NCAA Football

Washington State’s losing streak in Tempe is over

With their 37-32 victory over the Sun Devils (5-3, 2-3) , the Cougars (5-2, 4-0) won their first game in Tempe, Ariz. since 2001. It was an ugly victory that saw quarterback Luke Falk take an absolute pounding, and ended with Todd Graham telling Mike Leach his comments during the week were “chickenshit”.

The final points of the game were scored when Graham made the decision to kick a field goal down by eight points on 4th and 3 from the 11-yard line with four and half minutes on the clock. While ASU was playing its second string quarterback, when you are in the last five minutes of the game and you need a touchdown to tie it…you need to go for the touchdown. It’s hard to fathom why Graham didn’t in this situation, and it cost his team the game.

Gabe Marks’ 52-yard touchdown reception with 13 minutes left ended up being the difference, despite the missed PAT. Falk found Marks in a one-on-one match up thanks to another ASU blitz and he hit the senior wideout with a beautiful rainbow pass to give the Cougs up by 16. Which was just enough of a lead for Washington State to squeak out-of-town with a win.

Arizona State looked like it was left for dead after the Marks touchdown, but Graham’s defense forced a three and out on the Cougs next drive. Tim White returned the punt 70-yards for a touchdown to get his squad back into the game.

The Sun Devils defense had Falk out of sorts today as he was constantly being blitzed and under pressure. ASU sacked the redshirt junior seven times throughout the night, and rushed him out of the pocket countless other times throughout the game. Fortunately for WSU, Falk didn’t really force to many passes and the only time he fumbled the ball he it was recovered by an alert linemen; Falk’s left arm was hurt on reaching out to trip up a defender.

It was not Falk’s best performance as it seemed the Sun Devils defensive pressure had him second guessing his reads and he took forever to get the ball out of his hands. It’ll be interesting to see how he looks next week against OSU.

Also of note, freshmen Robert Taylor returned a kick off 100 yards in the second quarter. Taylor’s return was the first time a Coug has returned a kick off to the house since Sammy Watkins back in 2003 against Colorado.

After the game, Graham was unhappy with Leach’s commenting on ASU’s sign stealing. Leach really didn’t care for what Graham had to say.

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Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports