Falk throws 6 TD passes to lead No. 21 Washington State
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) The Air Raid offense of No. 21 Washington State was missing a key component in the first two games of the season – the outside receivers.
Luke Falk found those receivers Saturday.
Falk threw six touchdown passes – three to Tavares Martin Jr. – and Washington State beat Oregon State 52-23 for its fourth consecutive victory over the Beavers.
Washington State (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12) was coming off a triple-overtime victory over Boise State.
Falk, the FBS active leader with 98 touchdown passes, completed 37 of 49 passes for 396 yards without an interception. Martin had 10 catches for 194 yards.
Falk tied a school record for touchdown passes that he already shared.
”He looked very sharp,” coach Mike Leach said.
Washington State got a big contribution from outside receivers Martin and Isaiah Johnson-Mack, who had been relatively quiet the first two games. Johnson-Mack had nine catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
”We’ve been waiting for our outside receivers to get in a rhythm,” Leach said. ”I thought they did that today.”
”We had to do a better job of getting open for Luke,” Johnson-Mack said. ”We were open more.”
”We just came in hard and were doing the same thing we do in practice,” Martin said. ”Being in the right place at the right time.”
Jake Luton threw for 179 yards for Oregon State (1-3, 0-1), but was carted off the field in the fourth quarter with an injury. He gave a thumbs-up as he left the field.
”I definitely thought he played a pretty courageous game,” Leach said about Luton.
The Beavers have lost 14 consecutive road games dating to 2014.
Martin caught a 21-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
Oregon State’s Shawn Wilson tackled Jamal Morrow in the end zone for a safety, and Isaiah Johnson-Mack caught a 20-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter for a 14-2 lead.
The Beavers’ Ryan Nall rushed 7 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 14-9. It was Oregon State’s first touchdown in more than three quarters of play. Washington State replied with Falk’s short touchdown pass to Martin.
On the next possession, Oregon State punter Nick Porebski fumbled the snap and Gerard Wicks recovered, giving the Cougars the ball on the OSU 26. Falk’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Johnson-Mack put Washington State up 28-9 at halftime.
In the third, Nall scored on a 45-yard run to cut the deficit to 28-16.
Falk shook off consecutive sacks to fire a 57-yard touchdown pass to Martin for a 35-16 lead.
Oregon State coach Gary Andersen said that touchdown was huge in blowing the game open.
”It is very frustrating in those situations,” Andersen said. ”We need to do all we can to make the right call so they can execute it and get off the field.”
Kyle Sweet added a 10-yard touchdown reception for WSU and linebacker Frankie Luvu ran a fumble back for a touchdown.
”All three sides of the ball played well and contributed,” Leach said.
Washington State put a complete game together, after barely escaping Boise State the week before. But not many teams ranked above them are losing.
Oregon State running back Ryan Nall led all rushers with 118 yards on 15 carries, with two touchdowns.
The Cougars wore helmet stickers in honor of nearby Freeman High School, where a shooter killed one student and wounded three others last Wednesday. ”They are in our thoughts and prayers,” Leach said.
OREGON STATE: Defense came in allowing 46 points per game and couldn’t stop the Air Raid.
WASHINGTON STATE: Off to its best start under sixth-year coach Leach. Falk has averaged more than 400 passing yards per game in four outings against the Beavers.
Oregon State has a bye week before taking on No. 6 Washington on Sept. 30.
Washington State hosts Nevada next Saturday.
More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25