Washington State’s eighth win of the season came behind an outstanding defensive performance and the excellent work of RB Gerard Wicks. But that isn’t the story, as quarterback Luke Falk went down with an apparent neck or head injury in the third quarterback, he didn’t come back in the game.
Wicks piled up 123 yards on 13 carries to become WSU’s first 100+ yard rusher since the 2010 victory over Montana State. He repeatedly ripped of ten yard runs to keep the chains movng. The tailbacks performance was a major reason the Buffaloes were only able to get to the quarterback once, as he was really good at torching the defense when they brought pressure on Saturday night.
Unfortunately the one time Colorado was able to get to the QB, it knocked Luke Falk out of the game.
Unlike the hit that temporarily knocked Falk out of the UCLA game, there was nothing excessive or dirty about the tackle that knocked him out against Colorado. Samson Kafovalu wrapped Falk up at the waste and pulled him down on top of him; as the quarterback rolled over to the turf, his head violently bounced off of it.
The quarterback was knocked out for several seconds as he laid still on the field. Eventually the training staff removed his face mask and he was strapped down to the board before being placed on the cart. ESPN later reported that he was taken to the hospital for testing.
Peyton Bender stepped into the void and performed admirably, but he clearly looked like a redshirt freshmen at times. He threw the ball 23 times, completed 13 of them for 133 yards one interception and one touchdown. Bender’s best through of the night came when he hit Gabe Marks on a back shoulder fade to put WSU up by 21.
While the offense worked in fits in starts, the defense was absolutely dominant against an over matched Colorado offensive unit that was missing its starting quarterback. Starting quarterback Cade Aspay didn’t play all that well as he dropped one pass right into Charleston White’s lap for his first interception of the game; and his second pick was a pass that was a little short, right at senior Taylor Taliulu.
It was Tailulu’s first career interception, and it came on senior night.
The defense gave up 323 total yards to Colorado, it was the lowest total yardage the defense has given-up since 1996. If the defense didn’t have such a dominating performance, this game could have been a whole lot more intense…especially after Falk went down.
Washington State is now ranked No. 20 in the USA Today coaches poll and the AP Poll. The College Football Playoff committee releases their standings on Tuesday.