Welcome back to CougCenter's weekly Player of the Week feature. Although we all love it when the Cougs put on a dominant performance such as the one against Oregon State, it makes this post a good bit more difficult to write. I can't think of a better problem to have. There were outstanding performances all over the field Saturday, on both offense and defense. Heck, even the special teams mixed in a couple good plays among yet another subpar performance.
I will admit that, outside a few highlights, I didn't see any of the game until Monday Night's 60-minute version aired. During the game, I was staring at my phone in disbelief as the texts kept rolling in. "7-0." "14-0." "21-3." "31-3." etc. etc. Was WSU really laying the wood to a conference opponent? I may have had some preconceived notions about where to go this week, but I'm hopeful that there's really no wrong answer. Again, it's a nice problem to have.
- Peyton Pelluer: Pelluer led the team in tackles yet again. He had 11 total, including two tackles-for loss. He was even credited with a pass broken up. It sure is nice when a linebacker paces the team with 10 solo stops, and not a safety, as we've seen so many times.
- Darryl Destiny Paulo Vaeao: This tandem may not rack up a big stat line, but they're causing quite a bit of problems in opposing backfields. This game was no different.
- Gabe Marks: Ho hum. Just another six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.
2nd Runner-Up: Luke Falk
Falk had himself quite a game on Saturday. His final stat line was 28-33, 323 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. That was good for a robust 9.8 yards-per-attempt. Wait, Falk did all the in the first half?! Yowza. How many coaches would kill to have their quarterback post those numbers for an entire game? Like the rest of the offense, Falk cooled off after halftime, but the game was all but over when the teams went to the locker room. Falk was outstanding yet again.
1st Runner-Up: Shalom Luani
Seems like Luani is well on his way to becoming the Susan Lucci of this feature. He's right there nearly every week, but can't get over the top for some reason. I'm sure he'll rest easy tonight, though, what with the conference recognizing him as its top defensive performer. All he did was intercept two passes - one returned 84 yards for a score - record 11 tackles, break up another pass and deliver a couple thunderous hits. Something tells me that Gary Andersen and company wish Luani had stuck with the Beavers on signing day. We're sure glad he saw the light and joined WSU instead.
Winner: Dom Williams
Dom Williams had quite the little Saturday. After missing practice early in the week to attend memorial services for his deceased grandmother, Williams came back more focused than ever. His fellow receivers could tell that Williams was in line to have a big game. From the Spokesman Review:
"I knew he was going to come out and play hard, because that’s what she would have wanted for him and he understands that," receiver Gabe Marks said. "I knew that once he got on the field he would be fine. When he came back to practice he was on fire."
That's exactly what Dom Williams did. In the first half alone, he caught nine passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Among those was a catch in the second quarter where he went up along the left sideline, in between two defenders, caught a high pass and came down in bounds. I had to watch it three times to figure out how he didn't land out of bounds. It was a tremendous catch on an afternoon in which he was virtually un-coverable. Congratulations to Dom Williams for a performance that stood out among other great ones.