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Luke Falk to start for Washington State Saturday after benching

Washington State quarterback Luke Falk will start for the Cougars against Oregon State on Saturday, coach Mike Leach said.

Falk was benched for a series in the second half of the Cougars' 47-44 triple-overtime win over Boise State and then was knocked from the game with an apparent injury early in the fourth quarter. With Falk sidelined, backup quarterback Tyler Hilinski helped the Cougars erase a 31-10 deficit to force overtime and threw the game-winning touchdown pass in the third overtime period.

"I wanted Luke to see how easy it was out there, which it was until Tyler tried to do too much," said Leach, when asked why Falk was pulled before the injury. "Then we held Luke for precautionary reasons."

Hilinski finished the day 25-of-33 for 240 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Falk was 24-of-34 for 193 yards with no scores and an interception.

Leach added that the distribution of the reps in practice would not change.

Since he took over as the starter late in the 2014 season, Falk has thrown for 11,392 yards with 92 touchdown passes and 27 interceptions. He's within striking distance of former USC quarterback Matt Barkley's conference record for touchdown passes (116) and former Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion's conference record for passing yards (13,600)

The Cougars (2-0) host the Beavers (1-2) in what will be the Pac-12 opener for both schools.