Here are my three takeaways from Saturday’s game:
1. Falk with another fourth quarter clutch performance
This might have been one of the best games that I’ve seen from Luke Falk (pictured above) in his career as a Washington State quarterback. It wasn’t his biggest night statistically, but the way that he controlled and managed the offense was at a level that I never expected to see. I say that because of what I’ve seen in practices all year long. Falk made some throws against ASU that I don’t think I’ve ever seen him make - and the way he was reading the field was far beyond what I thought he was capable of. He made some mistakes, no doubt, but Falk was hot all night long completing one perfect throw after another. Against a very physical and aggressive defense, he sure made things look easy and put together a phenomenal showing.
2. Marks is back in the spotlight after a huge night
Aside from the first game of the season, Gabe Marks has had somewhat of a quiet year as his production has seen a signifant drop-off by comparison to his numbers at this point last year. Against ASU, Marks showed why he is considered to be one of the most versatile and dangerous receivers in the country. He hauled in a total of 8 catches for 107 yards with one touchdown on the night. As we saw on his 52-yard TD reception, Marks has an incredible ability maintain leverage and body position against defenders while discreetly using his hands at the last second to create separation. When the ball is in the air, Marks seems to always find a way to come down with the catch. It was good to see the senior receiver put up a big night, as the Cougs are going to need many more from him in games to come.
3. Inconsistencies becoming a big issue for this team
From what we’ve seen so far this season, we know that WSU's defense can get stops and create turnovers at any given point in a game. And against ASU, the Cougar D did just that many times. But there were way too many lapses and missed opportunities that allowed the Sun Devils to get back into the game. On offense, the Cougs shined for most of the night, but gave up seven (yes, 7!) sacks that gave the Sun Devils some key stops in the second half. If the Cougs want a shot at beating the likes of Colorado or Washington down the stretch, they are really going to need to fine tune some of these inconsistencies that they showed tonight. Allowing explosive plays on special teams, giving up sacks, and missing assignments on defense are not going to help this team stay competitive as they approach the final stretch of the season.