Cougars overwhelm Nevada behind Luke Falk’s passing, stingy defense

Luke Falk threw for 478 yards and five touchdowns, and No. 18 Washington State beat Nevada 45-7 for the team’s best start in 16 years.

PULLMAN — Washington State quarterback Luke Falk said the Air Raid offense is a sight to behold when it’s clicking.

It was clicking Saturday against Nevada.

Falk threw for 478 yards and five touchdowns, and No. 18 Washington State beat Nevada 45-7 for the team’s best start in 16 years.

Nice start

4-0

The Cougars have won their first four games for the first time since the 2001 season, when they started 7-0 and went to the Sun Bowl, finishing 10-2.

“This offense can be a beautiful thing,” said Falk, who completed 36 of 47 passes and was not intercepted.

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Washington State (4-0), which opened the 2001 season by winning its first seven games, piled up 560 yards of offense and five sacks.

Nevada, which also runs the Air Raid, was held to 151 total yards as the Wolf Pack (0-4) fell to 0-17 on the road against opponents in the Top 25. Nevada came in as a 28-point underdog.

Washington State led 35-0 at halftime.

“I thought it was a really good first half,” said coach Mike Leach, who improved to 33-34 in his sixth season at Washington State. “There were too many loose ends in the second half.”

“It was a good overall game,” Leach added. “We improved on yards after the catch and making people miss.”

Nevada coach Jay Norvell felt his team was overmatched by the Cougars of the Pac-12.

“This is the first game where I felt that we didn’t handle the physical matchup on the defensive line,” he said.

“Overall we didn’t mount much of a charge offensively to get us back into the game,” Norvell said. “I was disappointed about that.”

A 52-yard pass from Falk to Tavares Martin Jr. set up Falk’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Morrow in the first quarter as Washington State took a 7-0 lead.

Falk’s shovel pass to James Williams went for 13 yards and a touchdown to put the Cougars ahead 14-0. It was the 100th touchdown pass of Falk’s career, passing Matt Leinart of USC for third in Pac-12 history.

“I think that’s a great team thing,” Falk said. “It is humbling.”

Nevada went three-and-out on its first three possessions and produced only 7 yards of offense in the first quarter. Starting quarterback Kaymen Cureton was replaced by David Cornwell, but it…

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