Washington State’s redshirt sophomore quarterback is a major reason that the Cougars have earned their first AP ranking since 2006. The Sports with Neil and friends staff take a look at why Luke Falk should win the Heisman Trophy.
“Cool hand Luke” is the hero the Cougars needed
By Neil Roberts
The Rose Bowl, Autzen Stadium, and High Points Solution Stadium have all seen Luke Falk lead a game altering, length of the field, touchdown drive in around a minute; two of those touchdowns proved to be the game winner (UCLA, Rutgers), and the third one (Oregon) tied the game to send it to overtime.
It’s his steady nerve, and solid decision-making, in the closing minutes of the game that have proven to be the biggest difference maker for Washington State throughout its incredible 2015 season.
During those three drives — and the final drive against Stanford — Falk consistently shredded the defense, and put his team in position to win. And that’s exactly what Heisman voters should be considering when they fill out their ballots in these next few weeks.
The game against UCLA just proves how skilled the quarterback is as he bounced back from a vicious hit to lead the Cougars to an upset victory in the Rose Bowl. Despite an overthrown ball, WSU marched right down the field — despite an increasingly desperate UCLA pass rush — to score the game winning drive with three seconds left on the clock. Falk was sacked six times against the Bruins, and he still managed to toss 331 yards and three touchdowns.
Even in the loss to Stanford, Falk led the offense into field goal range…again, with over a minute left on the clock.
The most impressive come back that he has engineered is the 10-point one against the Oregon Ducks. He was almost clinical, especially on the game tying drive, as he marched WSU down the field for a field goal, then a touchdown to send it to OT. Falk’s game tying touchdown pass to Dom Williams was placed in a spot where only the senior was going to come down with it…or it was going to sail out of bounds.
Luke Falk has shown the leadership, determination, and football IQ that should earn him a trip to New York in January; he’s earned at least that.
By the Numbers
|Category||YPG||YPA||TD||PPG*||Comp. %||Total Plays|
Stats current as of 11/20/2015
*Points responsible for per game
Falk deserves national acclaim
By Zack Menchel
Even as a red-shirt sophomore, WSU quarterback Luke Falk seems as much of a guarantee for the up-start Cougars on game day this season as bipolar weather conditions, rowdy spirited fans, and an endless flow of adult beverages.
The first-year starter has steadily caught the collective eye of the nation having emerged as a viable Heisman candidate entering the final stretch of college football before bowl season.
With two regular season games left to play, Falk already has the Cougars (7-3) bowl eligible following the team’s dismal three-win campaign in 2014.
Led by Falk, WSU was a field goal short of upsetting then No. 8 Stanford on Halloween night but was able to take down No. 17 UCLA at the Rose Bowl two weeks later.
Falk was 38-for-53 passing for 331 yards and two touchdowns in a signature win against a stout Bruins defense. He temporarily left the game due to a head injury and returned in time to lead the Cougars on a comeback drive and eventual last-second touchdown pass to Gabe Marks.
Now, Falk is the current leader in the FBS in passing yards (4,067), completions (391) and an Air Raid staple, attempts (556) through 10 games. His 35 passing touchdowns and 70.3 percent completion percentage rank him second in those respective categories.
Despite Air Raid stigma, Falk should win Heisman
By Victor Vargas
It’s that time of the year again to argue with friends and strangers alike over who is worthy of The Heisman Trophy. In the Heisman discussion, our very own Luke Falk from WSU is entering the discussion with Mike Leach hailing him as not just a candidate, but someone who should win the award.
Is Leach right?
Usually The Heisman goes to someone who plays for a national title contender (Marcus Mariota) or someone who becomes sort of a folk hero for the nation (Johnny Manziel). Falk’s Heisman credentials will depend on him falling into the latter category.
Falk, for those paying attention, has put on one of the most impressive seasons any WSU quarterback has ever seen and the Cougs’ most recent victory against UCLA has forced the nation to take notice. After a disastrous start to the season against Portland State, Falk has led the Cougs to a 5-2 record in conference play and a 7-3 record overall. After everyone all but counted out WSU to do anything significant this season, they’re within striking distance usurping Stanford the lead in the North. If that’s not a folk hero tale, I don’t know what is.
Oh yeah, and Falk’s stats are impressive to say the least. He’s the nation’s leader in passing yards (4,067) and passing yards per game (406.7). He leads the Pac-12 in touchdown passes (35) and total offense (395.7 yards per game). Some critics have dismissed these stats, claiming they come from Leach’s Air Raid offensive system. That’s a short-sighted argument because it assumes that any quarterback could pull off those kinds of numbers under the system. The fact is Luke Falk put up those numbers because he is a talented quarterback.
Falk can add to his case with big wins against Colorado and Washington, and if Stanford collapses he could lead WSU to a Pac-12 North title tie-breaker against the Cardinals. This is all optimistic thinking of course, but the season that Falk has put together so far warrants strong consideration for The Heisman.