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Shafer Murray

Shafer Murray

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Huskies Win 5th Straight Apple Cup

Luke Falk threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in rout to the Cougs 41-14 beating in the Apple Cup Saturday.  This was Luke Falk’s final meeting against the Huskies, and he has been on the wrong side of a lopsided affair each time.  Falk has never been able to get over the hump, and the Huskies seem to have their way on the ground each year as they put up 328 yards rushing Saturday.  This was a game that could have lifted the Cougs to their first ever Pac-12 Championship, but the door to that closed quickly as the Huskies made their presence felt early.

The Huskies used their first drive to march down the field in 11 pays and get seven points on the board to really set the tone to how this game was going to go.  Luke Falk has been a question mark this season and was benched twice, once again Boise State, and another against Arizona.  The big question coming into the game was how long Mike Leach would take to pull Falk if the offense wasn’t moving the ball.  The answer was not at all.  No matter what happened, even after his third interception, Leach stuck with the guy that has helped them succeed this year, but for the Cougars sake things snowballed and didn’t improve throughout the contest.  When asked if Leach thought about putting Hilinski in he responded, “Not really, statistically the best Pac-12 quarterback in history, and sometimes you gotta just fight through it.”

The Cougs defense held the Huskies in check in the first quarter after the first touchdown, but the offense was only able to muster up 2 first downs and didn’t give the defense much time to rest.  The defense began to get tired and the Husky run game took over in the 2nd.  Following a Falk fumble at the Cougar 28 yard line, Salvon Ahmed ran the ball 27 yards to the 1 yard line and quarterback Jake Browning punched it in.  The Huskies held a 24-0 lead at half time and just cruised after that to their fifth straight Apple Cup win.  “I think this is a really good team, where you gotta play good and play together in order to beat ‘em.”

The WSU offense just never caught their stride and Falk for some reason cannot seem to shake this funk he has been in this season.  He was an early Heisman Candidate, but the things that made him so successful the past two years like spreading the ball all over the field and utilizing his weapons have not been as prevalent this year.  Instead, a lot of check downs and holding the ball too long which as the year went on, led to an obvious lack of confidence.  It doesn’t help to get bench, but Leach said that he benched him in the Arizona game because he couldn’t see the field.  Backup Tyler Hilinski came in for two quarters and threw for 504 yards because of his quick release and ability to move the ball up field.  The counter to that, is that Hilinski also threw 4 interceptions which severely hurt the Cougars cause.  “Luke said on his performance, when you turn the ball over four times, it’s a bad night.”

The other question coming into the game was whether Coach Mike Leach will be here next year because former athletic director Bill Moos who left mid-season went to Nebraska and the rumor has been that Mike Leach may follow him after head coach Mike Riley was let go.   After the game, Leach denied the rumors, but the post-game press conference seemed to be un-Leach like.  The anger he usually has after and a loss that he knows was a disappointment wasn’t there.  He alluded to the fact that his team was capable of beating the Huskies, but just not the type of press conference I am used to hearing after a disappointing loss under Mike Leach.  The next few weeks will be telling to see if he takes the Nebraska job or not.

The Cougs look to be a lock for the Kraft Fight Hunger bowl in Santa Clara.  Early projections show them playing against the 8th place team in the Big Ten, the Purdue Boilermakers(6-6).

 

 

 

Cougs Get a Win in Utah

The Cougs needed their 2nd road victory of the year to keep their Pac-12 Conference Championship hopes alive.  They traveled to Rice Eccles Stadium on Saturday to face the 5-4 Utah Utes in Salt Lake City.

The Coug defense didn’t disappoint, pressuring Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley all day forcing 7 sacks and 7 turnovers on the way to a 33-25 win.  The Cougs intercepted Huntley’s  Hail Mary attempt at the end of the game to get the win.

The defense got started early and often.  Early in the first Huntley connected with receiver Demari Simpkins for a 17 yard gain, but Robert Taylor knocked the ball loose, and the Cougs were in business at the Utah 46 yard line.  A few plays later, Falk found Tavares Martin Junior for an 11 yard touchdown completion and an early 7-0 lead.

A theme for the Cougar offense this season has been inconsistency.  The Cougs the past couple years had huge successes in the red zone, but this year has been a different story.  The Cougs stalled inside the 30 yard line three times in the first half alone, and got great field position for much of the first half thanks to three turnovers forced by the defense.

The Cougar offense was held to just 338 yards of total offense coming from 311 yards through the air, and only 27 yards on the ground.   Utah is known for their defense and held the Cougs to 10 of 21 on third down conversions.  Wazzu had opportunities and were moving the ball, just couldn’t convert on 3rd and short numerous times. 

Early in the 4th,  after a Utah fumble on their own 14 yard line, Falk connected with Isiah Johnson-Mack in the end zone to give the Cougs  a 33-18 lead.  That touchdown pass game Falk the Pac-12 record for most touchdown passes surpassing USC’s Matt Barkley. 

Utah was able to strike back and had a chance to tie the game with a hail mary as time expired, but Jalen Thompson intercepted it and secured the victory for the Cougars.

The Cougs are 9-2 and will be facing the two loss Huskies in the Apple Cup on November 25th.  The Cougs defensively have been as good as they have been in 15 years, but offensively the Cougs need to figure it out before they face the Husky defense in Seattle.  When the offense gets too stagnant, Leach has no problem pulling Luke for Hilinski.  Falk is looking for his first Apple Cup win in 3 attempts, and ending the 4 game Husky win streak. 

The Cougs push the ball more when they need to then consistently throughout the game and they are going to need to in order to help their defense.  For the second straight year, the Apple Cup is going to decide the winner of the Pac-12 North.

 

 

Cougs Win Last Home Game

In Luke Falk’s last game as a home game as a Coug, he passed for 337 yards including 3 touchdowns and set the Pac 12 record for yards in a career as the Cougs get by the 17th ranked  Stanford Cardinal 24-21.

A snow storm hit Pullman right before game time and continued throughout the game.  It was a cold day so Stanford tried to utilize their Heisman hopeful Bryce Love, who missed last week’s game with a high ankle sprain.  To start the 2nd quarter, Love reeled off a 52 yard run to give the Cardinal a 7-0 lead. 

After getting pulled last week because of low offensive production, Falk completed a 9 play 75 yard drive with a 12 yard touchdown pass to Tavares Martin Jr. in the middle of the end zone to tie the game at 7.  The next drive, Falk connected with Renard Bell from 27 yards out to give the Cougs a 14-7 lead at half time.

The Cougar defense held Bryce Love to 69 yard total on 16 carries.  After the big run, they only allowed 17 yards from Love and tackled him for a loss 6 times including one tackle in the 3rd where Love hobbled off the field after Hercules Mata’afa leveled him.  After a 41 yard Erik Powell field goal, Stanford’s quarterback K.J. Costello pump faked, the ball slipped out of his hand, bounced back to him and ran 14 yards for the touchdown.  It appeared in the replay to the WSU fans that it was incomplete, but after review the referee ruled that he was bringing the ball into his body and ruled it a touchdown.

On the next Cougar possession, Falk was looking to complete a fourth and one from their own 48, but Stanford linebacker Bobby Okereke Intercepted the pass and took it back 52 yards to get the Cardinal the lead 21-17.  After that score, the air was taken out of Martin Stadium and the Cougs needed a score to get back in this one.

Early in the 4th, Falk put together an 11 play, 95 yard touchdown drive that took up over 5 minutes.  Falk found Jamire Calvin who scampered 11 yards for the touchdown and gave the Cougs the lead for good.  In the final minute of the game, Costello was intercepted by Frankie Luvu to wrap up the victory for the Cougs.

The Cougs held the Stanford offense to only 198 yards of total offense, 52 of that coming from the one run in the first half.  The Cougs defense gave up over 300 on the ground last week against Arizona, and really clamped down Saturday. “Thought our defense played really well, mitigating their run game,” Leach said.

 

WSU sits at 8-2 and have 2 more games remaining. Next week at Utah and in 3 weeks in the Apple Cup against the Huskies.

WSU Loses Big

The Washington State Cougars came into Friday night’s game looking to run the table the rest of the season, but the California Golden Bears had other ideas.  The Cougs were outplayed and gave up seven turnovers against a Cal team on a three game losing streak and were looking for a big win to turn their season around.  Bothell native Ross bowers who beat Chiawana in the state Championship 3 years ago threw for 259 yards and one touchdown, as well as ran for another and his Golden Bears thrashed the eighth ranked Cougars 37-3. 

The game started out strange, and continued that way all night.  On the opening kickoff of the game, freshman receiver Renard Bell took the opening kickoff to the endzone but was nullified by a holding penalty.  Three plays later, Falk was intercepted by Camryn Bynum at the Cougar 20 yard line. On their second possession, the Pac-12 player of the week Erik Powell who made four field goals against Oregon, missed a 49 yard field goal.  In their third possession, on the opening play of the drive, Falk connected with Jamire Calvin for a ten yard gain who then fumbled the ball and Cal’s Devante Downs returned it four yards to the WSU 48. 

On the following possession Vic Enwere  ran the ball 6 yards to the end zone to give the Bears a 10-0 lead late in the first.  The next Cougar possession, Falk put together a 15 play drive that took over 8 minutes, and Luke found Tavares Martin Jr. in the back of the end zone for a touchdown, but was called back because of a slight push off by Martin.  This was something the Cougs have been doing all year, and really didn’t seem to affect the play, but was how it went for WAZZU on Friday night.  Erik Powell connected on a 52 yard field goal for their only points of the game. 

In the final 2 minutes of the half, Falk rushed for 8 yards on 3rd and 10 and was hit in the helmet and called for targeting, which was then over turned.  Mitchell  Cox then punted the ball that went off the side of his foot and sailed 1 yard, so the Bears started their drive from the Cougar 45 yard line with 52 seconds left in the half.  Bowers drove the Bears down to the 2 yard line with two seconds left in the half.  They chose to go for the 6 points, and under pressure, Bowers was able to find Kyle Wells open to give the Bears 17-3 lead at half and  huge control of the game.

Falk came out in the second half firing, but on their first drive out of the locker room, Falk’s shovel pass bounced off the backs arm and intercepted by Raymon Davison at the Cal 14.  The Cougs just couldn’t get it together all night.  Two more of Falk’s five interceptions were deflected off WSU players.  Early in the fourth on 3rd and goal from the seven with the Bears up 20-3, Ross Bowers ran the ball and dove over the goal line, flipping into the endzone.  This looked identical to Bowers flip into the end zone against Chiawana in the state championship in 2014.  The 24 point deficit was too much for the Cougs to overcome this time and the eighth ranked Cougs were shocked by Cal.  “We didn’t play good in any aspect of the game.  Cal outcoached us, Cal outplayed us, “  Mike Leach said.  “They wanted to win more than we did, they tried harder than we did.  Our guys just saunter around the field like we had accomplished something.”

 

The Cougs needed this wake up call.  Last year opened up with two losses, which changed their mindset and following that game, they reeled off eight straight wins.  The Cougs haven’t played up to their potential all season.  They escaped Boise State and USC, but didn’t look like they had it all together, and Friday night showed that.  The Cougs play Colorado at home next Saturday then travel to Arizona.  The Cougs can just learn from their mishaps in this game.  23 yards of Rushing and 337 yards of total offense is uncharacteristic of the Cougs, and have nowhere to go but up.

Cougs Improve to 6-0

Luke Falk threw for 282 yards with 3 touchdowns as the Cougs take down the one loss Oregon Ducks 33-10.  The Cougs traveled down I-5 to play the always dangerous Oregon Ducks in Autzen Stadium.  Last Friday, the Cougs finished off the fifth ranked USC Trojans for their biggest win since 2003, and were in danger of falling into the “Let down game” trap.

Falk put WAZZU on the board early on their first play from scrimmage dumping the ball to running back Jamal Morrow who ran 41 yards to the end zone to put the Cougs up 7-0 early. The Oregon Ducks who had their first and second string quarterbacks knocked out the game last week against Cal, and were starting true freshman Braxton Burmeister who only had one pass as a college quarterback.   “They have an offensive identity that they’ve had for a long time, and obviously that guy was going to try to duplicate that,” Coach Mike Leach said. The Coug defense was licking its chops and put the pressure on the freshman sacking him 4 times.  Late in the first, Burmeister connected with Jacob Breeland for a 30 yard touchdown strike to give the Ducks the 10-7 lead.  The Cougs were able to tack on a couple of field goals, and took a 13-10 lead at half.

To start the half, Falk drove the Cougs 75 yards in 7 plays ending in a 10 yard touchdown pass to Renard Bell. “It was really big because in the first half, we left a lot of points out there,” Falk said, “Kinda takes confidence away from the other side and punching it in gives us tremendous confidence in the second half.”  Late in the third, Burmeister was intercepted by Marcus Strong and returned 27 yards to the Oregon 25 yard line. The next play Falk connected with Isaiah Johnson-Mack for the 25 yard touchdown to put the game away up 30-10 in the fourth.  “It was a tighter game than the score, I did feel like something was going to blow it open.  There are a lot of key points, but I thought one was Luke hitting Isaiah for the touchdown,” Leach said.

 

The Cougs did a great job of adjusting in the second half and held the Duck offense to 277 yards and 132 on the ground which is usually their bread and butter.  The Cougs start 6-0 for the first time since 2001 and go on the road Friday to face Cal who lost their last 2 games including a 38-7 drubbing by the Washington Huskies Saturday night.  The Cougs are going to jump into the top 10 for the first time since the 2003 season.

Cougs Upset Trojans

The Cougs rode Luke Falk’s 340 yards of passing to the upset win over USC.  Jamal Morrow added 136 yards of both running and receiving with two touchdowns to help secure the 30-27 win over the fifth ranked Trojans.

USC quarterback Sam Darnold came into this season as the Heisman front runner, but after 5 games with 9 interceptions, has quickly declined.   There was still a question of whether the Cougars defense was as improved as they looked in the first four weeks or if that was because of the opponents that they’ve played.  Those questions were answered in a big way on Friday night when they were hurrying Darnold all game and forcing him into bad throws.  Darnold is projected as a number one draft pick, but the WAZZU made him look average.

The Cougs offense was slow to get started but got in the end zone early in the 2nd when Falk connected with Tavares Martin Jr. for a 28 yard touchdown to put the Cougs up 10-7.  The Next drive on 3rd and 4, half back Ronald Jones on a draw play took the ball 86 yards to take the lead back for the Trojans.  That deflated the air out of the building, then on the very next play from scrimmage, Falk’s pass was intercepted by Uchenna Nwosu on the WSU three yard line.  The Cougar defense held the Trojans on 3 consecutive plays and allowed only a field goal on a situation that could have really put the Cougs in a hole. 

Before the Half, Falk drove the ball 94 yards in just under 5 minutes and gave the ball to Jamal Morrow up the middle to tie the game at 17 going into the locker room.  “When you score right before half for some reason, it always seems to change the momentum a little,” Mike leach said.  The two teams battled throughout the second half, the Cougs seemingly leaving points on the field and having to settle for field goals.  In the 4th, with WSU threatening, Falk shoveled a pass to Jamal Morrow who ran for a 23 yard touchdown to give the Cougs a 27-20 lead.  That gave Darnold time to do what he did 2 weeks prior against Texas.  The Cougs had forced a 4th and 13 from the WSU 42 yard line.  Frankie Luvu crushed Darnold but the ball was somehow able to escape and fall into the hands of Tyler Vaugns for the first down.  A few plays later Darnold ran it in on an option from 2 yards out to tie the game. 

Falk was given just over five minutes to get the win.  On 3rd and 4 from the WSU 42, Jamal Morrow ran 35 yards to the Trojan 23 yard line.  WSU then ran the ball 3 times to get rid of USC’s timeouts and added an Erik Powell 32 yard field goal.  That gave Sam Darnold 1:40 and no timeouts to tie or win the game.  Jahad Woods hit Darnold from behind, the ball came loose and Derek Moore recovered it to secure the win for WSU and their first 5-0 start since 2001.  “It was a really good environment, it was fantastic, loud the whole game, exciting matchup,” Leach said following the game.  Falk got sacked 5 times and was rushed quite a bit.  Afterwards Falk said, “I feel great, it was a really good team win.  We did a good job of stringing together that last drive.”

 

The Cougs go on the road to face the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on Saturday at 5pm.  Their starting quarterback Justin Herbert is out with a broken collar bone, and running back Royce Freeman is questionable.

Cougs Roll Over Wolfpack

 

In a warm up game of sorts before the fourth ranked USC Trojans come to town, Luke Falk threw for 478 yards on 36 of 47 passing and 5 touchdowns as the Cougs dominate the lowly Nevada Wolf pack 45-7.

 

The Nevada Wolfpack came into Saturday’s game losing their previous 3 contests including last week to FCS team Idaho State.  They have had a quarterback carousel and started their third string quarterback against the Cougs.  David Cornwell is a graduate transfer from Alabama and was supposed to right the ship for the Nevada Wolfpack but a bad fall camp put him third in the depth chart.  His first action was Saturday and he went 13 of 25 with 97 yards and 3 interceptions as the Cougar defense dominated their front all day.

 

After turning the ball over on downs in their first drive, Luke Falk connected with Jamal Morrow for a 12 yard touchdown pass and the Cougs led 7-0 early.  Next drive, Falk found James Williams who broke some tackles on his way to 6 points.

 

The Cougar defense shut down all aspects of the Wolfpack offense.  Nevada had only 75 yards of total offense in the first half with only 41 yards of passing.  The second quarter was more of the same for the Cougs, with Falk passing for 2 more touchdowns.  Falk hit Tavares Martin Jr. for a 40 yard touchdown pass early in the 2nd Wuarter.    Then connect with Jamire Calvin from 6 yards out to give the Cougs a 35-0 lead at halftime.  The Cougs added 10 more points in the 2nd half and allowed a touchdown late, but by that time the Cougs were rotating in guys quite a bit. 

 

The Cougs played an overall good game having 2 receivers with over 100 yards in Martin Jr. and Renard Bell and also added 131 yards on the ground.  This was a good tune up for Friday night where we will see the 4th rank USC Trojans come to Pullman.  WAZZU hasn’t played their best game yet, but have put together some pieces from their first 2 games that should help them.  The Trojans are a different animal, and if the Cougs start out slow like they did against Boise State, it could be a long night.

 

Cougs Cruise Past Beavers

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One game after being benched, Luke Falk tosses 6 touchdown passes on 37 of 49 passing for 396 yards as the WSU steam rolls Oregon State in their Pac-12 opener 52-23.

Luke Falk made his first start against Oregon State in 2014 and after Saturday’s win, made it 4 in a row against the Beavers.    

“I thought he played well, I though he got in a good rhythm, he looked very sharp most of the game,” Leach said regarding Luke Falk.

The Cougs started slow the first drive going 3 and out and it started to look like more of the same.  But as Falk has done the past 3 years under Leach’s system, takes a few games to get warmed up and then catches fire.  He did that in a big way on Saturday and appeared to have found two replacements for the graduated Gabe Marks.

Falk started off his touchdown spree by connecting with Tavares Martin Jr. and Isaiah Johnson-Mack to give the Cougs the early 14-2 lead.  He followed that up with 2 more touchdowns to each of them to give the Cougs a 28-9 advantage at halftime.

Ryan Nall, who has been a horn in the heel of the Cougs finished with 118 yards on 15 carries including a 45 yard td run to begin the 2nd half to pull the beavers within 12 at 28-16.  That was when both offense and defense stepped it to another level. 

On 3rd down and 22 from their own 43 yard line, Falk evaded to two tacklers and completed a pass across the middle to Martin Jr. that went for a 57 yard touchdown and WSU’s biggest pass play of the season.  Luke followed that up with a 10 yard touchdown pass to Kyle Sweet for his 6th touchdown pass on the day.  The next possession, the swarming Cougar defense on a corner blitz forced OSU quarterback Jake Luton to fumble and Frankie Luvu returned it 40 yards to put the Cougs up 49-16 in the 4th.

A scary moment in the 4th, Jake Luton was hit hard on a quarterback keeper and was taken off in a stretcher after 10 minutes of stoppage time.  Luton was released from a Spokane hospital within hours, so a good sign, but it hasn’t been released whether he will play next week or not. 

Tavares Martin Jr. ended the game with 10 catches for 194 yards with 3 touchdowns.  The Cougs were looking for a replacement for Gabe Marks, and they have found it in both Isaiah Johnson-Mack and Tavares Martin Jr. The 194 yards by Martin Jr. is more than Marks got in any one game, and this offense is just getting started.  Falk has so many offensive weapons that it’s scary to think how much damage they can do when this offense really gets in its groove.  “He’s dynamic, he can do a lot of things, he’s got good hands and can make people miss,” Falk said about Tavares Martine Jr.

Falk said about the performance, “We had some real explosive plays by our outside guys.  I still don’t think we’re quite to our ceiling yet,  I think we have a lot of things to improve on, but it was good to put that many points up.”

“We’ve been waiting for the outside receivers to get in a rhythm, I thought they did today, we got to build on it and continue it,” Leach said.

The Cougs running game who went wild against Montana State, only had 16 carries for 60 yards.   “I didn’t give a lot of thought to that, we kinda identify what the defense gives us and attack,”  said leach.

WAZZU takes on a lowly Nevada Wolfpack teach next week before facing the number 4 ranked USC Trojans on Friday night the week after.

https://youtu.be/DrTkrau-85w

 

Cougars Win Instant Classic in OT!

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Boise State silenced the crowd  in Martin Stadium after an interception return for a touchdown put the Broncos up 21 points in the 4th quarter.  The Cougs went on to put up 21 unanswered points with their back up quarterback Tyler Hilinski, before the end of the quarter and shock the Broncos in triple overtime 47-44.

WSU was looking to avenge a loss from last season against Boise State, and got off to a slow start.  Former Cougar legend Mark Rypien’s nephew Brett, used 6 plays to start out the game and go up 7-0 early.  The following drive, Luke Falk drove the Cougs right down the field, but on 3rd and goal, Falk was intercepted by Boise State’s Tyler Horton.  The Cougs redeemed themselves the next Boise State possession. Herc Mata’afa hit Rypien from behind and forced a fumble that Robert Taylor ran in to tie the game at 7.  The remainder of the first half was a defensive battle, the offenses couldn’t get much going and both teams went to the locker room tied up at 10.  Wazzu had only 148 yards of total offene and 116 through the air in the first half.  On how the receivers played in the first half, coach Mike Leach said,  “I thought they played timid.  They’ve got to go out there and play like they deserve to be there.”

The third quarter showed more struggles for the Cougar offense.  After Falk got hit hard a few times, back up sophomore Tyler Hilinski took over for good in the fourth quarter. “We were being cautious with Luke,”  Coach Leach said forllowing the game.  Falk took his final snap of the game late in the fourth when he was hit hard by Jabril Frazier and forced a fumble that was returned 55 yards for a toucdown by Curtis Weaver and the Broncos held a comportable 31 to 10 lead with only 10:53 to go in the game. 

Hilinski entered the game and made quick work on a 8 play, 75 yard drive lasting only 3 minutes and pulled the Cougs within two touchdowns.  The Cougs were in need of another huge defensive play, and they got it.  Bronco quarterback Montell Cozart was pressured and tried to shovel a pass and did so right to Wazzu’s Peyton Pelluer who took it back 18 yards to the end zone, and the Cougs were now within 7  with 5:44 to play.  Washington State stopped the Broncos on the next possession and the Cougs had just under 4 minutes to tie the game.  The Cougs were stopped and forced to put with 3 minutes to play.  On the Erik Powell punt, the ball landed on the back of a Bronco player and WAZZU recovered at the Boise State 24 yard line.  4 plays later, Hilinski connected with Jamal Morrow for 6 yards and the Cougs tied it up at 31 1:07 to play.  Neither team was able to score, so the game went to overtime in Pullman for the first time since the 2012 Apple Cup.

In the first over time, both teams came up with field goals.  Tavares Martin Jr. caught a 9 yard touchdown pass to put the Cougs up 7 in the 2nd overtime.  On Boise State’s possession, Cozart found Cedrick Wilson for 5 yards, and the score was tied again.  In the third overtime after the Broncos were held to a field goal, Hilinsky found Jamal Morrow in the flat on a screen pass from 22 yards out, who leaped over the pile on to give the Cougs one of their greatest victories in Martin Stadium history.

After this improbable win, the Cougs look to go 3-0 Saturday as they play the lowly Beavers who have looked terrible so far this season.  Washington State will have 2 more games to warm up for the mighty Trojans of USC.

 

 

Cougs Scratch Up Bobcats

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After 2 years of home opening losses to Big Sky teams, the Cougs put together a dominating performance on both sides of the ball and dominate Montana State 31-0 to start the season 1-0 for the first time since 2011. 

Senior quarterback Luke Falk threw for 311 yards on 33 of 39 passing, including starting the game with 20 completions in a row as the Cougs dominate the Montana State Fighting Bobcats 31-0.

There was sense of calm in this team throughout the game.  WSU has struggled with running quarterbacks made it a point early on not to give up the big play and to stay grounded defensively by defending for the long pass as well as the option.  Bobcats quarterback Chris Murray was running for his life most of the game.  The Cougs held Murray to 5 of 12 passing for 28 yards, most of which were in the second half when the game was all but over for the Bobcats.  Murray added 55 yards on the ground, but collectively, the Cougs held the Bobcats to 143 yards of total offense.

Coach Mike leach said following the game, “We had a steadiness and consistency that I thought was positive for a first game.”  The Cougs opening drive took over six minutes and saw nothing deep, just consistent 5 to 10 yard completions ending in a shovel pass to James Williams who took it in for the score.

The following drive was more of the same mixed in with more running plays.  On third and goal from the Bobcat 6, Falk connected with Tavares Martin Jr. over the middle and gave the Cougs a 14-0 lead.  Just before the half, Isaiah Johnson-Mack fumbled Falk’s screen pass at the WSU 43 yard line.  A missed 42 yard field goal by the Bobcat’s Luke Daly kept Montana State off the board.

The Cougs went up 21-0 early in the 3rd on a Jamal Morrow 29 yard run.  Their fourth touchdown came early in the fourth on another shovel pass from Falk to Williams who scampered 29 yards for the touchdown.

The Cougs used short passes combined with the running game for much of the night.  They used up a lot of clock and didn’t feel like they really tapped into their offense.  It was a balance attack with 150 yards on the ground and 351 yards through the air.  Wazzu welcomes in Boise State next week and it feels like we will see more of their arsenal against the Broncos.  This was a great warm up game for the Cougs who had 2 heartbreak openers to start the season the past 2 years.  Kickoff will be at 7:30 on ESPN.

 

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