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Difference makers: Hercules Mata’afa’s disruption key for Washington State’s defense in 33-25 win at Utah

UPDATED: Sat., Nov. 11, 2017, 7:34 p.m.

Washington State Cougars defensive lineman Hercules Mata'afa (50) reacts after he stopped Stanford Cardinal running back Bryce Love (20) during the first half of a college football game on Saturday, November 4, 2017, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. WSU led 14-7 at the half. Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State Cougars defensive lineman Hercules Mata'afa (50) reacts after he stopped Stanford Cardinal running back Bryce Love (20) during the first half of a college football game on Saturday, November 4, 2017, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. WSU led 14-7 at the half. Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Hercules Mata’afa

The junior from Hawaii submitted another lights-out game from his defensive tackle position, rolling up three sacks and five tackles-for-loss that amounted to 35 lost yards for the Utes. Mata’afa was part of the Cougars’ turnover party, stripping Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley on a play in the first quarter.

Luke Falk

With the 117th passing touchdown of his career, WSU’s quarterback moved to the top of the Pac-12’s all-time list, leaping former USC signal-caller Matt Barkley. The offense left points on the board, but Falk, who was making his first college start in his home state, still threw three touchdown passes and completed 40-of-69 passes for 311 yards.

Erik Powell

An outstanding season for the senior kicker continued Saturday on the road. The Cougars counted on Powell’s left foot five times and the Vancouver, Washington, delivered four field goals, from 44, 32, 28 and 33 yards out. Powell, who was also 3-for-3 on extra points, accounted for 15 of WSU’s 33 points in the game.


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