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Washington State Dismantles Arizona

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The Cougars won their 7th straight Saturday

Luke Falk had a very big day for the Washington State offense
wsucougars.com

It looked like Arizona was going to be off to a fast start when they hit Nate Phillips for a 75-yard touchdown on the first play of the game, but that play was called back on an illegal lineman downfield and from there it was all Washington State. After a slow start last week against Oregon State that required a second half comeback to get the win the Cougars were not messing around early again with one of the conferences bottom dwellers. After getting a good punt return following a three-and-out from Arizona, Washington State got a field goal from Erik Powell, and then the Cougars got an interception from Shalom Luani and that led to a Luke Falk touchdown pass to James Williams on a shovel pass to put the Cougars up 10-0 very early in the first quarter. You could tell very easily where this game was heading and that Washington State came very ready to play this week. After a couple more touchdowns Washington State found themselves with a 24-0 lead after the first quarter.

The second quarter saw much of the same as the first and the scoring got started with a Falk touchdown pass to Tavares Martin and then with 2:30 left in the first half Gerard Wicks ran in a touchdown and suddenly the Cougars found themselves up 38-0. The only thing Arizona would do to counter that is score a touchdown on a 47 yard touchdown pass by Anu Soloman, but those were the only points the Wildcats would get all day. Coach Mike Leach had to be very pleased with the way his team started this game after they took so long to get going last week and were barely able to escape Corvallis with a win.

The second half didn’t see any let up, especially from the defense. They didn’t allow Arizona to score any points in the second half even though the game was very well in hand by the halftime break. That likely made defensive coordinator Alex Grinch very happy because it also enabled them to get some backups to see some meaningful time which is never a bad thing. Scoring wise in the third quarter James Williams had a 4 yard touchdown run and Falk hit Tavares Martin for another touchdown, this time it was a four yard pass.

The fourth quarter saw Erik Powell hit a 31 yard field goal and then backup quarterback Tyler Hilinski, who was able to have a big day in relief of Falk, hit River Cracraft for a 71 yard touchdown pass and then threw another one to Johnson-Mack. What was another big thing for Washington State today is that Luke Falk was able to avoid taking a bunch of big hits like he has been in the past few weeks. It was badly needed for him to have a game where he was pretty much untouched all day. A number of backups were able to get good experience against a Pac-12 opponent, which bodes well because any one of those backups may need to step up at any time and getting their feet wet was a good thing and to also gives the starters a break because they have some very tough games coming up.

Player of the game: Luke Falk. He puts up big numbers pretty much every week, but this week he was even better. He was 32/35 passing for 311 yards and four touchdowns. He was getting rid of the ball a little bit quicker than he had been to avoid taking big hits, but part of that could have been the lack of a pass rush by Arizona, or bad pass coverage and it was just that easy for receivers to get open. Either way it resulted in Falk staying more clean and not putting himself in harms way.

Next up will be against California at home next Saturday

Highlights from the game are available here