WSU QB Luke Falk sits out Holiday Bowl; Tyler Hilinski makes first career start against Michigan State

WSU quarterback Luke Falk has played his final game for the Cougars. He sat out the Holiday Bowl with a left-hand injury and sophomore quarterback Tyler Hilinski earned his first career start against Michigan State.

SAN DIEGO – As it turned out, Washington State’s Apple Cup loss to UW was quarterback Luke Falk’s final game as a Cougar. Hampered by an injury to his left (non-throwing) wrist, Falk was forced to sit out Thursday’s Holiday Bowl game against Michigan State, and sophomore backup quarterback Tyler Hilinski made his first career start for WSU.

Falk, a redshirt senior, has played with an injured left wrist all year, a source told The Seattle Times. And WSU coach Mike Leach seemed to confirm this Wednesday when he told media at the Holiday Bowl coaches news conference, “He has had something on his hand all year, and hence, we named him the King Slayer.”

Aside from that comment, Leach was, as usual, cryptic about Falk’s injury, saying after the WSU’s 42-17 defeat to the Spartans, “Luke’s doing exactly what we want him to do. Luke’s had a fine career here, and also done a great deal for the program. Probably more than most people will ever realize.”

(GIF by Rich Boudet / The Seattle Times)

“We felt that Tyler was the ideal guy to start with our lineup today. He’s the one we selected,” Leach said.

A reporter pressed the issue, asking, “Was Luke injured? I’m sorry I wasn’t real clear on that?”

Leach retorted, “You’re going to remain unclear on it, next question.”

He did, however, appear to soften toward the end of his news conference, when he conceded that the team knew going into the bowl game that Falk would not be able to play.

“We had a sense that he wasn’t going to play,” Leach said. “Which is unfortunate because of what he’s done here. But we had to look out for what’s in his best interests and in the best interest of the players.”

Falk…

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