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Three things to watch as Washington State hosts Arizona

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Let’s get that bowl bid.

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 13: Washington State linebacker Jahad Woods (13) runs into the locker room at the end of the first half of a PAC 12 conference matchup between the Oregon Ducks and the Washington State Cougars on November 13, 2021, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, OR. Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Happy Cougar Football Friday, fellow fans. I don’t know about you, but prepping for a Friday game threw off my week a bit. But alas, there is a game tonight and it has big implications for our Cougs.

As you know, a win tonight gives WSU a sixth straight bowl appearance (again, I’m not counting 2020). That’s quite an achievement. The Arizona Wildcats stand in the way, and let me tell you: Arizona is baaaaaaad.

It’s been a tough year for the Wildcats in Jedd Fisch’s first season as head coach. They didn’t score more than 19 points until they scored 34 in a loss at USC on Oct. 30. They scored just 10 points in their only win over a COVID-depleted Cal team. They’ve been shut out once this season, against lowly Colorado. They also lost to FCS Northern Arizona, who is 4-6.

But hey, they played Utah hard last week.

It’s senior day for WSU, and a lot of talent will be playing their last game at Martin Stadium. Let’s send them off with a win and another bowl game.

Three things to watch

  1. Crowd energy: Playing a home game the last day before Thanksgiving break is never ideal for Washington State, and let’s hope students stick around before leaving Saturday. Conversely, the size of the crowd coming into Pullman is one to watch as well. Not everybody can take off work and snag the kids out of school on a Friday, but let’s hope plenty are indeed able to. Whatever the crowd size, the Cougs will need it as they send off a ton of talented seniors and try to earn a sixth straight bowl appearance.
  2. Red zone trips: As we said earlier, Arizona’s numbers aren’t good at all. One that stuck out to me: In 33 opponent trips to the red zone, all but one ended with points. The Cougs need to bat a thousand in the red zone tonight (they’re just at 77% right now), and preferably with touchdowns. We’ve all been here before: A seemingly winnable game that becomes more difficult than it should be. Getting seven points on each red zone trip will go a long way in lower fans’ blood pressure. Don’t make it more difficult than it needs to be, Cougs.
  3. The weather: I’m not one to blame the weather (except wind—wind is evil) for any adverse events on a football field, but it could be a sloppy mess tonight in Pullman. There’s snow and rain in the forecast, and we all know how enjoyable that mix can be. Hold on to the ball, fellas.

Good luck making it through the workday, folks. Go Cougs.