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CougCenter Player of the Week: Tavares Martin

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

The third game of this Cougar Football season easily brought us the highest amount of offensive candidates for our POTW column. That is par for the course when WSU faces Oregon State nowadays. In Luke Falk’s four games against the Beavers, the team his scored at least 35 points, and hit 52 in both Pullman games. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that the offense obviously shined when WSU puts up those point totals.

The Cougar offense’s shredding of the Beaver defense was largely due to three people, all of whom come from the passing game. The running backs didn’t get a whole lot of chances, at least when compared to the previous two games, and the offensive linemen still haven’t played to their potential.

On defense, about 20 players registered at least one tackle. Alex Grinch must have been dizzy watching all those players run back and forth. And while that defense only surrendered 21 points, nobody turned in a standout performance. That’s particularly true of Hercules Mata’afa, who did not appear on the stat sheet. While I wasn’t watching him closely, something tells me he occupied a double team on nearly every play.

So this week, it’s all offense, kind of.

Honorable Mention: Frankie Luvu had yet another solid game. He recorded three tackles, including one TFL, and scooped up a Marcellus Pippins-caused fumble, taking it all the way back for WSU’s third defensive touchdown in two weeks. Luvu is turning in an outstanding senior season thus far.

2nd Runner-Up: Isaiah Johnson-Mack

Up until Saturday, I mostly knew Johnson-Mack as “that receiver who carries the ball way far away from his body and scares the crap out of me and who has also fumbled once this season oh and he dropped the game-winning pass against Boise State.” After Saturday, he’s that guy who can physically dominate smaller defensive backs and come up with a huge share of 50/50 balls. Johnson-Mack finished with nine catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns. A few of those catches weren’t exactly easy, and he made the OSU corners look silly. Hopefully he can keep it up.

1st Runner-Up: Luke Falk

Falk came into the game surrounded by quite a bit of fan noise (none of which I think he heard or minded), and a not insignificant amount of pressure since his starting job was far less secure than it was a week ago. Oregon State, once again, played the part of speed bump. In his first three starts against OSU, Falk threw for 471, 407 and 415 yards. Falk “only” threw for 396 this time. WHAT HAPPENED LUKE COME ON.

Aside from that safety, Falk played really well, mostly due to the fact that he trusted his outside receivers to go up and get the ball. The result was another six touchdown passes. In his four games against OSU, Falk went five/six/five/six in the touchdown passes category. He’s nothing if not consistent. He also averaged 8.1 YPA, which is quite good. Falk really improved this week. Let’s hope it continues.

Winner: Tavares Martin Jr.

In WSU’s first game, Martin caught a mere four passes for a paltry 16 yards. Things got a little better in the second game, as he caught eight passes for 66 yards. None of those catches resulted in touchdowns, and the explosiveness we saw from Martin in 2016 was largely absent. It was definitely not absent against Oregon State.

Martin was back to his explosive self, catching 10 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns. The first score came on a play where he absolutely torched the OSU defensive backs, and caught a beauty of a pass from Falk. He also applied the dagger in the third quarter, turning 3rd-and-22 into a 57 yard touchdown on which he outran the entire defense. This is the kind of game we know Martin can produce, and I doubt it will be his last. Congratulations, Tavares.

Poll

Who was WSU’s Player of the Week?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Isaiah Johnson-Mack
    (6 votes)
  • 18%
    Luke Falk
    (48 votes)
  • 51%
    Tavares Martin, Jr
    (138 votes)
  • 27%
    The person who scheduled a day game
    (74 votes)
266 votes total Vote Now