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Three things to watch as Washington State welcomes Portland State

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Plus, your Game Thread!

PULLMAN, WA - SEPTEMBER 4: Washington State wide receiver Calvin Jackson Jr (8) signals for a first down after a catch during the first half of a non-conference matchup between the Utah State Aggies and the Washington State Cougars on September 4, 2021, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, WA. Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Happy Cougar Football Saturday to you and yours! Our Washington State Cougars will look to bounce back from last week’s humbling loss to Utah State as the Portland State Vikings return to Pullman for the first time since 2015. I don’t think I need to remind you of what happened then. Let’s move on.

The Cougs expect to deploy Jayden de Laura at quarterback after Jarret Guarantano underwhelmed last week. Guarantano left with an apparent injury, but it’s unclear if he’ll be QB2 or if he’ll even dress today. Anyway, it’s de Laura’s time to shine, and perhaps he’ll show today why he should have been the guy from the get-go.

Luckily for fans, we won’t have to wait as long as last week for kickoff. The 3 p.m. start is just about the perfect time for a football game. With that, let’s get to this week’s Three Things to Watch:

  1. The offensive line: Did you read Jesse’s coach’s corner this week? You should. It focused on Max Borghi’s carries, but it highlighted the offensive line woes WSU suffered last week. Will that unit be improved this week? WSU sure hopes so, or it won’t matter who’s behind center or who’s getting the bulk of the carries. I’m hesitant to glean much insight into how a unit performs against an FCS team (famous last words, I know), but if the offensive line doesn’t clean up its mess from last week, look out.
  2. The quarterback: Duh. It’s the most important position on the field and last week’s cast of three quarterbacks didn’t exactly give fans confidence. Jayden de Laura needs to be the man and give the coaching staff every reason to keep him in the game, even during goal line situations.
  3. The defense: This unit folded under pressure late last week, and much like the offensive line, it might be difficult to come to any conclusions based on its performance against an FCS team. However, should the defense struggle at times, it’s time to worry.

Get ready for some daylight football. Go Cougs.

A note on 9/11

It’s been 20 years since that awful day in America, and with what’s going on in Afghanistan right now, I’ve thought a lot this week about how the world changed drastically in 20 years. Mostly, I’ve thought about a high school classmate of mine who was killed in Afghanistan almost nine years ago. I’m sure lots of us know of someone affected by 9/11, so I’ll be paying attention to the many tributes today, and I hope you do too.

Never Forgetting 9/11 - Washington State University Athletics
Editor's Note: The following story was originally published Sept. 11, 2011 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Links

Two-minute drill: Keys to victory for Washington State against Portland State | The Spokesman-Review
Don’t take your eyes off …

The pick: Why Washington State will beat Portland State | The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN – I predicted last week that Washington State would bag a win against Utah State because the program was in desperate need of a positive development.

Cougs Cruise Past Panthers - Washington State University Athletics
WSU sweeps Northern Iowa in dominate fashion in second match of Cougar Challenge.

College football Week 2 - Iowa-Iowa State, C.J. Stroud vs. Oregon and much more
Iowa won the coveted Cy-Hawk trophy by one point the last time the Hawkeyes and Cyclones met back in 2019. And now, for the first time ever, both teams are ranked (and in the top 10!) heading into the game.

College football picks, schedule: Predictions against the spread, odds for top 25 games today in Week 2 - CBSSports.com
A closer look at the top games on the slate for Week 2 of the 2021 season

Pac-12 takes spotlight in Week 2 as conference's battle for relevancy enters yet another season - CBSSports.com
Oregon (at Ohio State) is not the only Pac-12 team that has a chance to make noise in Week 2

Updates: Washington State looks to bounce back against Portland State at 3 p.m. | The Spokesman-Review
Follow along as the Cougars host the Vikings for the second game of the 2021 season.

Big game with the Big Sky: Washington State hoping to bounce back in FBS/FCS crossover | The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN – Washington State is aiming to regain its confidence and reinvigorate its fan base a week after opening its season with a frustrating defeat.

Volleyball Finishes Cougar Challenge Perfect - Washington State University Athletics
Pia Timmer named 2021 Cougar Challenge MVP.