Cougars Overcome Stanford 24-21 in an Emotional “Senior Day” Victory
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Cougars Overcome Stanford 24-21 in an Emotional “Senior Day” Victory

Washington State came in to Saturday’s game versus the Stanford Cardinals with victory on their mind. They had a lot of things to work on after their blowout loss in Arizona just a week before. It was the senior’s last home game and it was “Dad’s Weekend”. There was also a chance of snow in the forecast. Many factors in their favor but would they be able to do it around? Washington State did not disappoint and neither did the weather.

In front of a sold-out Martin Stadium, with it packed full of Dads, Washington State battled Stanford to the very end. After a scoreless first quarter, Stanford took a 7-0 lead early in the 2nd on a 52-yard touchdown gallop by their Heisman Trophy running back candidate Bryce Love. It was another big play given up by the Wazzu “Speed D”, after numerous ones the previous week. Luke Falk and his offense fought back. He threw for 2 second quarter touchdowns as Wazzu took a 14-7 half time lead. In the third quarter the Cougs added 3 points to take a 17-7 lead.

The Cardinals from Stanford were ranked for a reason as they quickly scored to cut the lead to 17-14. Late in the 3rd quarter, the Cougs went for it on 4th and 1. Luke Falk threw a pick six as Stanford took the lead 21-17. Cougar nation was wondering if we had “Couged” another one.
Luke Falk saved his perhaps his best drive at Martin Stadium for his last game ever at Martin Stadium. Early in the 4th quarter he took his team on an 11-play drive that covered 95 yards including a huge 3rd down and 14 yards to go pass for a first down to keep the drive alive. He looked like an NFL QB out there as he picked apart Stanford’s defense. He threw perfect pass after perfect pass as the Cougs went ahead 24-21. Senior Frankie Luvu sealed the victory with an interception as the “Speed D” shut out the Stanford Cardinals in the 4th quarter.

After the game, Luke talked to the press about playing his last home game. ““I mean it’s the last time you get to play in Martin Stadium and the way that we won it against a great opponent in Stanford, you know a lot of emotions came together when it was all said and done,” said Falk. “I didn’t really think about them during the game. Once we were able to get the win, I allowed myself to think about some stuff like that and people that have helped me along my path. Coach Mastro and Coach Mele, people like that and all my teammates and the seniors. You know it got emotional, heck I might get emotional right now. It’s just been a great ride, we gotta finish it right.”

Here are 3 observations I had on the game:

Would the real Luke Falk please stand up?

Luke Falk brought his “A” game and then some. Falk looked like the NFL quarterback everyone believes he will become. He completed 34 passes out of 48 attempts for 337 yards and 3 touchdowns. He had one interception, but that was his only “bad” pass of the ballgame. Luke Falk even became the career “Pac-12” leader in passing yards. There was no doubt Luke was back and focused.

Could the “Speed D” put a stop to star Stanford running back Bryce Love?

Bryce Love is a stud running back, many expect to have a chance at the Heisman Trophy. Washington State put a stop to that. Bryce Shaw ended up with 16 carries for 69 yards and one touchdown. Considering that touchdown was for 52 yards, his other 15 carries were for 17 yards. I would say that was a phenomenal effort! The “Speed D” not only stopped Bryce Love, they held the Stanford offense to under 200 yards including 2 sacks and a whopping 11 more tackles for lost yardage. It was a nice rebound from last week by far.

Can the wide receivers step up their game and hold on to the ball, especially in this cold weather?
Luke Falk threw to 9 different receivers during the ballgame, all with multiple catches. They all made huge catches during this ballgame against a tough Stanford defense. Drops occurred but not as many as we thought there were. The important thing was that they held on the ball when they need too, including Luke’s 95-yard fourth quarter drive. Let’s hope this momentum continues into their final 2 regular season games.

Wazzu heads to Utah this Saturday, November 11th. Kickoff is at 2:30pm on the Pac-12 network. Utah has been struggling lately but the Cougs can’t take them lightly. It should be a low scoring game with the Cougs winning 27-19. I will be in front of my tv watching with all of Cougar nation! Where will you be watching?

Go Cougs!

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Brian joined the SSU in 2017 and covers the Everett AquaSox. I'm a graduate of Washington State University and I'm a die-hard baseball fan.