Falk leads Washington State to 37-32 win over Arizona State
Arizona State quarterback Dillon Sterling-Cole (15) fumbles the football as Washington State defensive lineman Dylan Hanser (33) and nose tackle Robert Barber (92) defend during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. Washington recovered the ball. (AP Photo/Matt York)
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Luke Falk threw for 398 yards and three touchdowns, Robert Taylor scored on a 100-yard kickoff return and Washington State held off Arizona State 37-32 Saturday night.
Washington State (5-2, 4-0 Pac-12) labored offensively early as Arizona State forced the Cougars to throw underneath instead of deep. Falk adjusted nicely, helping the Cougars score 28 straight points to remain tied with No. 5 Washington atop the Pac-12 North Division.
Arizona State (5-3, 2-3) was down to its fourth-string quarterback after Manny Wilkins was injured on the opening drive and had four other starters out. The Sun Devils still managed to lead early and clawed most of their way back from a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
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Tim White had a 70-yard touchdown on a punt return and Zane Gonzalez hit a 29-yard field goal to pull Arizona State within 37-32. But Falk and the Cougars ground down the game's final 4:36 for their fifth straight victory.
Arizona State came into the game with the FBS' worst pass defense and was missing starting safety Armand Perry with a turf toe injury.
Falk had his way against the Sun Devils after a slow start, completing passes to 11 different receivers and 42 of 53 passes overall.
Washington State: The Cougars have come a long way since their 0-2 start to the season, keeping themselves on course for a season-ending showdown against the rival Huskies that could decide the Pac-12 North.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils' struggles against the pass continue and their offense could be in more trouble if Wilkins continues to miss time. Arizona State has lost three of four.
Washington State plays at Oregon State next Saturday.