USA Today Images/Snook

2-Minute Drill: A first half for the ages leads Washington State to a facile 52-31 win over Oregon State

PULLMAN – After a couple white-knuckle rides for Washington State fans in Martin Stadium this season, the Cougars took it easy on their backers Saturday and gave them a worry-free 52-31 win over Oregon State. The homecoming win, before a full house, was virtually assured by halftime, after a six-touchdown first-half by the Cougs.

Washington State earned its second straight Pac-12 victory with a sweep of the Oregon schools. The last time the Cougars won back-to-back Pac-12 games was 2013, against Arizona and Utah.

CF.C player of the game: Dom Williams

With everything he went through this week, Williams looked like a man on a mission. Following the death of his grandmother, he flew to a service and missed Tuesday’s practice. On Saturday, it looked like Williams hadn't missed a beat. After his first touchdown catch he pointed to the sky, no doubt to pay tribute to the woman that raised him. Williams had a great first half, with nine catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Williams finished with a team-high 11 receptions for 158 yards.

Honorable Mention: Luke Falk

Since Mike Leach arrived in Pullman four years ago, the WSU offense hasn't clicked like it did during the first half Saturday. It was a two-quarter stretch where Falk threw for 323 yards and six touchdowns, though the Cougar quarterback was unable to find the end zone the rest of the game. Falk completed 39 of 50 passes for 407 yards, completing passes to 11 different receivers.

Surprises

  • Washington State can't go a full 60 minutes without a few special teams miscues, and such was the case Saturday: another kickoff returned for a touchdown, an onside kick fumbled, and a punt blocked. Not the kind of day you or coach Eric Mele wanted to see. However, there were some positives including Tavares Martin Jr.’s 51-yard opening kickoff return, Kache Palacio returning two kicks after OSU gave Martin Jr. the big return, and props to Alijah Lee being heady enough to keep his eyes on the ball in one of the two onside kick recoveries the Cougars had.


  • Luke Falk threw not one, but two interceptions. After going 117 throws between interceptions, it didn’t take long for him to throw another one. But hey, after last week's clean sheet where he threw 74 passes without a pick, Falk made up for this week with a pair.


  • Washington State sold out a game and it looked the part. It wasn’t a game where you saw everyone leave at halftime; a good chunk left, but the stands were pretty full as the final seconds ticked down.

Standout Stats:

  • DC Alex Grinch’s philosophy of “Get me the ball” is really sinking in. Washington State caused two more turnovers, both interceptions by Shalom Luani, pushing their total to 11 this season.


  • Luke Falk had his fifth career 400+ yard game, fifth straight 300+ yard game and ninth 300-yard game of his career.


  • Despite only playing in 10 games, Falk is 10th in career passing yards in WSU history with 4,230, and eighth in career TD passes with 34. Falk became the first player in Pac-12 history to throw six touchdown passes in a half.


  • Eleven Cougars caught a pass, including four that scored on touchdown receptions  Dom Williams and Jamal Morrow had two receiving TDs each.
  • Jamal Morrow’s two touchdowns were the first two of his career.


  • Dom Williams was the leading receiver with 11 receptions, 158 yards and two touchdowns. Williams has 24 career touchdown receptions, second all-time in Cougar history, behind Jason Hill's school-record 32.


  • Gabe Marks has 172 career receptions, No. 5 in WSU history. Marks finished the game with six catches, 95 yards and one touchdown.


  • Gerard Wicks set a career high with 69 rushing yards on just eight carries, giving him an 8.6 yard per carry average. Keith Harrington had five carries for 42 yards.

 

Leading tacklers: Shalom Luani & Peyton Pelluer

Shalom Luani and Peyton Pelluer shared the podium after the game, and they shared the top of the tackle board for WSU. Each had 11 tackles; Luani had eight solo while Pelluer had 10 solo. Pelluer had two tackles for loss. Parker Henry was third with nine tackles.

Play of the game: Shalom Luani’s pick-six

Oregon State was driving with the score 45-25 with a few minutes remaining in the game, and Washington State needed a stop. Luani jumped in front of a lazy pass and took it 84 yards to the house. It sent Martin Stadium into pandemonium and (if the game wasn’t already) clinched the victory.

 

Up Next: The Cougars head to Tucson to face Arizona for a 1 p.m, Saturday game on the Pac-12 Networks.

Notable Notes:

  • Washington State went 5-of-5 in the red zone.


  • The win marks the Cougars' largest margin of victory in a Pac-12 game since their 44-22 win over California in 2013.


  • Mike Leach claimed career win No. 100.

RELATED: Mike Leach critiques water vs. Gatorade bath


Cougfan Top Stories