PULLMAN — Luke Falk led No. 25 Washington State on a 94-yard drive in the fourth quarter that produced the winning points in a 24-21 victory over No. 18 Stanford on Saturday.
Washington State finished 7-0 at home this season, and stayed in the race for the Pac-12 North title.
“It’s been a great ride and we’ve just got to finish the ride,” Falk said.
He completed 34 of 48 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception, and also became the career passing yards leader in the Pac-12.
“It was the same old Luke we have seen the last couple of years,” running back Jamal Morrow said. “Calm, steady.”
Washington State likely needs to win at Utah next weekend and at No. 12 Washington later this month to win the Pac-12 North title.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Falk said.
Snow started to fall heavily at the end of the first quarter, hampering both offenses. Stanford hadn’t played in snow since a 1936 game against Columbia in New York.
Morrow rushed for 66 yards for Washington State (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12, No. 25 CFP), chewing up time at the end of the game.
Bryce Love, slowed by an ankle injury, was held to 69 yards, his worst outing of the season for Stanford (6-3, 5-2, No. 21 CFP). He came in as the nation’s leading rusher, averaging 198 yards a game.
“I thought we really played hard the entire game,” Washington State coach Mike Leach said. “It was a great team win.”
Stanford coach David Shaw blamed himself for the loss.
“I feel like I let my team down,” Shaw said. “I didn’t give our guys a chance to be successful today.”
“Offensively we didn’t get enough production from the passing game,” Shaw said after the Cardinal were limited to 105 passing yards.
Stanford was outgained 430 yards to 198 in the game.
“We wanted to stick with the running game but we weren’t as efficient as we needed to be,” Shaw said. “We should have mixed it up a little bit.”
Love ran 52 yards for a touchdown on Stanford’s first play of the second quarter. But he rushed 15 more times for a total of 17 yards otherwise.
Falk replied with a 12-yard pass to Tavares Martin Jr. to tie it.
On WSU’s next possession, Falk threw a 27-yard pass to Renard Bell in the end zone for a 14-7 lead that held up at halftime. A fan jumped out of the stands after the touchdown and mooned the players in the end zone before being hustled away by security.
Washington State drove to Stanford’s 13 on its first possession of the second half, but had to settle for Erik Powell’s 41-yard field goal and a 17-7 lead.
Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello fumbled the ball after the snap, but it bounced back into his hands and he ran 14 yards for a touchdown that brought Stanford within 17-14 in the third. He completed 9 of 20 passes in his second career start.
On Washington State’s next possession, the Cougars went for it on fourth-and-1 at midfield. But Falk’s pass was intercepted by Bobby Okereke and returned 52 yards for a touchdown that gave Stanford a 21-17 lead.
Falk led the Cougars 94 yards, culminating in an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jamire Calvin, for a 24-21 lead with 6:56 left in the game.
“We focused on what we needed to do,” Falk said of the drive.
Stanford went three-and-out and WSU chewed up more than three minutes of clock before punting the ball with 35 seconds left in the game. Frankie Luvu’s interception ended the Stanford threat.
Falk came in needing 132 passing yards to break the Pac-12 career record of 13,600 set by Sean Mannion of Oregon State, and broke it easily.
“That’s pretty cool,” Falk said. “I think it’s a team award.”
He already holds league records for pass completions, pass attempts and total offense. He needs three touchdown passes to become the Pac-12 leader in that category.