Luke Falk and the No. 21 Washington State Cougars offense finally caught fire as they dismantled the Oregon State Beavers on their way to going 3-0 for the first time since 2005.
Early on, the game felt eerily similar to last week’s against Boise State. Falk and the offense struggled to find a rhythm as the defense and special teams carried the load and kept Oregon State off the scoreboard. The teams traded a few punts until Falk found Tavares Martin, Jr. behind the defense for a 21-yard scoring strike.
TOUCHDOWN @wsucougfb! #OSUvsWSU— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 16, 2017
Watch: https://t.co/ZLABag9Ytt pic.twitter.com/chEXSdAQTv
Oregon State followed with a drive that ended in WSU territory at the 36. The Beavers elected to punt, and pinned the Cougar offense at its own 1-yard line. On the first play of the ensuing WSU drive, Falk’s pass was tipped by an Oregon State defender before being corralled by Jamal Morrow, who was unable to escape the end zone and was tackled for a safety.
The Beavers’ next drive again fizzled just outside the WSU 30. Facing a 4th & 6, OSU head coach Gary Andersen curiously opted against either going for it or kicking the long field goal. Instead, he allowed the play clock to run down and sent his punting unit to the field.
After a relatively quiet and punt-filled first quarter, the Washington State offense came alive in the second. Sandwiching a Ryan Nall touchdown run for Oregon State, Luke Falk found Isaiah Johnson-Mack twice and Tavares Martin once more, each of the three Cougar touchdowns coming on fade routes as the larger outside receivers used their height to outmuscle the Beaver cornerbacks.
At the half, Luke Falk had completed 22 passes for 199 yards, with the outside receivers accounting for 13 of those catches and 156 yards. The second half continued the theme of WSU’s outside receivers running roughshod over the OSU secondary, with Falk completing passes to Johnson-Mack, Martin, and Dezmon Patmon, and driving to the OSU 4. The drive stalled there, and an Erik Powell field goal attempt was blocked. On the next possession, Ryan Nall broke through the Cougar defense, shedding multiple tackles on his way to a 45-yard touchdown jaunt.
That was just about the end of the positives for the Beavers, however, and the next few series would be their undoing. After back-to-back sacks put the Cougars in a hole and facing a 3rd & 22, Falk sent a missile into the hands of Tavares Martin who snared it and raced 57 yards into the end zone for his third touchdown of the night.
Luke Falk having himself a day!— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 17, 2017
That's 5⃣ touchdowns today...#IsThatGood?
Watch #OSUvsWSU: https://t.co/YfMNDWtSGW pic.twitter.com/8XAXzv2RwA
After a replay took a first down away from Oregon State, #SpeedD rallied up and stuffed Ryan Nall in the backfield on fourth down, and Falk found Kyle Sweet for his sixth touchdown pass of the day. After the quarter break, Alex Grinch’s boys got on the scoreboard for the third time in two weeks, as Marcellus Pippins came unblocked off the edge and, in the words of Pac-12 Network commentator Anthony Herron, made a “beeline for the soul” of OSU quarterback Jake Luton. He dislodged the ball from Luton’s grasp and Frankie Luvu scooped and scored from forty yards out.
The old scoop n' score move! #OSUvsWSU— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 17, 2017
Watch: https://t.co/YfMNDWtSGW pic.twitter.com/XvuvBzqHi3
After a terrifying several minutes where Jake Luton was attended to by the medical staff, Darell Garretson came on in relief and found Seth Collins in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard score. Falk played a handful of snaps on the next drive, before yielding to Tyler Hilinski. The sophomore methodically moved the offense down the field—including a conversion on 4th & 8—taking nearly eight minutes off the clock and culminating in a 21-yard field goal by Powell to round out the scoring.