Washington State stormed back from a 31-21 deficit midway through the fourth quarter, punched in the tying touchdown with one second showing on the clock in regulation, and then outlasted Oregon in two overtimes, shocking the once-mighty Ducks 45-38 Saturday night at Autzen Stadium (box). Led by Luke Falk’s five touchdown passes, the Cougars snapped an eight-game losing streak to Oregon, which last year played for the national championship.
Trailing 31-21 with eight ticks remaining in regulation and facing a fourth-and three, Falk connected with River Cracraft for a 22-yard gain and a first down at the Oregon eight-yard line. On the next play, Falk found Dom Williams for a touchdown in the corner of the end zone that sent the game into overtime.
After Oregon’s Jeff Lockie threw a 9-yard TD to Bralon Addison to put the Ducks ahead 38-31 in the first OT, Falk scored on a keeper to tie. In the second overtime, Oregon elected to start on defense. An unnecessary roughness call on the Ducks set up Falk for a four-yard TD to Robert Lewis that appeared to land in Cracraft’s hands. The Cougars clinched it when Shalom Luani intercepted Lockie in the end zone on Oregon’s final possession.
Falk had 50 completions in 74 attempts for a season-high 505 yards. His touchdown throws covered 7 and 4 yards to Gabe Marks, 27 yards to Tavares Martin, 8 yards to Williams and 4 yards to Lewis. Falk, who did not throw an interception, has two career 500-yard games and four consecutive 300-yard games.
Falk has 28 career touchdown passes, tied for ninth in WSU history with Mark Rypien.
Marks and Cracraft served as Falk’s top targets. Marks finished with eight catches for 111 yards and Cracraft caught nine balls for 85. Williams had seven catches for 82. Marks has three 100-yard receiving games this season and seven in his career.
The Cougars amassed 641 yards of total offense to Oregon’s 533 and accomplished a Cougars’ rarity by collecting 136 rushing yards, 68 by Jamal Morrow.
Washington State made the most of its fourth-down opportunities, going 4-for-5.
The Ducks gouged the Cougars for 410 rushing yards, including 246 and two touchdowns by Royce Freeman. But WSU stymied the Oregon passing game, holding Lockie to 123 yards with an interception.
Washington State prevailed despite losing the possession battle. Oregon controlled the clock for 42:08 to WSU’s 32:52.
“This was a good win for our guys. We played extremely hard. We talked about playing hard for 60 minutes and we played even longer. I thought it was a very gutsy performance and I really appreciate the effort by our players. Everybody pushed one another, we stuck in there and didn’t let disappointment affect us. We improved tonight, but we’ve got to improve a lot more” — Mike Leach, WSU coach
The Cougars trailed 10-7, 17-7 and 17-14 before Falk’s 27-yard TD to Martin lifted WSU to a 21-17 lead. The Cougars trailed 24-21 and 31-21 with 8:20 remaining in the fourth quarter . . . Washington State improved to 3-2, 1-1, while Oregon dropped to 3-3, 1-2. Oregon has two conference losses this season at Autzen Stadium, where Washington State snapped a four-game losing streak. The Ducks lead the all-time series, 47-38-7 . . . The overtime was Washington State’s first since the 2012 Apple Cup, and its first double-overtime game since the 2008 Apple Cup . . . WSU had not beaten Oregon in Eugene since 2003.
The Cougars return to Martin Stadium at 1 p.m. Saturday to host Oregon State. The game (Pac-12 Networks). The Beavers lost 44-7 to Arizona Saturday.