive line was unstoppable in the first quarter. And the defense as a whole survived just fine in the first half, thank you very much, without sophomore cornerback Daquawn Brown, who paid his dues after a targeting penalty against Oregon State. With the exception of a 42-yard touchdown pass from Kelly to Cameron Smith, the Cougars contained the Arizona State passing attack through the first two quarters. Furthermore, that play might have happened even with Brown in the game because Smith beat Charleston White on the play. White likely would have started alongside Brown.

  • The Cougars actually outscored an opponent in the first quarter. After the first 15 minutes, WSU led 7-0, a stark difference from how opponents have outscored the Cougars 100-48 in the first quarter this season. The Cougars have fairly even with their opponents in the second half but against ASU, they were stymied 31-7 in the second half.

  • Falk had dissected defenses in his first two significant appearances this season, but he threw his four interceptions to four different defenders.

    Eye-popping statistics:
    Washington State held ASU to just 330 yards of total offense. The loss was all about turnovers, and ASU being able to convert those into points.

  • Meanwhile, the Cougars forced no turnovers on the day to be able to make up for the offense’s lapses.

  • The Cougars lost by 21 points, but they won the time-of-possession battle handily, 35:50 to 24:10. The Sun Devils turned all five WSU turnovers into touchdowns, and those 35 points were scored in a combined 5:31.

  • Both teams combined to be perfect in the red zone, going 11 for 11 when inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

  • Mayle and Isiah Myers both surpassed 100 receiving yards on the day.

    Injuries:
  • Mayle limped off the field near the end of the first half, but returned to make a catch on the Cougars’ first drive of the second half.

    NOTES:
    Freshman cornerback Marcellus Pippins and redshirt sophomore nose tackle Robert Barber made their first career starts.

    Palacio now leads the Cougs with 6.5 sacks on the season. Cooper recorded his fifth sack of the season and 13th of his career.

    Jamal Morrow caught four passes to up his season total to 61, breaking Steve Broussard’s 1987 school record for catches in a season by a running back with 59.

    Isiah Myers caught his twelfth touchdown pass on the season, tied for second-most in WSU history. He now has 19 on his career, tied with Jared Karstetter for second-most all time at Wazzu.

    Mayle has 101 receptions this season, most in WSU history.

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