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Washington State Wins It’s Homecoming Game

Gerard Wicks scoring one of the three Cougars rushing touchdowns

Washington State continued to look like one of the best teams in the conference for most of their 27-21 win on Saturday Night against the UCLA Bruins. They continued to use a balanced attack, rushing for 95 yards, piling up all three of their touchdowns on the ground, and getting 261 yards through the air from quarterback Luke Falk. The weather made the game very sloppy and was the main reason the game was so low scoring for the majority. Washington State’s defense stifled the Bruins whole offensive attack in the first half, taking a 10-0 lead into the halftime break.

The Second half was not as smooth, mostly the fourth quarter. The Cougars outscored the Bruins 14-7 in the third to take a 24-10 lead into the fourth and with UCLA looking like they had no way to muster up even close to enough offense to pull off a comeback the Cougars looked like they were easily on their way to their 4th straight win and a 3-0 start in conference play. But in the fourth quarter UCLA backup quarterback Mike Fafaul, playing in place of the injured Josh Rosen, led the Bruins offense to a 14-point fourth quarter and the Bruins had the ball only down six points, but on the second play of the drive Charleston White picked him off, ending all hope the Bruins had for a comeback win.

Washington State did a lot of good things in this game that winning teams do. Kicker Erik Powell was able to connect on two field goals which proved to be big in a two field goal win. Luke Falk continued to spread the ball around to many different targets, leaving the defense off balance and making it hard for the defense to be able to key in on any single Cougar. This week he hit 8 targets, led by River Cracraft, who pulled in six passes for 74 yards. In the fourth quarter the offense was also able to execute a 6:28 drive, on 15 plays to get a field goal. This was a huge drive because the Bruins looked like they had momentum, but the Cougars were able to convert a third down and a fourth down en route to the field goal and were able to shave a significant amount of time off the clock. It was an unconventional drive for a Mike Leach coached team. Eight of the 15 plays were running plays, and drives for Washington State never take that long. Mike Leach seems to have adapted his approach a little bit with this team. They are running the ball very and have been very balanced. This offensive approach is helping the defense a lot and it’s a credit to Mike Leach and his staff for being able to adjust in the middle of a season like that.

Next up for the Cougars: They will play at Arizona State in Tempe next Saturday at 7:00 PM.

Highlights from the game are available here.