JACKSON GARDNER | Evergreen reporter
Cougar football (3-0) unleashed the firepower of its air raid offense upon the Oregon State University Beavers (1-3) in a 52-23 beat down this afternoon.
WSU chalked up its first conference win as redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk was back from his brief stint on the sideline last week. Falk, who has historically played well against OSU, stayed true to his past performances.
On the Cougars’ second offensive drive, Falk connected with junior wide receiver Tavares Martin Jr. for a 21-yard touchdown pass. Despite that drive, WSU only managed to collect 62 total yards in the first quarter.
The Cougs dramatically elevated their play in the second quarter, nearly tripling their production from the first. From there, the momentum never let down.
One thing will remain consistent about Head Coach Mike Leach: If his offense stops moving, he wants to go deep. Half of Falk’s first-half touchdown passes came by way of vertical routes.
Falk completed 37 of 49 attempted passes with 396 passing yards and six touchdowns.
“When we were playing well, we were firing on all cylinders,” Falk said. “I still don’t think we have reached our ceiling yet, but it was good to put that many points up.”
The Cougars have traditionally been blessed by a productive relationship between their quarterback and leading receiver. One of the major question marks for WSU this season was if Martin Jr. would be ready to take on the production of the program’s all-time leading receiver Gabe Marks.
Martin Jr. made Martin Stadium his own world this afternoon. His 10 receptions for 194 yards and three touchdowns led all receivers in each category today.
As a whole, WSU’s receiving core had a day to remember against the ailing OSU defense.
“I think that’s the fun part about it, he [Sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Johnson-Mack] is getting his share of the wealth, and I’m getting mine,” Martin Jr. said. “And then, throughout the game, we spread the wealth to the young guys.”
The Beavers received help from junior running back Ryan Nall, who found the end zone twice while averaging 7.9 yards per carry in the game. However, the lack of a consistent passing game proved to be the difference in the matchup.
A storyline to follow for OSU will be the health of junior quarterback Jake Luton. He
was carted off the field after collapsing from a head injury early in the fourth quarter.
The Cougars made a humbling gesture of solidarity by wearing bone decals on the back of their helmets for those affected by the shooting at Freeman High School in Rockford, Washington.
After the final whistle, Leach addressed the gesture in a postgame interview.