Sports

Monday, December 4, 2017

Meet Gonzaga's "microwave", and time to join the #RobeGang

Posted By on Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 10:01 AM

Zach "Snacks" Norvell is Gonzaga's version of Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson (Google him) so far this season. Just ask Josh Perkins.
  • Zach "Snacks" Norvell is Gonzaga's version of Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson (Google him) so far this season. Just ask Josh Perkins.

A major reason for Gonzaga's success last year was in the team's ball movement and selflessness. Five guys averaged double digits and the team averaged 15.25 assists per game. Though early in the season, the Zags have built off of that stapled play and now have six guys averaging double digits (Rui Hachimura isn't far off with 9.8 points per game) and the team averaging a whopping 18 assists per game.

That selfless play can be found throughout their roster, notably with freshman big Jacob Larsen, who is averaging 1.3 assists in a very limited 11.9 minutes per game. Comparatively, Przemek Karnowski was heralded for his passing ability, averaging 1.9 assists in 23.1 minutes per game. Larsen shows the promise to be every bit the passer and a major face-up defender in the Zags defense, averaging nearly a block every game.

He also seems to be the linchpin for Few's deployment of the 2-3 zone. That zone style — when not facing great shooters like those found on the Creighton Bluejays — is stout and seemingly unbreakable when you have long, athletic wings and post players spacing the half-court. Guys like Larsen, Johnathan Williams and Killian Tillie are how the Zags have become one of the better defenses in the entire country.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Zags looked right at home in Portland tourney

Posted By on Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 11:50 AM

Silas Melson didn't hit double figures in Portland, but he had some huge plays in the Thanksgiving weekend tourney. - LIBBY KAMROWSKI
  • Libby Kamrowski
  • Silas Melson didn't hit double figures in Portland, but he had some huge plays in the Thanksgiving weekend tourney.


THE SAME TRADITION, AT A BIGGER TABLE
It might not be as timeless as entering a tryptophan-induced coma or trying to avoid political conversations with your extended family, but watching Gonzaga win games has become a bona fide Turkey Day tradition. Mark Few has led the Bulldogs to 33 wins, and just nine defeats, in tournaments taking place over Thanksgiving week.

Every step of the way on the program’s climb from Cinderella darling to championship contender, Gonzaga has made great use of these early-season tournaments.

In Few’s first seasons, when Gonzaga was still seen as a fluke rather than an elite national program, these tournaments served as rare opportunities to compete against the teams Gonzaga aspired to be. As Gonzaga developed into a perennial NCAA Tournament participant the Zags went from hunter to hunted in events like the Maui Invitational and Orlando Classic. Over the past few seasons, as Gonzaga’s level of success began to rival any program in the country, their performance around Thanksgiving became equally impressive.

Gonzaga won three Thanksgiving tournaments between 2012 and 2016. But none of those tournament fields could hold a candle to the one they’d face in 2017. So here was Gonzaga, as good of a program as exists in college basketball, firmly middle of the pack in the biggest, best early season tournament field in the sport’s history.

Ohio State, which fell to Gonzaga 86-59 in the opening round, boasts an endowment of over $3.5 billion. Texas, which fell 76-71, spent over $171 million on athletics in 2016, according to USA Today. And Florida, which needed two overtimes to defeat Gonzaga, is ranked No. 6 in the polls and very nearly upset top-ranked Duke on Sunday.

Gonzaga was not only asked to take part in the greatest event of its kind, Gonzaga excelled in it.

NO SHORTAGE OF POTENTIAL STARS
On Thursday it was Josh Perkins, who hit six of nine three pointers and electrified the crowd with amazing efficiency. On Friday, a career-high 39 points in a warrior-like performance from Johnathan Williams led the way for the Bulldogs. And Sunday, with 20 points and nine rebounds off the bench, was a coming out party for Rui Hachimura.

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MONDAY MORNING PLACEKICKER: Another rotten Apple Cup

Posted By on Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 10:27 AM

One of the few times WSU running back Jamal Morrow was seen vertically in Saturday's Apple Cup. - WSU ATHLETICS
  • WSU Athletics
  • One of the few times WSU running back Jamal Morrow was seen vertically in Saturday's Apple Cup.

The weekend football action was largely forgettable — especially for WSU fans — but at least the Seahawks salvaged things with a workmanlike plod through the Niners. Let's break it down:

ANOTHER ROTTEN APPLE CUP

Regular Inlander readers might know that I picked the Cougs to beat the Huskies in Seattle on Saturday.

Um, ya, that didn't happen.

Instead of a thrilling showdown between two rivals, viewers were "treated" to another beatdown, this one ending up 41-14 in favor of UW, and the score actually makes the game seem closer than it really was. WSU senior star quarterback Luke Falk threw three interceptions, the Cougs' leading rusher Jamal Morrow gained all of 11 yards on the day, and defense's leader Hercules Mata'afa got ejected from the game before halftime. Maybe he was as sick of watching the proceedings as viewers at home were by then, thanks to the 24-0 halftime score and the utter one-sidedness of the game. The rest of the Cougars defense didn't do too well, either, giving up 192 yards and four touchdowns to Huskies running back Myles Gaskin.

The 2017 Apple Cup marks five wins in a row for the Huskies, and the Cougs have given up at least 40 points in each of the last three, while their offense has been exceedingly meek in the face of the UW defense. Hard to see how things will get better for the Cougs in this series. If they can't hang in a year they have an outstanding defense and record-setting quarterback, why would we think things will improve?

The loss lands the Cougs in third place in the Pac-12 North for the season and sends Stanford to the conference championship game. Up next for the Cougars: Waiting to see what bowl game they get, and whether alleged "genius" coach Mike Leach gets poached by another program. After Saturday, a few more Coug fans might be okay with that.

VANDALS HAVE FALLEN AND CAN'T GET UP

Idaho's chances of making a bowl game in their last year in the Sun Belt Conference were already gone before they played New Mexico State on Saturday, so give the Vandals credit for hanging tough and only losing 17-10, despite being outgained by nearly 200 yards. Two turnovers in the game's first six minutes killed the Vandals when the Aggies turned them into a 14-0 lead. The Vandals close their season Saturday with a game at Georgia State. 

THANK GOD FOR THE NFL?

You probably haven't heard many people saying that lately, and the ratings are lagging this season, but with a major pause in college football until bowl season arrives, the Seahawks are all we got around here.

On Sunday, Seattle hung in the playoff and division race by plodding their way to a 24-13 win on the road against 1-10 San Francisco. The Seahawks now stand at 7-4 overall, a game behind the division-leading Rams, after Russell Wilson threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third. Up next for the Seahakws is a nationally televised home game against the hottest team in the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles. The game is Sunday at 5:30 pm on NBC.
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Friday, November 24, 2017

WSU at Washington: Cougars control their own destiny in 110th Apple Cup

Huskies reduced to spoiler role at home; USC awaits North Division champion

Posted on Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 3:54 PM

Luke Falk, the Pac-12's all-time leader in passing yards (14,112) and touchdown passes (118), takes his third and final shot at beating Washington on Saturday at Husky Stadium; a victory would give WSU the North Division title. - WSU ATHLETICS
  • WSU Athletics
  • Luke Falk, the Pac-12's all-time leader in passing yards (14,112) and touchdown passes (118), takes his third and final shot at beating Washington on Saturday at Husky Stadium; a victory would give WSU the North Division title.

For all that Luke Falk has accomplished in a record-shattering four years in Pullman, there's one thing he's never done: beaten the Huskies. In fact, he hasn't come close: Washington State has been outscored by an average of 23 points in his two Apple Cups.

Falk's last chance, and that of 19 other seniors, comes Saturday at a rainy Husky Stadium (5 pm; KAYU 28, KXLY 920 AM) in the 110th battle for state bragging rights, against a Washington team that lost its chance to win consecutive Pac-12 North Division titles when Cal came up three points short at Stanford last Saturday. Now the Cardinal — who physically dominated the Huskies in the second half two weeks ago, holding on for a 30-22 victory one week after getting Falked 24-21 on Senior Day in Pullman — are UW's biggest fans as well.

It's the second straight year that the Cougars, ranked 14th in the AP Top 25 poll, not the No. 15 Huskies, play for the division championship and not merely the Governor's Trophy. On Saturday, they'll opt for a traditional gray-and-white look, with a splash of crimson.

No matter the outcome, it's a Pac-12 title-game rematch next Friday in Santa Clara, California, just a short drive from Palo Alto. South Division champion USC — with the benefit of nearly two weeks of rest, an advantage WSU enjoys this week — rolled Stanford 42-24 on Sept. 9 at the Coliseum, but lost 30-27 to the Cougars less than three weeks later on a nationally televised, frenzied Friday night in Pullman.

Falk, poised to keep going where no Pac-12 quarterback has before, extending his records for career passing yards (14,112; eighth in NCAA history) and touchdown passes (118; 10th all-time), hasn't exactly played poorly in his two Apple Cups, completing 61 percent of his passes for 624 yards. Two years ago, six days after being concussed vs. Colorado on Martin Stadium's frigid turf,  he watched from the sidelines in Seattle as the Cougars turned the ball over seven times in a 45-10 loss.

But his other numbers are telling: three touchdowns in two starts isn't enough, and five interceptions is too many. The same goes for six sacks.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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

Posted 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 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 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 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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