Cougars are roaring

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It’s likely the No. 11th-ranked Washington State football team will slip into the Top 10 after last Saturday’s 33-10 victory over Oregon at Autzen Stadium in a Pacific 12 Conference game.

This comes on the heels after knocking off USC 30-27 which also snapped a 13-game winning streak for the then No. 5 Trojans when senior Erik Powell nailed a 32-yard field goal with 1:40 left in the contest.

Facing the once-mighty Ducks (4-2 and 1-2 in conference) those heroics weren’t needed, but senior quarterback Luke Falk’s three scoring passes were.

The Cougars, off to their best start since 2001 when they won seven games in a row, have beaten Oregon three straight after the Ducks dominated Washington State by taking eight consecutive meetings.

The scoring commenced after Falk (24 of 42 for 282 yards) and senior running back Jamal Morrow (46 yards on five catches and four yards on three rushes) connected on a 41-yard strike and 12:41 left in the initial quarter.

Oregon (277 total net yards), which used freshman Braxton Burmeister (15 of 27 for 145 yards with two interceptions) in place of sophomore signal-caller Justin Herbert, who broke his collarbone, moved the Ducks 40 yards on 11 plays as senior Aidan Schneider hit a 20-yard field goal with 4:45 left in the first quarter.

Burmeister’s 30-yard pass to sophomore tight end Jacob Breeland for his only catch gave the Ducks a 10-7 edge with 3:37 left.

Powell drilled two consecutive field goals that handed the Cougars (6-0 and 3-0 in conference), who played their first road game this season a 13-10 lead.

Powell’s 25-yarder capped a 73-yard, nine-play drive with 11:54 showing in the second period and Powell’s 52-yarder ended a nine-play, 38-yard march with 6:59 on the clock before the half.

Falk directed the Cougars 75 yards on seven plays and found freshman wide receiver Renard Bell (45 yards on three catches) with a 10-yard offering and 12:02 left in the third frame that made it 20-10.

Falk’s final scoring pass went to sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Johnson-Mack (56 yards on three receptions) that traveled 25 yards and saw Washington State (369 total yards) dash in front 30-10 with 14:35 left in the fourth period.

Powell’s 47-yard field goal came with 5:52 left in the third stanza and made it 23-10 and Powell’s 29-yarder extended the lead to 33-10 with 1:41 left.

Under head coach Mike Leach, the Cougars are known for their aerial circus, but managed 87 yards rushing and were led by senior Gerald Wicks (58 yards on seven carries).

Sophomore James Williams, a former Burbank High standout, finished with 48 yards on 11 rushes for the Cougars.

Oregon senior running back Royce Freeman collected 62 yards on 12 carries as the Ducks finished with 132 yards on the ground.

Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at yankeespride55@gmail.com.

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The Sports Department
Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at richsports5@sbcglobal.net.

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