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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


The day after Oregon

Our weekly day-after post wraps up our coverage of the Washington State's 45-38 win at Oregon.

Let's start by passing along a couple extra links that WSU fans should enjoy. Here is broadcaster Matt Chazanow's call of Shalom Luani's game-ending interception, and here is a good collection of WSU highlights.

And then of course there's this from the football team's Twitter account:

-- Luke Falk is going to have a very good shot of winning his third Pac-12 Player of the Week award in eight career starts after throwing for five touchdowns, 505 yards, leading a game-tying drive that culminated with a touchdown pass with one second left in regulation, and running for a score.

If it's not Falk, I expect it will be Utah's Devontae Booker, who combined to rush and receive 269 yards in a nationally prominent game between ranked teams. I still think Falk has the edge, though.

The Cougars have won three of their last four games in large part because Falk has led two game winning or tying drives in the final minute against a hostile crowd, and I doubt he's ever heard a stadium as loud as Autzen was with 30 seconds left in Saturday's game. But Falk showed the same poise that was evident in his first start last year at Oregon State, and has guided his team to an impressive stretch following the Portland State loss.

-- Since we're taking a holistic look at WSU's performance to date, its worth noting that PSU and Rutgers have both played really pretty well since the WSU game. Wyoming isn't very good, but California proved yesterday that it can go toe-to-toe with the best teams in the country. With Oregon State up next, and the Arizona schools looking exceedingly beatable, the Cougars might be able to start stacking wnis.

-- How huge was the signing of Shalom Luani this offseason? The safety was an integral part of WSU's win yesterday, sealing it with an interception and tying for the team lead in tackles. Luani originally intended to sign with OSU out of the City College of San Francisco, but ended up choosing WSU over offers from Washington and Illinois.

He's quickly shored up the back end of the WSU defense with his speed, quick reaction time and hitting ability. He might have to stop going for the big hit quite so often, both Royce Freeman and Taj Griffin were able to bounce off a few of his knockout shots, but he brings a physical element to the third level of the defense that will only become more valuable as his reputation grows.

-- Saturday was the best game by WSU's' coverage units in quite some time. The Ducks only returned one punt and it gained them two yards. UO fielded four kickoffs and the longest return was just nine yards. Yeah, the Cougars kicked it short on those kickoffs, but it proved to be an effective strategy as the Ducks only started one drive with good field position following a kickoff, and that was still just at their own 36.

-- WSU's defense still has some work to do when it comes to limiting explosive plays, but it's remarkable that they were able to limit a team that averaged 7.2 yards per play to 5 of 16 on third-down conversion attempts. Ultimately, that's what kept the Cougars in the game because the UO offense was able to chew up yards and flip the field consistently, but the WSU defense was sufficiently able to prevent all those yards from turning into points.


Jacob Thorpe
Jacob Thorpe joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the Sports Desk covering Washington State University athletics.

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