And at the #9 spot on my Top Ten is…..
#9 Washington State’s Luke Falk- Luke Falk is probably a name maybe people are not that too familiar with but he puts up big numbers for Washington State. He is coached by one of the best offensive minds in the game, Head Coach Mike Leach. Leach is a head coach that loves to get QBs that can throw 50-70 passes a game and he has much success with this air raid offense. He has coached many great college QBs, like former No. 1 pick Tim Couch, current Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury, and Graham Harrell. Mike Leach coached B.J. Symons, the current holder of the most passing yards in a single season. In 2003, Symons threw for 5,833 yards and Harrell is second with 5,705 yards. If Falk lets Leach coach him up he might be able to find his way somewhere near the top of that list. At 6’4″, Falk has great height, but he might need to add some weight to be more durable since he is not much of a scrambler. In 2015, Falk passed for 4561 yards and threw 38 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions. Out of the returning QBs, he threw for the second most passing yards. He is the type of QB that can win from within the pocket and let his receivers and backs do the damage with the ball in their hands. Falk did a good amount of damage that season as he and the Cougars went 9-4, which is the best season for the Cougars since 2003.
His best three games of the season, in no particular order, came on a three game win streak for the Cougars. The three games were at Oregon, home against Oregon State, and away against Arizona.
In the Oregon game, Falk threw for 505 passing yards and five touchdowns. The best part about this victory is that it came in dramatic fashion. In the last two minutes of the game, Falk marched the Cougars down the field and they scored on a eight yard touchdown pass to Dom Williams and the game went to OT. Oregon and Washington State both scored touchdowns in the first OT but in the second OT the Cougars came out victorious. Falk threw a pass to WR River Cracraft and he took it near the goal line and coughed up the ball but, WR Robert Lewis was there to pick up the loose ball and he carried it into the endzone. This would be the game-winning TD because on Oregon’s next possession they threw an interceptions. In this game, Falk threw 74 passes with no interceptions and he gave the Cougars their first victory against the Ducks in eight tries.
At home against Oregon State, Falk had a 78% completion rate on 50 throws. He also threw six touchdowns and two interceptions. He threw all of his six touchdowns in only a half’s work and by the second half the game was too far out of reach for Oregon State. This game stuck with me not because of his six touchdown passes but because of his 90.6 QBR, which turned out to be his season’s best. And this was also Washington State’s first home Pac-12 win since November 2013. It was a great day for Washington State and maybe even a better day for Falk. The next week on the road he showed out again.
At Arizona, he had his season’s high for passing yards, 514 yards. He also threw five touchdowns, no interceptions, and had a 75.8% completion rate on 62 passes. In the first half, he was on fire. He went 30 for 38, threw 4 touchdown and already had 335 yards passing. To end the game he had a QBR of 87.4. In this three game stretch, he threw for 1,426 yards on 78% passing, threw 16 touchdowns and two interceptions, and had an average QBR of 81.3. Most importantly he went 3-0 in those games.
Luke Falk will be an under-the-radar QB because he plays for a team that is not on the national stage, but that does not dull how bright he can and will shine. In the 2016, I don’t predict a drop off in play for Falk. If he can improve from this last season and improve in the summer and fall camp, he could bring a 10-win season to Washington State for the first time since 2003.