Friday Lights Showdown with USC Looms Ahead for WSU
James Snook/USA TODAY Sports

Luke Falk threw for 5 touchdown passes on Saturday as the 18th ranked Washington State Cougars routed Nevada-Reno to go 4-0 on the season. The Cougs led 35-0 at halftime and the outcome was never in doubt. The Cougars haven’t had a start like this since 2001 when they started out 7-0. The offense had over 500 yards in total offense and the defense was unstoppable, nearly shutting Nevada out until late in the 4th quarter.

Here are 3 observations I had on the game:

  1. Is Hercules that Good?

Hercules Mata’afa is unstoppable in the middle on defense. When are teams going to realize that Hercules is the real thing? Hercules had 2.5 sacks in the first quarter alone and he disrupted Nevada’s O-line all game long. On the young season, he has 4.5 sacks and multiple tackles for losses. If it weren’t for the constant double and triple team on him by the opposing team, those stats would be much higher. His presence alone is getting him noticed across the entire country.

  1. Has Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch put his stamp on this defense

Alex Grinch has not only made a name for himself, he has turned the Cougar Defense into one of the best in the Pac-12 conference. For one, they lead the conference in tackles for losses. In his 3 years as D.C. he has lowered the points allowed from roughly 38 points a game to 23 a game. If that isn’t remarkable, what is? He’s already getting his name thrown around as a future head coaching candidate. W.S.U. needs to do what they can to secure this guy for long term. The depth alone should keep W.S.U. in contention during games all season long. When people think of W.S.U. they usually talk about the offense. With Alex Grinch at the helm they will soon be talking about the defense as well.

  1. Are there concerns with the offensive line moving forward

Even though they are 4-0, there are concerns with the offensive line. Luke Falk has endured too many hits in the first four games, and with the schedule only getting stronger in terms of quality of talent, they need to be able to protect their QB all 4 quarters. USC will be their first test this Friday night under the lights in Pullman. The offensive line will need to do a better job if Luke Falk and the Cougars are going to pull off the victory. Yes, the line has seasoned veterans on yet, but as for 4 games into the season they haven’t gelled into a solid line just yet.

Friday night should be an incredible game on ESPN at 7:30pm. 5th rank USC vs 16th rank W.S.U. This game will show us if the Cougs are a 10-2 team or a 6-6. I know I will be watching and rooting on my Cougars!

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.