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Luke Falk has outstanding debut, WSU defeats Oregon State

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If Saturday's performance is any indication, the future of the quarterback position at WSU is in outstanding shape.

Steve Dykes

Good morning, Cougar fans, and what a great morning it is. For the first time in what seems like forever, 42 days to be exact, we come to you bearing victory links. What an incredible victory it was. Of course, like too many Cougar games this season, WSU found itself in a hole almost immediately. This time, though, they righted the ship and proved that they were the better team throughout the course of the game. To whet your appetite, here are the video highlights from the game, set to one of my favorite Foo Fighters songs, "The Pretender."

Luke Falk's incredible performance has been documented a good bit (I get the feeling I'll be writing about it again in a day or two) so today will cover some other aspects of the team's victory. Congratulations to Vince Mayle for breaking the WSU single season record for receptions. It is clear that Mayle is extraordinarily gifted. We just need to find a cure for his sudden case of the dropsies.

I thought the defensive line performed like we were hoping they would at the beginning of the season. They were able to get Sean Mannion off his spot enough to force some bad throws at critical times. Although Mannion had impressive numbers, Xavier Cooper and company made him just uncomfortable enough to be effective. The defense as a whole, while not lights-out, was able to force field goal tries (by a backup kicker who of course went 4/4) instead of giving up touchdowns. After what we've seen over the past month, I consider that a big victory.

The Cougars showed their mental toughness throughout the game, which is pretty impressive considering what they've been through lately. They got down 10-0 and could have said "same old, same old" but instead they fought back. There was Luke Falk taking advantage of OSU's confused defense and dropping a dime to Vince Mayle for a touchdown. Jamal Morrow repeatedly broke tackles and turned possible losses into gains. There was Taylor Taliulu(?) breaking up the attempted two-point conversion pass and preserving WSU's lead.

There was Ricky Galvin circling back and absolutely destroying a defender and hurting himself in the process (I love the hustle Ricky, but please preserve your health next time). On that play and the ensuing one, WSU even showed that it was capable of overcoming some very shaky officiating. Following Galvin's block, Tyler Baker broke a tackle for what seemed to be a touchdown, only it was wiped away because the official decided to blow his whistle in the middle of the play. Guess what? On the next play, Falk hit Robert Lewis on a slant and WSU scored anyway.

Finally, how about that final possession? Following a touchback, the Cougs needed one first down to ice the game. Where have we seen this before? A four yard Morrow run was followed by an eight yard screen to Mayle. First down achieved. Even with that, it was looking like WSU would have to snap the ball on fourth down. However, with the help of an OSU personal foul (aside: What the heck was with all the post-whistle shots the Beavers were taking? There were even more that could have been called), Luke Falk lined up in the "Victory" formation, the Cougars had their third win of the season and many fans began signing a petition to play all non-Apple Cup conference games on the road. I could go on and on. What a great afternoon. Go Cougs.

WSU defeats OSU

Luke Falk leads Cougars past Beavers - Spokesman.com - Nov. 8, 2014
It was likely WSU’s most complete game of the season. After giving up touchdowns on their first punt of the game in two consecutive weeks WSU allowed just two punt return yards in the entire game on Saturday.

WSU-OSU notes: ‘Playing for Connor’ - Spokesman.com - Nov. 9, 2014
"We were playing for Connor," running back Jamal Morrow said. "It sucks that we didn’t’ have him as a leader today but we went out and played for him and I’m pretty sure he’s proud of us back home.

Final thoughts from Oregon State - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Nov. 8, 2014
No opposing special teams touchdowns today. In fact, only one punt was returned and it went for two yards. Malcolm Marable did have a 41-yard return but all things considered today was a big improvement for WSU's special teams.

WSU QB Luke Falk provides hope for future | Bud Withers | The Seattle Times
In a word, the kid was magnificent. A season that’s long since gone south on Washington State took a sanguine, optimistic turn Saturday on a chilly Willamette Valley afternoon, as Falk gave WSU faithful what every fan has to have: hope for the future.

Oregon State Beavers offense can't keep up with Washington State in 39-32 loss | OregonLive.com
"Against a team like Washington State, you have to score touchdowns," Beavers running back Terron Ward said, "because you know they're going to put up points. So getting in the red zone and having to convert a field goal instead of a touchdown, it's kind of disappointing."

Goe: The debacle that is becoming Oregon State's season gives fans no grounds for hope | OregonLive.com
With Halliday sidelined for the season, Falk stepped in and looked like Peyton Manning, throwing for 471 yards and five touchdowns against a veteran OSU defense.

OSU football: Beavers unable to slow down freshman quarterback
The game plan was to pressure Falk into mistakes. Instead, he picked apart the Beavers from the start. He did not throw an interception. He showed the poise of an experienced player in the pocket, getting rid of the ball against a heavy rush or tossing it to a back coming out of the backfield. Falk’s throws were precise and accurate.

Pac-12 helmet stickers: Week 11 - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN
Luke Falk, QB, Washington State: Falk's final line from Washington State's 39-32 win at Oregon State looks a lot like some of the gaudy performances Connor Halliday had been posting all season long: 44-for-61, 471 yards, 5 touchdowns, no interceptions. The road environment certainly didn't faze the redshirt freshman in his first career start, as he calmly led the Cougars back from an early 10-0 deficit.

Swimming

WSU Closes Homestand with Victory - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
For the third time in two weeks, the Washington State swim team welcomed an opponent to Gibb Pool and sent them home with a loss.

Beer

Why those elitist millennials hate Big Beer
American millennials aren't drinking what their parents were. Young drinkers are quickly abandoning the major domestic standbys for import and craft beer.

Non-Sports

Why the U.S. Has Fallen Behind in Internet Speed and Affordability - NYTimes.com
I live in an area where I have one choice when it comes to internet providers. This is incredibly frustrating, and seems quite Un-American. Now get off my lawn, unless you can provide better internet.