Sports

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Q&A: Cougars Hall of Famer Paul Sorensen on a huge Apple Cup matchup

Posted By on Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 12:25 PM

Three Washington State defenders surround Washington running back Sterling Hinds as Cougars safety Paul Sorensen (28) closes in on the play during the 1981 Apple Cup at Husky Stadium, won 23-10 by the UW. - WSU ATHLETICS
  • WSU Athletics
  • Three Washington State defenders surround Washington running back Sterling Hinds as Cougars safety Paul Sorensen (28) closes in on the play during the 1981 Apple Cup at Husky Stadium, won 23-10 by the UW.

When Paul Sorensen hit an opponent on the football field, he delivered a powerful blow.

A Cougar for just two seasons after transferring from 
Does it get any more Wazzu (in a good way) than Butch the Cougar and Paul Sorensen? - GREG DAVIS SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Greg Davis Sports Photography
  • Does it get any more Wazzu (in a good way) than Butch the Cougar and Paul Sorensen?
a Northern California junior college, he made an outsized impact as an All-America free safety who packed a wallop. A team leader and senior co-captain, Sorensen was far from one-dimensional; twice an All-Pac-10 All-Academic pick, he also intercepted four passes for a 1981 team that represented Washington State in a bowl game or the first time in a half-century, and only the third time ever.

Selected by the Cincinnati in the fifth round of the 1982 NFL draft (one of 10 players from that 1981 Cougars team to be drafted from 1982-86), he spent a season with the Bengals, another with the 49ers, and played in the USFL. You might know him better as the color commentator and analyst on Eastern Washington football radio broadcasts for the past 14 years, and as a color commentator on WSU radio broadcasts from 1985-98; during that 14-season span, he called some of the most memorable games in Cougars history.

In September, Sorensen was inducted into the WSU Athletics Hall of Fame. He answered questions regarding his Apple Cup experiences ahead of Saturday's game in Seattle:


Q: This is the biggest Apple Cup of the Pac-12 era; arguably the biggest for Cougars fans in 15 years, since the 2002 game. What would a victory, with the prospect of a rematch with USC in the Pac-12 title game, mean to this football program?

A: The 2016 Apple Cup was for the Pac-12 North title and the Huskies won it in Pullman. The 1981 Apple Cup decided the conference championship outright; with either a win or tie by the Cougs, WSU would be conference champions for the first time since 1931. The Huskies won that game 23-10, then went on and won the Rose Bowl game over Iowa.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Q&A: Cougars Hall of Famer Paul Sorensen weighs in on WSU's defense

Posted By on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 12:56 PM

Paul Sorensen returns an interception vs. San Jose State in his first WSU game at Spokane's Joe Albi Stadium in 1980.
  • Paul Sorensen returns an interception vs. San Jose State in his first WSU game at Spokane's Joe Albi Stadium in 1980.

When Paul Sorensen hit an opponent on the football field, he delivered a powerful blow.

A Cougar for just two seasons after transferring from a Northern California junior college, he made an outsized impact as an All-America free safety who packed a wallop. A team leader and senior co-captain, Sorensen was far from one-dimensional; twice an All-Pac-10 All-Academic pick, he also intercepted four passes for a 1981 team that represented Washington State in a bowl game or the first time in a half-century, and only the third time ever.

Selected by Cincinnati in the fifth round of the 1982 NFL Draft (one of 10 players from that 1981 Cougars team to be drafted from 1982-86), he spent a season with the Bengals, another with the 49ers, and played in the USFL. You might know him better as a color commentator and analyst on Eastern Washington football radio broadcasts for the past 14 years, and as a color commentator on WSU radio broadcasts from 1985-98; during that 14-season span, he called some of the most memorable games in Cougars history.

In September, Sorensen was inducted into the WSU Athletics Hall of Fame. He answered questions we had regarding this season's Cougars defense ahead of Saturday's Apple Cup:


Q: It's no surprise that Mike Leach's Air Raid offense has held up its end of the bargain this season; what's really set this team apart is its success on defense. As a former Cougars safety, what's responsible for WSU's defensive breakthrough?

A: WSU has recruited better athletes on the defensive side of the ball, and then done a great job coaching them up, led by third-year coordinator Alex Grinch, being mentioned in the same breath as (Clemson defensive coordinator) Brent Venables and (Miami defensive coordinator) Manny Diaz as one of the top three defensive coordinators in the land.

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Minus Kam and Sherm, Seahawks host Falcons on Monday Night Football

Posted By on Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 2:56 PM

Russell Wilson, Thomas Rawls and the rest of the Seahawks hope to have something to celebrate tonight in their only Monday Night Football appearance when they host the Falcons, who knocked them out of last season's NFC playoffs. - SEAHAWKS.COM
  • Seahawks.com
  • Russell Wilson, Thomas Rawls and the rest of the Seahawks hope to have something to celebrate tonight in their only Monday Night Football appearance when they host the Falcons, who knocked them out of last season's NFC playoffs.

In the aftermath of Richard Sherman's season-ending ruptured Achilles tendon, Seahawks fans could at least take comfort in the return of Earl Thomas, who plays Monday night after a two-game, three-week absence as the 5-4 Falcons, away from home for the fourth time in their past five games and looking nothing like the NFC champions they were just nine months ago, come calling.

But that was before the news that Kam Chancellor's season is almost certainly over as well, ended by a neck injury — first diagnosed as a stinger — he suffered in the Cardinals' final possession in the Hawks' costly 22-16 victory at Arizona on Nov. 9. The Hawks are likely to place the four-time Pro Bowl strong safety on injured reserve, ending his season early for the first time in his eight-year career.

What was likely Chancellor's final game of 2017 was also his best — nine of his team-high 10 tackles were solo stops; he knocked down a Drew Stanton pass; forced Adrian Peterson's fumble on the first play from scrimmage, setting the Hawks up at the Cardinals' 48; and tackled Peterson, like Chancellor a future Hall of Famer, in the end zone for a safety that gave the Hawks a 9-7 lead early in the second quarter.

As with fellow eight-year veteran Thomas, who has inserted himself into Comeback Player of the Year discussion — he broke the tibia in his left leg in Week 13, ending his 2016 season — Chancellor entered the season coming off surgery, in his case to remove bone spurs from both ankles.


In this case, the next man up is Bradley McDougald, signed away from the Buccaneers as a free agent to a one-year, $2 million deal in March, a little-noted transaction at the time that's proving to be a big deal in light of the Seahawks' suddenly injury-riddled secondary.

McDougald spent the past two games filling in for Thomas, a four-time Pro Bowl free safety who along with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is the quarterback of Seattle's defense, responsible for diagnosing offensive formations and getting his teammates in the right position before the ball is snapped. Now he switches over to strong safety, tasked with replacing Chancellor, the defense's soul, a physical, intimidating enforcer and tone-setter.

At 6-1, 210, McDougald was a bigger option at free safety than the 5-10, 202-pound Thomas, but at strong safety is nowhere near Chancellor's chiseled 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame. In three-plus seasons in Tampa Bay, the fifth-year pro with strong ball skills — he was a two-way player (wide receiver/safety) his first two college seasons at Kansas — started 36 games at free safety, including 31 of 32 his final two years.

The cavalry has arrived in a besieged Seahawks secondary in the form of Byron Maxwell, who spent his first four seasons with Seattle, playing a meaningful role on two Super Bowl teams, but left in 2015 for a six-year, $63 million deal from the Eagles; he played just one season in Philadelphia before being dealt to Miami. The Hawks are fortunate to have another veteran corner in Jeremy Lane, who steps in for Sherman; the nickel back, sent to Houston in the Duane Brown trade three weeks ago, was returned by the Texans after failing his physical.

It will be the first time since January 2011 that the Seahawks take the field without Sherman's presence as a shutdown corner; since then, their defense has never been without two among the trio of Sherman, Thomas and Chancellor.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has had success against the Seahawks, even with all of their best defensive backs healthy, completing two-thirds of his passes and averaging 260 yards in six games in the Pete Carroll era, and throwing for three touchdowns in four of them, including a 36-20 victory in January in an NFC divisional playoff game in Atlanta.

Former Huskies and USC head coach Steve Sarkisian, regarded as an offensive savant of sorts at the college level and hired by then-Trojans coach Carroll in 2001, has been a bust in his first season as offensive coordinator in Atlanta, responsible for an offense that has scored just 197 points (a 21.9 average) through nine games; the Falcons racked up 540 points (a 33.8 average) last season under Kyle Shanahan, who left to coach the 49ers.


As long as Russell Wilson (290 yards, one touchdown, four fumbles; Seattle has recovered all of them) remains the Seahawks' leading rusher, they're going to have a tough time advancing in the playoffs — if they even get there. If the season ended right now, they'd be the NFC's sixth seed, with no possibility of a home playoff game. A loss to the Falcons would knock the Hawks down to a tie for seventh in the conference; a win would tie them with the Rams, who lost 24-7 at Minnesota on Sunday, for the NFC West lead.

But an even bigger factor in making (or not making) the postseason has been a constant all season — the team most likely to beat the Seahawks is the Seahawks. It's not just the sheer volume of penalties — 94 for 780 yards, both league highs — it's their timing and the detrimental effect they've had on this team's momentum on offense, and lack of ability to blunt opponents' momentum on defense.

C.J. Prosise's sprained ankle vs. Arizona doesn't help matters, though Prosise, a second-year player from Notre Dame, has played in only five games, getting just 11 carries for a paltry 2.1 yards per. He's averaging a career-high 14.5 receiving yards, but on just six catches. Next man up is Mike Davis, a third-year pro signed off the practice squad who represents a far more conventional running back skill set than the speedy but fragile Prosise. Seattle lists left tackle Duane Brown (ankle) and defensive tackle Jarran Reed (hamstring) as questionable. Also out are outside linebacker Michael Wilhoite (calf) and Luke Joeckel (knee), who has started every game at left guard and will be replaced by rookie Ethan Pocic.

The Seahawks, the most successful team in the history of Monday Night Football (23 victories in 34 games, 67.7 winning percentage) have won 11 consecutive Monday night games dating back to 2005, second only to the Raiders' 14 straight wins from 1975 to 1981.
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Please don't feed the Zags; plus, new faces finding the Kennel a friendly home

Posted By on Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 12:27 PM

All hail Josh Perkins, Prince of Park Hill! - LIBBY KAMROWSKI
  • Libby Kamrowski
  • All hail Josh Perkins, Prince of Park Hill!

While a 3-0 record was expected for a team fresh off of a Final Four run, there were still plenty of questions regarding how this Gonzaga team was going to get it done. Here are some early storylines from the Zags' three-game homestand as they tooled up for their big non-conference slate.

The right wing and the wings
In this early season, Josh Perkins has shown an assertiveness that we hadn't seen from him in his first two full seasons. His three-point shot attempts have nearly doubled from last year (going from 4.2 to 8.0 per game) while improving to a 45.8 shooting percentage. Credit goes to him for hunting his shot, but also knowing where his bread gets buttered.

Perhaps two-thirds of Perkins' makes from beyond the arc come from the right wing, the spot he often finds the ball during some of the Zags' elite ball movement. It's been agreed upon that for the remainder of his time as Gonzaga's chief ballhandler, that the right wing be referred to as Park Hill, the domain of Josh Perkins, Prince of Park Hill.

Speaking of wings: boy, does Gonzaga all of a sudden have a lot of them. Since the "Decade of Excellence" has grown to become a double decade of excellence, the increase in caliber of recruits and player development has not gone unnoticed. While a fun bar-rail debate can be found in whether Gonzaga is a guard or big-man mill, it was safe to say that the wing position was never the program's forte.

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MONDAY MORNING PLACEKICKER: 7 wins not enough for EWU, no bowl for Idaho

Posted By on Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 10:57 AM


It was a limited football schedule over the weekend; Washington State enjoyed a bye week before next Saturday's Apple Cup in Seattle, with the Pac-12 North Division title at stake for the Cougars. Whitworth's season ended last week, and the Seahawks don't play until tonight. Eastern Washington won big on Saturday, then lost big Sunday morning, and Idaho started its gift-giving early, handing a 1-9 team its second win.

Nic Sblendorio ended his Eastern Washington career with a bang, catching nine of Gage Gubrud's passes for 273 yards, including touchdowns of 60 and 74 yards, Saturday in Cheney as the Eagles soared past Portland State 59-33. - EWU ATHLETICS
  • EWU Athletics
  • Nic Sblendorio ended his Eastern Washington career with a bang, catching nine of Gage Gubrud's passes for 273 yards, including touchdowns of 60 and 74 yards, Saturday in Cheney as the Eagles soared past Portland State 59-33.

EASTERN"S SEASON ENDS SHORT OF PLAYOFFS


Eastern Washington fans head to be feeling good Saturday night: the Eagles had pounded Portland State 59-33 at Roos Field, ending a regular season that fell short of lofty expectations on a high note and leaving the door open to a trip to the 24-team Football Championship Subdivision playoffs and the chance to pursue the school's second FCS title.

A few hours later, reality hit home as the FCS snubbed Eastern, which had hoped to receive one of 14 at-large berths. Only three teams from the Big Sky Conference, perceived to have had a down year, made the field — champion Southern Utah (9-2, 6-1), which beat Eastern 46-28 a month ago; runner-up Weber State (9-2, 7-1), a 28-20 winner last week in Cheney; and Northern Arizona, like the Eagles 7-4 overall and 6-2 in Big Sky play; the Lumberjacks did not play Eastern this season. It was only the second time in the past six years that EWU, which advanced to the semifinals last year, failed to qualify for the FCS playoffs.

There was nothing wrong with the Eagles' performance against the Vikings — Gage Gubrud rebounded strongly from a one-game suspension, completing 17 of 32 passes for 445 yards and four touchdowns and running for 67 more yards. Senior wide receiver Nic Sblendorio caught nine of Gubrud's passes for a career-high 273 yards — 2 shy of the Eastern record of 275 set by Cooper Kupp, now with the NFL's Los Angeles Rams, at Northern Colorado in 2015 — including touchdowns of 60 and 74 yards. Running back Antoine Custer ended his sophomore year in style with a career-high 177 yards and touchdowns of 6, 27 and 28 yards.

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Monday, November 13, 2017

MONDAY MORNING PLACEKICKER: WSU now in control, Eags surprise on the road

Posted By on Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 11:42 AM

Luke Falk set the Pac-12 career record for touchdown passes; he currently has 118 TDs in his four years as a Coug. - WSU ATHLETICS
  • WSU Athletics
  • Luke Falk set the Pac-12 career record for touchdown passes; he currently has 118 TDs in his four years as a Coug.

Thanks to some stellar D in Salt Lake City and another horrid road trip for UW, Washington State took control of the Pac-12 North over the weekend, while Eastern Washington and Whitworth both won as well. Let's break down the weekend's football action:


COUGS GET DEFENSIVE AT UTAH

With Luke Falk setting the Pac-12's all-time record for touchdown passes and the Cougar defense forcing seven turnovers, Washington State cruised to a win at Utah on Saturday in a game that wasn't really as close as the final 33-25 score.

Falk will get the headlines for setting the record in his home state — he threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns — but the real story of the game was defensive tackle Hercules Mata'afa. He was seemingly everywhere in the Utah backfield, tallying three sacks and countless disruptions.

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Long-term relationships are the key to Zags' success

Gonzaga relies on player development, not one-and-done stars

Posted By on Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 11:09 AM

Freshman Corey Kispert made an impression in the Zags' first game on Friday, starting and scoring 10 points. - LIBBY KAMROWSKI
  • Libby Kamrowski
  • Freshman Corey Kispert made an impression in the Zags' first game on Friday, starting and scoring 10 points.

Gonzaga struck a familiar balance of old and new in the team’s 97-69 opening night victory over Texas Southern on Friday at the Kennel.

The upperclassmen in the starting lineup led the team statistically. Junior point guard Josh Perkins scored a team-high 20 points, hitting six of 10 shots from three-point range. Senior forward Johnathan Williams contributed 16 points and eight rebounds, while fellow senior and strong defender Silas Melson played a solid all-around game, with 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals .

Despite those numbers from Gonzaga’s trio of veterans, it was freshman Corey Kispert’s 10-point performance, in an all-around solid collegiate debut, that stands out the most. Not that Gonzaga’s youngest players stepping in and shining from day one is anything new.

“He’s somebody physically that is ready to walk right up there,” Bulldogs head coach Mark Few said of Kispert.

Standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 215 pounds, Kispert is a menace on the wing, capable of draining threes or driving to slam home dunks. For a guy just out of high school, his game is about as complete as they come, though that’s become quite common.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Cougs force 7 turnovers, win 33-25 at Utah; Falk sets Pac-12 career TD record

McPherson and Barriere lead Eastern's 21-14 win at North Dakota

Posted By on Fri, Nov 10, 2017 at 3:50 PM

Luke Falk, who was born in Logan, Utah, and returned there for his final two years of high school, broke Matt Barkley's Pac-12 career record for touchdown passes of 116 as the Cougars defeated Utah 33-25 in Salt Lake City. - WSU ATHLETICS
  • WSU Athletics
  • Luke Falk, who was born in Logan, Utah, and returned there for his final two years of high school, broke Matt Barkley's Pac-12 career record for touchdown passes of 116 as the Cougars defeated Utah 33-25 in Salt Lake City.

UPDATE: With the Apple Cup at Husky Stadium looming in two weeks, the Cougars came up with their most impressive road performance this season on Saturday, defeating Utah 33-25 in Salt Lake City as Luke Falk threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Tavares Martin Jr., a 1-yard TD to Kyle Sweet — the 117th of his career, breaking the Pac-12 record set by USC's Matt Barkley from 2009 to 2012 — and a 6-yard TD to Isaiah Johnson-Mack, and Erik Powell kicked field goals of 44, 32, 28 and 33 yards.

Falk threw 69 passes, completing 40 (10 to Martin) for 311 yards, boosting his career total to 14,124 yards, eighth all-time in NCAA Division I; his 118 TD passes ranks 10th. WSU's defense, led by DT Hercules Mata'afa (8 tackles, 5 for loss, 3 sacks) forced seven turnovers and picked off Utes QB Tyler Huntley three times. Utah scored on Matt Gay's 56-yard field goal, Zack Moss' 2- and 1-yard runs, and Huntley's 12-yard pass to Raelon Singleton.

Cougars senior LB Isaac Dotson returned to his starting position, playing for the first time since leaving the Oct. 7 game at Oregon injured; another senior LB, Dylan Hanser, left the game in the second quarter with an undisclosed injury and did not return.


Luke Falk sat out his junior year of football at Logan (Utah) High School after transferring back to his hometown from a school in Southern California, and as a result was lightly recruited as a senior, drawing interest only from Cornell, Idaho and Wyoming.

Instead, he opted for Washington State — which offered him only a chance to walk on — intrigued by the possibility of playing in Mike Leach's high-powered Air Raid offense. He stepped in on the first day of November 2014 after Connor Halliday's season- (and career-) ending broken leg against USC and started the final three games, throwing a whopping 241 passes and completing 152 of them, for a dozen touchdowns; the job has been his ever since.

Neither Falk nor the Cougars regret his decision: In last Saturday's stirring, come-from behind 24-21 victory over Stanford, then leading the Pac-12 North Division, he threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner late in the fourth quarter in his final home game. He now holds the Pac-12 record for career passing yards (13,801) and with 115 touchdown passes, needs two to surpass USC's Matt Barkley for the conference record. 

Through a Pac-12 scheduling quirk, Falk has never quarterbacked the Cougars in his home state; that changes Saturday afternoon (2:30 pm; Pac-12 Network, KXLY 920 AM), when No. 19 Washington State (now 9-2, 6-2 Pac-12), seeking its ninth victory and still in contention for the North Division title, travels to Salt Lake City to face Utah. The Cougars have been anything but road warriors lately, dropping their past two games away from Pullman by a combined score of 95-40.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Falk leads WSU to victory, keeps up assault on Pac-12, NCAA record books

Posted By on Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 3:13 PM

Luke Falk threw for 337 yards, rallying Washington State past Stanford 24-21 and giving Falk the Pac-12's all-time record for passing yardage. He now has 13,801 yards with the possibility of playing in four more games. - WSU ATHLETICS
  • WSU Athletics
  • Luke Falk threw for 337 yards, rallying Washington State past Stanford 24-21 and giving Falk the Pac-12's all-time record for passing yardage. He now has 13,801 yards with the possibility of playing in four more games.

Luke Falk, who walked on to the Cougars' roster four years ago, is now the Pac-12's all-time passing leader with 13,801 yards, with the possibility of four more games remaining. He also passed three quarterbacks Saturday to move into the top 10 all-time in NCAA Division I.

Falk completed 34 of 48 passes for 337 yards, including a 6-yard toss to Jamire Calvin just inside the 5-minute mark that proved to be the game-winner as No. 25 Washington State defeated Pac-12 North Division-leading Stanford 24-21 in Pullman, finishing 7-0 at home for the first time in school history. In addition to Oregon State's Sean Mannion, he leaped over Corey Robinson of Troy and North Carolina State's Philip Rivers, who's spent his past 14 years quarterbacking the Los Angeles (formerly San Diego) Chargers.

Now ninth on the NCAA Division I career yardage list, Falk can catch Marshall's Rakeem Cato, Hawaii's Colt Brennan and maybe even Boise State's Kellen Moore in his remaining games, but BYU's Ty Detmer is likely out of reach: Falk needs to throw for 1,231 yards to move into fifth place all-time. The most prolific passer in NCAA history is Case Keenum, who threw for 19,217 yards from 2007 to 2011 in Houston's high-octane offense.

Falk's three touchdown passes against Stanford left him one short of the Pac-12 record of 116 held by USC's Matt Barkley. In the NCAA record books, he's now tied for 12th with Louisiana Tech's Tim Rattay, far behind Keenum's record of 155, but could still surpass Barkley and Oklahoma senior Baker Mayfield,  Hawaii's Timmy Chang (117), Georgia's Aaron Murray and Detmer (121), and Oklahoma's Landry Jones (123) and move into sixth place all-time.

His next shot at the record books is a homecoming of sorts: Falk, who was born in Logan, Utah, and played for Logan High School his sophomore and senior years, will be 80 minutes south in Salt Lake City as Utah hosts the Cougars on Saturday afternoon; kickoff is 2:30.

Twenty Cougars seniors playing their final home game were part of history: It was the first time Washington State beat Stanford in Pullman since 2007, and only the fifth time it's happened in the past 45 years. It also was the first time in 81 years that a Stanford team played in snow, which fell throughout the game; the Cardinals, then called the Indians, lost 7-0 to Columbia in November 1936 at the Polo Grounds, home to baseball's New York Giants.

With temperatures at Martin Stadium dipping into the low 30s, it was also the coldest game for Stanford since the 1970 team, featuring Heisman Trophy winner Jim Plunkett, suffered a 31-14 loss at Air Force in a November game in Colorado Springs, the low point of a season that ended on New Year's Day 1971 in a Rose Bowl victory over Ohio State.
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MONDAY MORNING PLACEKICKER: Seahawks and Eagles fall, Cougs roar at home

Posted By on Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 11:59 AM

Washington State's defense, with linebacker Frankie Luvu (51) — one of 20 seniors taking the field at Martin Stadium for the final time — leading the way, held Stanford standout Bryce Love to a season-low 69 yards on 16 carries. - WSU ATHLETICS
  • WSU Athletics
  • Washington State's defense, with linebacker Frankie Luvu (51) — one of 20 seniors taking the field at Martin Stadium for the final time — leading the way, held Stanford standout Bryce Love to a season-low 69 yards on 16 carries.

Washington State's 20 seniors went out on a winning note. Eastern Washington came up short at home, as, inexplicably, did the Seahawks. Idaho lost a game and likely its senior leader, and Whitworth joined the Cougars in celebrating a quarterback milestone.


COUGS KEEP APPLE CUP RELEVANT
Luke Falk got "giveth, then taketh away" backward Saturday at Martin Stadium: his off-target throw late in the third quarter turned into Bobby Okereke's 52-yard pick-six, giving Stanford a 21-17 lead. But Falk, playing in his final home game, redeemed himself in the fourth quarter, orchestrating a masterful 11-play, 95-yard drive, capped by a 11-yard pass to Jamire Calvin that proved to be the game-winner in Washington State's gutsy 24-21 victory over the then-No. 21 Cardinal, as the Cougs improved to 8-2, 5-2 in Pac-12 play, knocked Stanford (6-3, 5-2) out of first place in the North Division, and finished 7-0 at home for the first time in school history.

Falk completed 34 of 48 passes for three touchdowns, and his 337-yard effort gave him 13,801 passing yards in his career, pushing him past Oregon State's Sean Mannion into first place all-time in the Pac-12.

The Cougars' defense came up huge against Stanford's Bryce Love, who entered Saturday averaging nearly 200 yards per game; Love raced 52 yards for a touchdown at the end of the first quarter, but on his other 15 carries, a swarming WSU defense held him to just 17 yards.
The Cougs, who jumped six places to No. 19 in this week's AP top 25 poll,  hit the road for their last two regular-season games, starting Saturday at Utah (5-4, 2-4), followed by the Apple Cup in Seattle on Nov. 25, with the real possibility of the North Division title at stake.

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