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Nick Rolovich ‘leaning toward’ starting Jayden de Laura on Saturday

After a surprising starter last weekend, the Cougs might have a new starter this weekend.

PULLMAN, WA - SEPTEMBER 4: Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura (4) throws a pass 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

It was a shock to many on Saturday when transfer Jarrett Guarantano took the first snaps behind center for Washington State against Utah State. Many felt that the starter last year, Jayden de Laura, would win the job out of camp.

But, very quickly, plans changed for Nick Rolovich and company in Pullman. Guarantano went down with an injury during a safety in the first half and de Laura took over, giving a bit of a spark to WSU’s lagging offense.

Of course, the Cougs ended up losing to Utah State. But now they’re looking to bounce back against Portland State this weekend and the question is, who will take the snaps behind center this weekend?

The biggest question heading into the game centers on the severity of Guarantano’s injury. On Monday, Nick Rolovich was asked about the injury to the quarterback, along with injuries to offensive lineman Brian Greene and defensive back Daniel Isom. He said that all three were still undergoing tests and he wasn’t sure about the severity just yet... But it didn’t look good.

“I don’t know how much I’ll tell you anyway,” Rolovich said, “but I know that they are looking like season ending injuries. If they are, I’ll let you guys know.”

Rolovich was later asked a more direct question: Who will start at quarterback on Saturday against Portland State? Things are never exactly straight forward with Rolovich, but he seemed to be leaning toward starting de Laura, even if Guarantano is available.

“I think Jayden came in, to his credit, with a more mature mindset,” Rolovich said. “I think he handled the decision, when we told them, very well. Obviously disappointed, but I’ve got to give the kid credit for how he’s handled it. I think he’s matured.... I didn’t give him enough until after the game, as far as how he handled himself.”

“Without knowing everything that’s going on with Jarrett, I would anticipate going with Jayden.”

Rolovich left the door open, but if you watched the game last weekend, the answer seemed pretty simple. While Guarantano completed 8 of his 13 passes for 56 yards on Saturday, the offense never seemed to click under the graduate senior. Once de Laura came in, he opened more doors with his feet. The second-year star rushed the ball 7 times for 42 yards, while also completing 12 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown.

After an opening weekend loss, the pressure is on Rolovich heading into week two. He appears to be putting his eggs in Jayden de Laura’s basket, and we all hope the second year star has what it takes to get the job done moving forward.


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