Welcome back. I’m not trying to elicit any sympathy for my plight this week, but how the heck does one go about selecting a single standout performance after what we saw Saturday? There were almost as many records set on the field as there were inebriated dads in the seats. That kind of thing tends to happen when you beat a conference opponent by NINE touchdowns.
However as I’ve said more than once previously, doing this little exercise after a win is far more enjoyable than after a loss. Luckily, we haven’t had to read one of these following a loss since, September 10? Holy cow. The best part is that we haven’t had a repeat winner all season, which means that different guys are stepping forward every week. This week’s co-winners are also making their 2016 debuts. So let’s get to it.
2nd Runner-Up: Isaac Dotson
A bit of a mea culpa to begin. Dotson has been very good this season, and has not garnered the recognition he probably deserves. Even though he didn't win this week, Dotson was everywhere once again. He led the team with seven tackles, chalking up 2.5 tackles-for-loss. In a game full of big defensive plays, Dotson may have made the most. In the second quarter, with Arizona threatening to get on the board, Dotson chased down Anu Solomon and knocked the ball loose. Peyton Pelluer recovered, and seven plays later, WSU was in the endzone again to make it 31-0. The rout was on.
1st Runner-Up: Nnamdi Oguayo
The freshman from Beltsville, Maryland wasn't seeing the field a whole lot to start the season. That all changed with Logan Tago's suspension, and Oguayo sure made a name for himself Saturday. Entering the game, Oguayo hadn't registered a sack. After the game, he had three. Not too bad! His first sack came with the game still (kind of) in doubt. Arizona trailed 17-0, and faced 4th-and-4 and the WSU 39. Oguayo burst through and sacked Solomon for a loss of 14. Six plays later, it was 24-0. He was also credited with breaking up a pass. All in all, he had a nice little Saturday.
Winners: Luke Falk and Tyler Hilinski
Yes, this is a copout. No, I'm not sorry about it. We'll start with the starter. Luke Falk threw 35 passes, and completed an insane 91.4% of them. That is a Pac-12 record for any quarterback who threw more than 30 passes, eclipsing a record set back in 1959. Falk also averaged 8.9 YPA and tossed four touchdowns. It certainly helped that he had enough time to cook a 12-course meal in the pocket, which is a credit to the big guys in front of him. The best part? He left the game healthy, in the third quarter.
That leads us to Tyler Hilinski, who got the most meaningful snaps of his young career against Arizona. Unfortunately, he couldn't live up to Falk's numbers. Whereas Falk completed over 90%, Hilinski could only manage to complete 88% of his throws, going 15-17. He did outdo Falk in YPA, coming in at 9.6. The cherry on top was that absolute beauty of a deep ball Hilinski threw to River Cracraft in the fourth quarter. So what if the Cougs were up 55-7 at the time? It's always great when a young guy gets a chance to show his stuff in the game, regardless of the score.
So congratulations to the WSU quarterbacks. You both were outstanding.