JACKSON GARDNER | Evergreen reporter
30,254 fans filled the corners of Martin Stadium on Saturday night to watch a WSU football (1-0) beatdown of Montana State (0-1). The Cougar’s offense and defense stepped up to the main stage, combining to win 31-0 in front of a hometown crowd.
In a game that lasted exactly three hours, WSU received a vital mix of contribution from its offensive playmakers. Redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk had a field day against the opposing defense, completing 33 of his 39 attempted passes.
Falk spoke modestly and casually of his record-breaking performance after the game.
“I just give the ball to our playmakers and let them do their thing,” Falk said. “As a result, it’s kind of a methodical, but we are going to continue to take what the defense gives us.”
Three touchdowns and 311 yards later, Falk advanced his career touchdown total to 91. Good enough to pass former quarterback Connor Halliday’s career record of 90 touchdown passes.
The quarterback received help from redshirt sophomore running back James Williams, as he had his way with MSU’s defense as well. Williams’ 13 receptions and 163 reception yards are both WSU records for
WSU’s defense brought the same consistent play as its offense, stifling the Bobcats to 143 total yards.
The defensive backfield staunchly held the Bobcat’s passing attack to 28 yards through the air. Sophomore safety Jalen Thompson pulled in his first career interception and led the defense with seven total tackles.
Following the game, Thompson proudly spoke about his first career interception.
“I’ve been working for this for my entire career, and I felt confident out there tonight,” Thompson said. “It feels so good to make Coach Grinch proud.”
Head Coach Mike Leach was all business in his postgame news conference. In light of Leach’s fiery comments after the loss to Boise State in 2016, he said his team’s intensity level was in the right place tonight. For the first time in the Leach-era, the Cougars are 1-0 after week one.
Winning is always important to the head coach, but Leach downplayed the idea that winning the opener was specifically crucial. It was not any more critical than each game won last year, he said.
WSU will be focusing their attention toward the second of five consecutive home games. The same 7:30 p.m. kickoff will take place next Saturday at Martin Stadium. The Boise State Broncos will be visiting Pullman for a rematch of last year’s game in Idaho.