Falk leads Washington State over Wyoming 31-14
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) Washington State hadn't won a home football game in more than a year, but the Cougars used a solid team effort to beat Wyoming 31-14 and send their fans home happy on Saturday night.
''It feels great,'' running back Keith Harrington said of the home win.
''One of the brightest spots is it was a real team effort,'' coach Mike Leach said. ''All three sides of the ball contributed significantly.''
''The crowd was awesome and instrumental to our win,'' Leach added.
Luke Falk threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another for Washington State, which had not won a game in Pullman since beating Portland State on Sept. 13, 2014. The Cougars had not defeated an FBS opponent at home since beating Utah in 2013.
Dom Williams caught two scoring passes for Washington State (2-1), which did not come by the win easily.
Wyoming led 14-7 after the first quarter.
''Wyoming played harder than us early in the game,'' Leach said.
The Cougars rallied for a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter for a 21-14 halftime lead, then held Wyoming scoreless in the second half.
''Our defensive unit responded well in the second half,'' Leach said.
Brian Hill ran for 139 yards for Wyoming (0-3), who came in as a 24-point underdog.
''We're doing the best we can with what we have out there right now,'' Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said. ''I thought our guys went out there and fought and scrapped hard, but we certainly can play better.''
Cowboys quarterback Cameron Coffman, who missed last week's game with an injured knee, completed 25 of 36 passes for 296 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. He was sacked five times.
Falk completed 37 of 45 passes and was intercepted once.
''I was in a pretty good groove,'' Falk said.
Wyoming outgained the Cougars 409 yards to 378.
Wyoming scored on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Coffman to Tanner Gentry on the first possession of the game. Coffman had been intercepted the play before, but the pick was negated by a hand-in-face penalty against WSU's Hercules Mata'afa, giving the Cowboys new life.
Washington State tied the game on Falk's 1-yard run late in the first quarter, capping a 44-yard drive that began with Wyoming punting out of its own end zone.
Wyoming took possession on its own 37 on the ensuing series and ran the ball six straight times, down to the WSU 5. Then Coffman fired a touchdown pass to Jake Maulhardt for a 14-7 lead.
Washington State replied with a 70-yard drive, with Falk passing 35 yards to Williams in the end zone to tie the game at 14-14.
Tristan Bailey missed a 38-yard field goal attempt on Wyoming's next possession.
Washington State took over on its 21 and grabbed its first lead of the game when Keith Harrington ran 36 yards into the end zone for a 21-14 advantage they never relinquished. Harrington ran or caught the ball on six of the nine plays.
Falk was picked off early in the third by Marcus Epps, giving Wyoming the ball on its 49. But the Cowboys' drive stalled and they turned the ball over on downs. Washington State returned the favor, as Harrington was stopped on fourth-and-1 and Wyoming got the ball back on the WSU 40. Wyoming couldn't move the ball and had to punt.
''I thought they went out on the field and stayed very focused and made some plays and didn't break,'' Bohl said of his team's effort in shutting out Washington State in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth, Gentry fumbled after catching the ball and Mata'afa recovered, giving Washington State possession at midfield. A targeting call against Wyoming cornerback Robert Priester on receiver River Cracraft got Priester ejected from the game and put WSU on the Wyoming 24. The Cougars drove to the 4, but had to settle for Erik Powell's 22-yard field goal and a 24-14 lead.
Falk added a touchdown pass to Williams late in the game.
Washington State opened the season by losing at home to FCS Portland State before rebounding to beat Rutgers on the road last weekend. Falk was Pac-12 player of the week after throwing for 478 yards and four touchdowns at Rutgers.
Washington State leads the all-time series 4-2.
AP college football site: http://collegefootball.ap.org