Leach mum on Falk’s injury going into Holiday Bowl

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The first question for Washington State coach Mike Leach during Wednesday’s pre-Holiday Bowl news conference was about the cast on quarterback Luke Falk’s non-throwing left wrist.

The seventh question was about the pet raccoon Leach had when he was a kid, which he mentioned in an article he wrote for the Players’ Tribune.

Naturally, Leach was much more forthcoming about the raccoon, which was named Bilbo Baggins, than he was about his quarterback’s health.

“He’s doing great. You can use your imagination all you want about the cast,” Leach said about Falk, who despite whatever’s going on with his wrist is still expected to lead No. 21 WSU (9-3) against No. 18 Michigan State (9-3) today. “He has had something on his hand all year and hence we named him ‘the Kingslayer.’ Beyond that you’re on your own.”

Falk and the Cougars are looking for a better Holiday Bowl than a year ago, when their normally high-powered Air Raid offense was shut down by Minnesota in a 17-12 dud.

Washington State will be without All-American defensive lineman Hercules Mataafa for the first half today — the Lahainaluna High School graduate was ejected for targeting in the Cougars’ last game.