In a must-win sport to remain alive within the Pac-12 North title chase, the WSU Cougars rose to the event, bottling up Stanford’s Bryce Love and hanging on for a vital 24-21 win Saturday in Pullman.
PULLMAN – On Senior Day at Martin Stadium, 25th-ranked Washington State beat No. 18 Stanford 24-21 to notch its first residence win over the Cardinal since 2007, and keep alive in its quest for the Pac-12 North title.
It additionally accomplished an undefeated 7-Zero residence document for the Cougars — a primary in program historical past.
In a must-win sport for each groups, the Cougars prevailed on the power of their protection – which held the nation’s main rusher, Bryce Love, to a season-low 69 yards on 16 carries, then received an enormous interception by Frankie Luvu.
Luvu, a senior, picked off Stanford quarterback Ok.J. Costello with 15 seconds left within the sport to protect a 24-21 victory and snap the Cardinal’s five-game win streak.
Falk rebounded from his benching towards Arizona final week to complete sturdy in his ultimate look at Martin Stadium y breaking Sean Mannion’s Pac-12 pbading document.
The Cougars’ senior quarterback went 34 of 48 for 337 yards with three touchdowns, although, he additionally threw one expensive interception that Stanford linebacker Bobby Okereke returned for a landing within the third quarter.
This one was an entertaining back-and-forth encounter that featured a number of nail-biting moments for either side. But in the end, the Cougars prevailed.
Trailing Stanford 21-17 within the third quarter after Okereke’s ran his interception again 52-yards for the rating, WSU’s offense went by a perplexing dry spell, punting twice. The protection saved issues shut although, forcing consecutive three and outs to get the offense the ball again with 11:52 left within the fourth.
Slowly, however steadily, the Cougars offense emerged from hibernation to mount its finest drive of the afternoon.
With Stanford solely speeding 4 males and dropping everybody else into protection, WSU’s operating backs received some work. James Williams peeled off up the center for a 12-yard achieve, then later picked up one other 9. Tay Martin was resplendent on the skin, hauling in a 17-yard cross on a crossing route, then caught a brief ball for three yards and a primary down.
Falk hit Jamal Morrow up the center for 20 yards, then it was Morrow once more, open within the flat, selecting up 16 to get the Cougars to the Stanford 11.
Then, there it was, first-and-10, Falk hit Jamire Calvin in stride on one other crossing route and the freshman receiver took off for the top zone, entrance flipping over the objective line for an 11-yard landing that allowed WSU to retake the lead – 24-21.
That 11-play, 94-yard drive burned four:56 of clock. WSU’s offense would come out as soon as extra, however couldn’t produce.
So with 35 seconds left, it fell to the protection to ice the win.
On first down, Nnamdi Oguayo pounced on Costello and dragged him down by the leg as he threw it away.
On second down, Costello’s cross to his tight finish fell incomplete.
Third down proved to be the Cardinal’s undoing – Costello’s cross fell into Luvu’s ready arms and electrified the sellout crowd at Martin Stadium.
Through Stanford’s first three offensive drives, WSU’s protection managed to bottle up Bryce Love, the nation’s main rusher.
Love gained solely 14 yards on his first six carries by the top of the primary quarter.
But then got here the run that appeared inevitable in the event you’ve watched any of Stanford’s video games this yr. Love took the handoff, plunged up the center, shucked an tried deal with by Dylan Hanser, after which plain outran the Cougars protection and a diving last-ditch deal with from Jalen Thompson and zipped to the top zone for a 52-yard rating.
The landing put Stanford up 7-Zero with 14:06 left within the second.
Perhaps Stanford’s rating motivated the WSU offense, as a result of the Cougs, who’d punted to finish their first three offensive drives, got here proper again with a landing that sparked a 17-Zero rally.
Back-to-back 11-yard pbades from Falk received the Cougars previous midfield for the primary time all afternoon, and a nifty 24-yard run by Jamal Morrow received them to the Stanford 12 to arrange Falk’s landing strike to Tavares Martin Jr.
That drive settled WSU’s offense. With the Cougars’ protection forcing a three-and-out on terrific back-to-back stops for loss, Falk went again to work.
On first down, Falk spun a great thing about a deep ball to Martin Jr. for a 39-yard pickup. Two completions later, Falk broke Mannion’s Pac-12 profession pbading document with an Eight-yard cross to Jamal Morrow.
The Cougs’ senior quarterback adopted that with a 27-yard landing cross to Renard Bell that gave WSU its first lead of the day – 14-7 – and so excited one Coug fan that he hopped the top zone railing and dropped his trousers to moon the TV cameras earlier than they managed to chop away.
In his second begin of the yr, Stanford’s Costello went four of 9 for 53 yards within the first half, and was sacked twice. Daniel Ekuale received his first sack of the season on Senior Day, whereas Justus Rogers received his first profession sack after profitable an open-field one-on-one match up with Costello.
Love, who returned to Stanford’s beginning lineup after lacking final week’s sport with an ankle damage, was held to a season-low 69 yards on 16 carries. He had 65 yards on 10 rush makes an attempt within the first half, although 52 of these got here on his landing run. That spoke volumes of the Cougar protection when you think about that Love entered the sport averaging 120.9 first half speeding yards per sport this season.
WSU added a 41-yard discipline objective from Erik Powell on the opening drive of the third quarter to increase its result in 17-Zero.
That’s when issues received form of fluky.
Stanford’s subsequent rating got here on a weird fumble restoration. The ball slipped out of Costello’s hand as he tried to throw, hitting the turf and bouncing up, Costello recovered the ball on its rebound, and with WSU’s protection having bit on the fumble, Costello took off and ran 14 yards into the top zone untouched.
WSU coach Mike Leach challenged the ruling, contending that Costello’s arm was going ahead when the ball got here out, and that it was an incomplete cross as an alternative of a fumble returned for a landing. But the referee upheld the ruling upon badessment.
The Cougars couldn’t fairly get a primary down on their subsequent drive, so on fourth-and-1 from the 34, the punt staff took the sector – solely to trot again off after Stanford dedicated an unlawful substitution penalty that price it 5 yards and gave WSU a primary down.
In hindsight, the Cougars would have been higher off punting there. Facing fourth-and-1 once more on this renewed set of downs, WSU arrange at its personal 49, and this time elected to go for the conversion. That choice proved expensive when Stanford’s Okerere stepped in entrance of a ball meant for Jamire Calvin to intercept Falk and run it 52 yards again to the home to place Stanford again on prime 21-17.