Good morning, Coug fans. Our Washington State Cougars are in Tempe today to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils. Let’s hope this was a generally normal week of preparation after the previous week. WSU, believe it or not, has only four regular season games remaining and need to win two of them to qualify for a bowl game. They start today with the Sun Devils, then are idle before heading to Oregon. They’ll come home to play
FCS Arizona and then finish in Seattle with the Apple Cup. I see one win in there. Is there another?
But first things first. WSU gets a Sun Devils team dealing with its own coaching drama, though the Sun Devils sit at 5-2 and are tied record-wise atop the Pac-12 South.
WSU and ASU have two things in common today: Both are coming off losses (though ASU was idle last week), and both lost to BYU this season. That doesn’t tell us anything, of course, but both teams need wins to keep pace with whatever realistic goals they may have (ASU is tied with Utah in the South but lost to the Utes two weeks ago).
So, who ya got?
Three Things to Watch
- The WSU defense’s energy late in the game: This is a bit specific, but it’s going to be hot in Tempe, and the WSU defenders will have their hands full with a talented Arizona State offense. ASU has a dynamic quarterback in Jayden Daniels and an overall potent offense when it’s clicking. If WSU gets down early, will the defense stay in it or let the floodgates open, a la the USC game? Hope everybody’s hydrated!
- Time of possession: Arizona is tops in the Pac-12 in total defense, tops in scoring defense (they allow just 18.9 points a game), third in passing defense (190.7 yards allowed per game) and fourth in rushing defense (130.29 yards per game). It won’t be easy, but WSU needs sustained drives. Let’s hope the new coaches did their homework!
- Graduate assistants as position coaches: This is obviously a storyline heading into this game, as both WSU and ASU are relying on graduate assistants and quality control staffers to step in due to the departures of the original coaches. The circumstances are different, of course, but how soon does the FS1 broadcasters put up a graphic comparing the coaching staffs? I’m going with no later than the eight-minute mark of the first quarter.
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