No. 16 Washington State, No. 5 USC all tied up at Martin Stadium

September 30, 2017 GMT

PULLMAN – The heavyweight battle between No. 16 Washington State and No. 5 USC is all tied up at halftime.

Luke Falk broke Sean Mannion’s Pac-12 record for career completions, threw one touchdown pass and led the Cougars on a 12-play, 94-yard scoring drive right before the break to knot the score up at 17-17.

Jamal Morrow ripped off a 30-yard run through the middle of the field early in the first quarter to put the Cougars in Trojans territory, but the home team had to settle for a 44-yard field goal from Erik Powell when Falk’s end-zone attempt to Jamire Calvin fell through the receiver’s hands.

Sam Darnold completed three passes to Deontay Burnett, a former WSU commit, on the first USC drive and advanced the Trojans to the 13-yard line before getting 9 yards on a scramble that saw him evade Jahad Woods and break a tackle from Frankie Luvu. Darnold kept it for a 4-yard touchdown on the next play to make it 7-3.

The Cougars moved efficiently on the next possession, though. Falk delivered a 61-yard strike – his longest of the season – to Renard Bell and the WSU QB hit Tavares Martin Jr. on a tunnel screen for a 28-yard touchdown.

USC responded in a blink when Ronald Jones found a seam on third-and-4 from the 14-yard line and outran the defense for an 86-yard touchdown run to make it 14-10.

Things spiraled for WSU on the next drive when Falk’s first-down pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage. It fell to USC linebacker Uchenna Nwosu, who’d go down at the 3-yard line. But USC, which rankes 11th in the Pac-12 in red-zone offense, couldn’t move the ball forward on three straight plays and settled for a 20-yard Chase McGrath field goal.

The Cougars followed with one of their most methodical drives of the season. Starting from the 6-yard line, Falk completed passes to five different receivers and a pass interference call on USC’s Jack Jones set up WSU on the 2-yard line. Morrow then took a handoff from Falk, bounced outside, then cut inside to prance into the end zone, making it 17-17.

WSU’s starting inside linebacker, Isaac Dotson, limped off the field with what appeared to be a lower-body injury late in the first quarter. Dotson went to the locker room in the second quarter, but eventually returned to the WSU sideline. USC starting right tackle Chuma Edoga also hobbled off the field with an injury and didn’t return, as did starting Trojans right guard Viane Talamaivao. USC was already playing without starting left tackle Toa Lobendahn.