From Pullman – Despite sloppy play from the offense, in particular starting quarterback Luke Falk, the Cougars (4-2, 3-0) did enough beat UCLA (3-4, 1-3) 27-21 on Saturday night.
The Bruins were driving down the field with less about three minutes left when Bruins quarterback Mike Fafaul hit Jordan Lasley for a 13 yard pass that would have picked up a first down. But Walker was hit from behind by linebacker Dylan Hanser and fumbled the ball, Peyton Pelluer recovered the fumble; initially the officials ruled that Walker was down, but ahe review quickly overturned the on-field decision.
UCLA had the ball once more before the end of the game, on their own two-yard line, but a an airmailed pass by Faful was picked off by Charelston White to seal the Washington State’s fourth straight win, and its third straight conference victory.
Fafaul played…alright in his first college start. The redshirt junior averaged 6.4 yards per pass while completing 24 of 40 attempts; he also threw two interceptions and three touchdowns. He also didn’t get any help from his running backs as they averaged 1.7 yards per carry — Soso Jamabo carried the ball twice for 12 yards, he had the Bruins highest YPC. While he had no help from the backfield, he had surprisingly good pass protection.
Offensively the Cougars were not efficient in the wet and windy conditions. Falk averaged 5.4 yards per pass, and the rushing attack averaged 2.7 yards per carry (including sacks). The quarterback was sacked three times, two of which were caused by him being indecisive in the rain and wind against one of the conference’s best pass defenses.
Falk’s decision-making led to a poor interception in the end zone as the offense was driving at the end of the first quarter. The redshirt junior also had a fumble during one of the few rain-free windows during the game; yes it was a fumble, the ball came loose before his arm started moving forward.
One of the funnier running plays came when Riley Sorenson’s snap rolled into the backfield and James Williams scooped it up; Williams bounced outside of the tackles to pick up eight yards and put the Cougars on UCLA’s two yard line. Gerard Wicks scampered in from the one yard line two plays later, it was Wicks’ second touchdown of the game.
Next up for Washington State is a 7 pm kick off down in Tempe, Ariz. while the Bruins get to host No. 21 Utah in the Rose Bowl.
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Photo Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports