NCAA Football

Falk struggles in Cougar win

Quarterback Luke Falk struggled with decision-making throughout Washington State’s (2-1) 31-14 victory over Wyoming (0-3) on Saturday. The redshirt sophomore regularly held onto the ball to long, and was unwilling to stretch the field at times against the Cowboys’ porous secondary.

Luke Falk threw two touchdowns and one interception in the victory. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Luke Falk threw two touchdowns and one interception in the victory. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Dom Williams put the game away with his touchdown grab on a corner route with two minutes left to put the game away. Falk quickly tossed the ball to the wideout after the snap to take advantage of an obvious match-up advantage at the line-of-scrimmage. Williams caught three passes, including this ridiculous one-armed grab, on his way to 53-yards and two touchdown catches.

The touchdown came after a Jeremiah Allison interception on the preceding Wyoming drive. Allison jumped in the passing lane to intercept a pass from quarterback Cameron Coffeman, then he returned the ball for 44-yards.

Unlike the Rutgers game, the defense bailed out the offense in the second half as they shut down the Pokes’ offensive attack — outside of a couple of big runs by Brian Hill — to keep the Cougars in the lead. In fact, Hill was the only Cowboy running back to do any damage to WSU’s defense as none of the other tailbacks reached (positive) double digits. It was an encouraging performance from defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, but it was a discouraging performance when it came to the unit’s ability to tackle.

That being said, the defense did a fantastic job of shutting down Hill and Cameron in the second half…which is why WSU was able to pull away in the third quarter.

Before the halftime adjustments, the defense was absolutely gutted by Hill and the Pokes passing attack. Cameron hit Tanner Gentry for a 45-yard bomb for the first score of the game; Marcellus Pippins was torched by the wideout from the start of the play.

While the defense only gave-up one other big pass play, they were continually gashed by Hill throughout the game. Wyoming’s running back carried the ball 20 times for 139 yards, 6.9 yards per carry, and no touchdowns. The defense’s inability to wrap-up was continually exposed by the slippery running back. It’s a major concern going forward, but it isn’t the biggest concern Cougar fans should ave heading into Pac-12 play.

Cougar fans should mostly be concerned about the lack of improvement from Falk. The redshirt sophomore quarterback struggled with his progressions again as he refused to stretch the field throughout the night. Falk struggled to make quick reads against the three weakest secondaries WSU is going to see all game season long, which is highly concerning. Washington State’s offense functions best when it is able to stretch the field with passes over 15 yards…and the quarterback hasn’t really been able to do that so far in 2015.

It’s not all bad news for the Cougar offense as the team’s rushing attack looks fantastic for the second straight week. Keith Harrington has emerged as the team’s primary ball carrier during the non-conference schedule; he carried the ball six times for 68 yards and a touchdown (his touchdown run was 36-yards), and no turnovers in the victory.

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