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The most important person vs. Oregon State: Luke Falk, again

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Things went from bad to worse for Falk against the Boise State Broncos. Luckily, OSU is just what the football doctor ordered.

NCAA Football: Boise State at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

ad nauseam

Latin: to sickness

adverb: referring to something that has been done or repeated so often that it has become annoying or tiresome.

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I racked my brain this week, trying to think of someone, some unit, some coach ... literally anyone else. The defensive line or the linebackers? Ryan Nall tore them a new one last year, they’ll need to bottle him up if they want to stop OSU’s offense. The offense line? Five sacks against the Boise State Broncos was a pretty subpar performance. The running backs? Partially due to the offensive line’s issues, they never really got going.

Nope, I kept circling back. Back to the guy who we were worried about last week, the guy who, prior to an apparent injury in the fourth quarter, was actually healthy when pulled from a game for the first time in his career at Washington State.

Back to the guy who looked like an absolute shell of himself last Saturday.

I said this week I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong with Luke Falk. Whatever it is though, this was the last thing I expected to worry about when the season started. Of all the things I was concerned about on this football team (wide receivers, defensive backs, depth at defensive line), starting quarterback was lower on the list than “is Cody O’Connell getting enough to eat?”.

I’m still worried about all the things I listed but, inexplicably, quarterback has jumped right to the top of the list. Luke Falk has looked very ... well, un-Luke Falk like in two games. Those shovel passes and dump offs were fine against a team you overmatched in virtually every respect, but we quickly saw why it wouldn’t work against a team that can at least challenge some Pac-12 squads on a yearly basis. Falk’s one completed deep pass of the game featured Renard Bell who was so insanely wide open, he had time to sit and wait for Falk’s throw to arrive and THEN take off for the endzone.

Falk has been prone to slow starts the last two seasons, I get that. But this seems very, very different. We’re now at five games in a row where Falk’s performance has been underwhelming at best, terrible at worst. Something is off with WSU’s all time passing leader, and he needs to figure out what it is fast.

Here’s the good news: the Oregon State Beavers are just what the doctor ordered for the redshirt senior. We all know that he’s been good against the Beavs every time out, but how good? In 3 starts:

116 for 157, 1,293 yards, 16 touchdowns, 2 interceptions

Very, very good.

No matter the circumstances, with different coaches and players, Luke Falk has absolutely pummeled Oregon State. Even last year after a terrible first half, Falk chucked it all over the yard to help his team score four second half touchdowns. Every year against Oregon State, Falk has put on an absolute clinic when it comes to running the Air Raid. Oh, and by the way, they’re missing both starting cornerbacks in this one.

For him then, this is a get right game. I understand the receivers haven’t done him many favors (cases of the dropsies come to mind) but Falk hasn’t looked the part either. Maybe there’s more to losing River Cracraft and Gabe Marks than we can possibly know, I’m not sure. But right now, Falk doesn’t seem like himself.

Falk is as (CLICHED FOOTBALL TERMS ALERT) tough, gritty, and competitive a quarterback as I’ve ever seen. He knows he hasn’t been up to par this year. He knows he needs to get this offense rolling in the two weeks before the true slog of the Pac-12 schedule starts.

But there’s a difference between knowing and doing it. He has to do it this weekend against Oregon State, a team he shreds on a yearly basis. Get me back the old QB1, Luke. I miss him dearly.

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You gotta be

You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold

You gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard

You gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger

You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm

-Desiree Weeks

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Luke Falk, the most important person against Oregon State.