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Players of the game, surprising stats, nuggets and more

THIS IS NOT a drill. The Cougars have won three straight conference games. Washington State is 5-2, and controls their own destiny in the Pac-12 North.

CF.C player of the game: Gabe Marks

Just when you thought Marks couldn’t one-up himself anymore, he found a way. Marks caught a Washington State single-game record four touchdown passes down in the desert on Saturday. And he’s now in a tie for fifth all-time at WSU with 19 touchdown catches after his eight-catch, 97-yard day at Arizona. As strength and conditioning coach Jason Loscalzo told me before the season, Marks is always trying to outcompete everyone. He’s certainly reaping the benefits of that now after redshirting last season.

Honorable Mention: Luke Falk

Falk finished 47-62 for 514 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. Falk also ran the ball nicely, taking off for a couple of first downs plus putting his shoulder down on a fourth-and-one sneak which led to Marks’ final TD with 2:03 left in the fourth quarter

Surprises:

Washington State’s special teams forced the only turnover of the game, with walk on Nate DeRider recovering the first fumble of his WSU career. After surrendering a punt for a touchdown earlier in the game, Kache Palacio rocked the special teams momentum back the Cougs’ way by forcing the fumble. The takeaway allowed WSU to stretch the lead to 14 four plays later.

Washington State had three drives over four minutes, proving Washington State can drain the clock when they need to -- and they finished all four drives by punching the ball into the end zone. WSU’s opening drive went 10 plays for 4:32, their first drive of the third quarter consisted of 11 plays for 5:18 and their last scoring drive wasted nearly six minutes with 11 plays in 5:58.

Washington State controls their own destiny in the Pac-12 North Division heading into Week Eight. Try selling that one after the season  opening loss to PSU.

 

Quotes from Mike Leach

On the game: Our team is playing really hard. We’re doing the positive things more times in a row. We’ve won three in a row – should’ve won four with Cal – but I think we could have put them away sooner. I think the last two drives were good. If we shore some things up, we can really do some good stuff.

On third-quarter lull and what he said to the team: We weren’t doing what we can do. All we have to do is just do our jobs like we did in the first half. Part of that is just attacking the other guy. There’s this mentality that makes me vomit, ‘We’re up, let’s preserve the win.’ Somebody catches the ball short and he goes into the fetal position like he got shot.

On Falk: He’s gone against real competition. More than just the stats, but he’s gone maybe more stout than anybody in the nation.

On Cougar D: I think the second QB gave (them) a brief spark. I think our front did some good things, and our secondary needs to be more disciplined. We need to be more consistent. We don’t coast, but we try to (play smart).

Unprompted: I’m really proud of these guys and coaches. Good win for us.

Standout Stats:

After Washington State gave up too many sacks the last few weeks, Falk was only sacked twice.

WSU added another takeaway to their season total, with 12 now on the year.

Luke Falk’s 514 yards was his 10thcareer WSU game with 300-plus yards, sixth 400-plus yard game and third career 500-yard game. He’s moved to ninth place in school history in both passing yards (4,744) and is tied for ninth in TD passes with 39. Falk’s 335 passing yards in the first half were the fourth-most in a half in school history.

In the last three games, Falk has thrown for 1,426 over the three game winning streak.

The Cougars added five tackles for loss, upping their impressive total to 56 through seven games. Ivan McLennan, Kache Palacio, Darius Lemora and Daniel Ekuale all logged a TFL while Marcellus Pippins and Colton Teglovic were each credited with 0.5 tackles for loss.

Gabe Marks is the first player in school history to score four TDs in a single game. He finished with eight catches for 97 yards and the four scores.

River Cracraft caught eight passes to push his career total to 153 receptions, eighth-most in school history. He also recorded his seventh career 100-yard game.

There are now three Cougs in the top-10 for career catches at Washington State -- Marks, Dom Williams, Cracraft.

Leading tacklers: Shalom Luani

Luani has eight tackles while Jeremiah Allison posted six.  

Misleading stat of the game: Drives

Washington State went 75 yards or more on all but one touchdown drive. The yardage per TD drive: 78, 80, 78, 23, 84, 76. Add in one more

Play of the game: Luke Falk on fourth down

With the Cougs up 38-35 late in the fourth quarter, Washington State face a fourth-and-one. Falk snuck it for three yards and following a delay of game, hit Marks in the back of the end zone to give WSU a 45-35 lead and breathing room.

Injuries noticed:

None.

Long-awaited firsts:

WSU recorded its first three-game conference winning streak since 2003. The team is 5-2 for the first time since starting 7-2 in ’03. The Cougars scored 40-plus points in their third straight game, the first time they’ve done that since 2001.

Notable Notes:

Gerard Wicks ran for his second rushing TD of the season, his sixth career TD.

Kyrin Priester scored his first career TD.

Kyle Sweet caught his first career reception.

Daniel Ekuale made his first start in place of Robert Barber. He had two tackles including the one for loss.

Up Next: WSU hosts Stanford on Halloween at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN


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