WSU (7-4, 4-4 in Pac-12) put together an early lead on offense in the first half and capitalized on Arizona (4-7, 2-6) turnovers in the second half to cruise to the victory. Derrick Langford delivered the eventually dagger with a pick-six to put the game out of reach in the third quarter.
On the games opening drive, Cam Ward picked apart the Wildcat defense and finished off the picture perfect start with a four yard outlet pass to Nakia Watson for the early 7-0 lead. Jayden de Laura got his first chance to drive the Wildcats downfield, but ended up going the wrong way with Quinn Roff recording an eight yard sack, leading to an Arizona punt on their first drive. The Wildcats next drive eventually got going in the right direction. After a Donovan Ollie fumble, the Wildcats got to the brink of the red zone but couldn’t convert a fourth and two from the Cougar 24.
After another Arizona turnover on downs to open the second quarter, Ward again led the Cougars deep into Wildcat territory. On a second down from the Arizona 17, Ward kept the ball on a read option and scampered into the end zone untouched to push the Cougar lead to 14-0.
Aided by a 47 yard strike to Tetairoa McMillan to the brink of the red zone, the Wildcats threatened to push into the red zone. Once again, the Cougar defense bended, but didn’t break. The Wildcats could only muster a field goal to make it 14-3. Ward and the Cougar offense got right back to work in picking apart the Wildcat defense. WSU drove right down the field and again, Watson was able to punch in the score to make it 21-3. With under a minute and a half till halftime, Arizona put two chunk plays together to get into field goal range. They wouldn’t go much further than the 30-yard marker, settling for a 47-yard field goal before half.
Sam Lockett personally shifted the momentum half way through the third quarter, intercepting a de Laura pass over the middle and returning it into the Arizona red zone. WSU wouldn’t be able to fully capitalize this time but still tacked on three points to push the lead to 24-6. de Laura took the last drive personally. He needed to prove a point this drive to pull his team back in the game. Instead, he threw a dart right into the hands of WSU’s Langford Jr. de Laura could only just watch as Langford took it to the house for a personal pick six, making it 31-6.
The Wildcats still had a shot to crawl back into this game with a full quarter to play. Arizona was able to miraculously convert a fourth and thirteen in WSU territory to keep their drive alive. de Laura’s playmaking ability to keep Arizona alive would go for not as de Laura personally threw his third interception of the game and his second to Lockett.
de Laura tacked on two touchdowns and his fourth interception in the fourth quarter with the game well out of reach and the Cougars cruised to their seventh win of the season, 31-20.
The Cougars did exactly what they needed to in this one. Outside of the late touchdowns, WSU’s defense held firm against one of the Pac-12’s best offensive attacks and the offense did enough against a weak defense to keep the game out of arms reach.
WSU will return home for the regular season finale against the Washington Huskies next Saturday. The game time for the Apple Cup should be announced sometime on Sunday.