Washington State’s Luke Falk (34 for 48 passing / 337 yards / 3 TD’s / 1 INT / 61.4 QBR) added to his already-rich legacy on Saturday in front of the home crowd, putting his name on another notable conference passing record. Falk, already the PAC-12 career leader in pass completions and total offense, passed OSU’s Sean Mannion (13,600) on the day in all-time passing yards (13,805).
Furthermore, Falk only needs three more touchdown passes to own that all-time PAC-12 record as well. From this point forward, he is quite simply, making history.
More than numbers alone, the senior quarterback plays big at the end of games, as he did again this past weekend. On a snowy day in Pullman where the weather had limited both passing attacks throughout the contest, Falk engineered a 94-yard game winning touchdown drive with just six minutes left to play.
The Cardinal went three-and-out on the next series, and that was the end of the road. Interestingly, Stanford (6-3 / 5-2 PAC-12) had somehow not played a football game in the snow since they traveled to New York City to play Columbia all the way back in 1936. I do not want to say that it showed, but they simply never looked comfortable in the elements, and besides a 52-yard touchdown run by Heisman candidate Bryce Love, the offense was completely stagnant.
Defensively, All-American locks Harrison Phillips (7 tackles / 3 TFL / 1 sack / 1 QBH) and Justin Reid (7 tackles / 2 PD’s / 1 QBH) came to play as always for the Cardinal, and OLB Bobby Okereke (6 tackles / 1 PD / 1 INT / 1 TD) added a 52-yard pick-six late in the third quarter that put Stanford up 21-17. Still, Falk’s last drive stole the victory back for WSU.
After the game, head coach David Shaw took the loss very personally. “I feel like I let my team down. I didn’t give our guys a chance to be successful today.”
Whether he was referencing giving K.J. Costello (9 for 20 passing / 105 yards / 1 INT / 60.7 QBR) the start, or playing an injured Bryce Love (16 rushes / 69 yards / 4.3 ypc / 1 TD) to bolster his Heisman candidacy, it was clear to see that this was an emotional loss for the Cardinal. In terms of the PAC-12 North, it was equally a linchpin victory for now #19 WSU (8-2 / 5-2 PAC-12), and allows them to control their destiny the rest of the way.
That being said, winning out will not be easy for either side. WSU travels to Utah this weekend, and then finishes their season with The Apple Cup at #9 Washington in two weeks. Stanford, who remains bowl eligible, closes 2017 out with a daunting three-game gauntlet on The Farm. They host #9 Washington, then Big Game against Cal, and finally #3 Notre Dame in consecutive weeks.
However it plays out for Coach Shaw and the Cardinal, this will be one loss they badly wish they could have back. Of course, such is life I imagine.