Washington State Cougars (2-3, 1-2)
Coming off a dominant road win over California, the Cougars have buried two tough losses at the hands of USC and Utah behind them and now may be moving forward from their less than stellar start to the campaign.
Things are far from perfect for Washington State, but shades of a breakthrough on both sides of the ball have been leading them back towards the version of the program that everyone expected to see when Nick Rolovich took over, before a 3-6 overall record crept in, riddled around storylines surrounding the head coach’s COVID-19 vaccine stalemate as well.
To say the Cougars are looking for the storm to finally calm would be an understatement.
However, Washington State will face maybe the hottest team in the conference in Oregon State, who went from preseason pretenders to mid-season contenders, as they share the only unblemished in-conference record at a perfect 2-0 with Arizona State. With two teams at crossroads in their seasons, Saturday afternoon is quickly shaping up to be one not to miss in the fight for Pac-12 crown.
Three Things To Know
- The Preseason Quarterback Questions Are Still Lingering: ...And they probably won’t be answered anytime soon. Jayden de Laura has stepped up as the most serviceable piece and will keep the role until further notice, as Jarrett Guarantano’s turnover and sack issues were simply too much to ignore. The rising sophomore has tossed 9 touchdowns compared to just 4 interceptions, yet the Cougars have scored over 23 points in a game just once this season in a loss to Utah State. Things have been better for Washington State, but they’re still definitely far from perfect.
- A Supposedly Poor Defense Has Been Solid: No, Washington State won’t be setting any defensive records anytime soon, but the Cougars have been surprisingly strong for the depth chart they have in tow. They’ve allowed 25.0 points per game to opponents and have played mostly in low-scoring affairs, including coming off an outing versus California where they allowed just six points. Tied for 55th nationally in points against per outing, it hasn’t been the Cougars’ defense that has been the main issue.
- Calvin Jackson Jr. And Travell Harris Are Stars In The Making: In order to piece together a great offense, especially under a pass-happy Nick Rolovich, key receiving targets need to emerge and a duo of seniors in Calvin Jackson Jr. and Travell Harris are doing their part to carry the load. Their combination of 57 receptions for 581 yards and 7 scores this season have helped to bail out de Laura (and others), as well as continuing to clear the field for versatile running back Max Borghi.
- Date: Saturday, October 9th
- Time: 1:00 PM PT
- Location: Martin Stadium (Pullman, Washington)
- Coverage: Pac-12 Network