Photo Credit: CougCenter
No. 11 Washington State (6-0, 3-0) blew out the Oregon Ducks (4-2, 1-2) 33-10 after a slow start in the first half. The defense controlled a one dimensional Ducks’ offense, while the Cougars offense took awhile to wake up.
The game effectively ended when freshmen quarterback Braxton Burmeister was intercepted by Marcus Strong; Strong returned the pick for 27-yards. On the very next play, Luke Falk would hit Isaiah Johnson-Mack on a perfectly run streak down the sideline for a 25-yard touchdown to give Washington State a 20 point lead. Mike Leach’s squad finally got the nut shot it was looking for.
Eric Powell would tack on a 29-yarder — his fourth field goal of the game– to give the Coug’s the final margin of victory.
Burmeister’s legs kept the Ducks moving down field, but the Cougars were able to stop him from running after a few first downs. Robert Taylor would then intercept a poorly thrown pass that bounced out of the receivers hands to get the ball back to WSU’s offense.
The Cougar offense was ineffective on the ensuing drive, and they were forced to punt after burning very little time off of the clock. Fortunately Oregon would struggle to continually move the ball down field and would be stopped on fourth and six with a little under six minutes on the clock.
Falk’s second touchdown of the game gave Washington State a 20-10 lead to cap of the Cougs’ first drive after the intermission. Renamed Bell caught a perfectly thrown ball in from of the goal post to cap off a seven play drive. It was the first drive of the game were the redshirt senior seemed truly comfortable with his young wide outs.
Two possessions later, WSU would march into the red zone…but would fail to punch it in. Which led to a 47-yard by kicker Eric Powell to give the Cougars a 13-point lead.
Throughout the first half, Falk looked lost at times as he held onto the ball far to long and refused to take advantage of the space his receivers were generating. As he struggled with his reads, the offensive line would wear down and Oregon was consistenly inside the pocket; in fact the Ducks sacked Falk three times.
Despite the offensive struggles for Washington State, they took a 13-10 lead into halftime because of its kicker. Powell had two field goals in the first half, one from 52-yards and another from 25.
Oregon’s offense was one dimensional during the same half, as the true freshmen quarterback struggled with his reads against an aggressive Cougar defensive front. Burmeister did connect with his tight end Jacob Breeland on a wide open pass for a 30-yard touchdown at the end of the first quarter to get the Oregon within three, but that was the only play he looked comfortable with on in the first half.
Washington State opened up the game with an impressive stop on fourth and one in Oregon territory on the Ducks’ first possession, then Falk followed the stop by dumping the ball off to Morrow. The senior tailback raced out to the sideline and outraced every member of the Ducks’ secondary all the way to the end zone for the first score of the game. Falk’s first touchdown pass of the game was the 106th score of his career which moved him past Marcus Mariota (into second)!on the Pac-12’s career touchdown list.