Welcome back. This is quite the bittersweet week in this section. It took 10 games, but we finally have our first repeat winner of the season. River Cracraft was so good Saturday night that less than four minutes into the third quarter, the Player of the Week voting committee had already concluded that he would win the honor. Cracraft must have a thing for the Bay Area, because his first award came after WSU hammered Stanford.
For the bitter portion, we all saw what happened to Cracraft later in the third quarter, on a seemingly innocuous completion. Something popped in his knee while being tackled, and a torn ligament resulted. On that one small play, Cracraft's career as a WSU Cougar ended. That makes this edition the worst I've ever had to write. Worse than any heart-breaking loss, worse than any Apple Cup humiliation, worse than all of it.
Cracraft's first season wasn't necessarily spectacular, but you could tell early on that he was going to be special. He caught 46 passes for 614 yards and three touchdowns. As promising as that first season was, it would regrettably be the only season in which he didn't suffer an injury.
Despite missing multiple games in his final three seasons, Cracraft had nothing short of a brilliant run when he was able to play. For his career, River had 218 receptions, 2,701 yards and 20 touchdowns. A few of the grabs that stick out to me are the game-winner against Rutgers last season, the touchdown at Stanford this season when he was practically assaulted in the endzone, and last touchdown of his career, an absolute masterpiece in which he snagged a high throw and got his left foot down inbounds.
While it was obvious that Cracraft was having an outstanding game Saturday, what I did not realize until scanning the box score was that Cracraft scored his three touchdowns consecutively. Those three scores all occurred in less than 16 minutes of game time. I'm sure that's happened before, but I'm willing to bet that it hasn't happened often for a receiver. All in all, Cracraft caught nine passes for 87 yards and the aforementioned three touchdowns.
Cracraft was one of the guys who bought in to Mike Leach from the beginning, and was instrumental in WSU's rise from the depths of the Pac-12. So while it's a damn shame that we won't get to witness his brilliance from the slot in a WSU uniform any more, I hope and pray that his career isn't over. In fact, I know it isn't. He's too damn good to let something like this hold him back. So congratulations, River, and thanks for the many great memories. It was truly a pleasure.