Cougars eyeing first 2-0 start since 2011

SAM HEIKELL | Evergreen reporter

Coming off their first season-opening victory in nearly six years, WSU football looks to get another win, this time against Boise State on Saturday.

The Broncos prevailed in this matchup last season, inching by the Cougars 31-28. In a game where WSU battled to the end, Head Coach Mike Leach questioned the toughness of his team.

“I didn’t think we executed well [last year], I thought we were slow and I thought we were tentative,” Leach said. “But of course, none of that counts for this year so we’re going to worry about this one.”

The Cougars dominated Montana State 31-0, starting their five-game home stand the way they wanted to. Holding the Bobcats to only 143 yards from scrimmage, the defense earned their first shutout since 2013.

“I’m very proud of our defense that they had a shutout,” Leach said. “Shutouts are hard no matter who you play, when or where.”

YULING LIU | The Daily Evergreen
Redshirt sophomore running back James Williams tries to avoid being tackled by three Bobcat defenders. Williams gained 45 yards in the victory.

Along with the win came a milestone for redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk, as he became WSU’s all-time passing touchdown leader with 92.

“I think [the record] is a cool team thing,” Falk said after the game, “because it’s a real team gig and I thought everyone tonight did a great job.”

Falk was on target Saturday, completing his first 20 passing attempts. He tallied 311 yards and three touchdowns on the night.

“I know that Luke has continued to progress,” Boise State Head Coach Bryan Harsin said. “That offense is potent and can move the ball down the field.”

In Boise State’s first game of the season, they beat Troy 24-13 in a game where their defense and special teams carried the load. In the first quarter, redshirt freshman quarterback Avery Williams returned an 81-yard punt return for his first touchdown in college football.

On the offensive side, the Broncos weren’t as sharp as they’d like to be. With a young offensive line and a two-quarterback combo, their offense struggled to move the ball at times.

“We have some inexperience on the O-line,” Harsin said. “We need to be faster and we need to be better. These guys need to take what they learned last game, and apply it to this game, [or else] it’ll be hard and we’ll get hit.”

Saturday’s game will be airing on ESPN, and, like Montana State last week, the Broncos are preparing for a packed house at Martin Stadium.

“We’re going to be in a stadium with a great crowd and there’s going to be an atmosphere that we’re going to have to deal with,” Harsin said. “We are going to go in and play a good football team.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Martin Stadium.