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Washington State visits Arizona State (GAME THREAD)

Gotta win this one.

Jack Ellis/CougCenter

It’s been more than a month since our Washington State Cougars got to sing the fight song after a game. That was back on Sept. 23 as the fans stormed the field at Martin Stadium after the Cougs knocked off Oregon State.

Since then? It’s been a slog, as WSU has lost three straight and hasn’t resembled the Cougs that beat then-no. 19 Wisconsin and then-no. 14 (and now no. 11) Oregon State. Lucky for the Cougs, today’s opponent—the Arizona State Sun Devils—are 1-6, with the one win coming over FCS Southern Utah.

However, the Sun Devils seem to be on the brink of breaking through, as their last three losses have been by just a combined 14 points (losses of three points to both Cal and Colorado, and eight to UW).

And if you watched ASU’s near upset of Washington last week, you may be a tad worried (I am!).

WSU is an Air Raid team, but defenses are figuring that out, and coupled with WSU’s almost non-existent running game, the Cougs are one dimensional. Defenses haven’t had to worry about WSU’s run game, and if they pressure Cam Ward, we’ve seen what could happen. And the bad news is WSU is down its nos. 2 and 3 running backs—Jaylen Jenkins was kicked off the team, and Dylan Paine is out with an injury.

So behind Nakia Watson today are redshirt freshman Djouvensky Schlenbaker and true freshman Leo Pulalasi. Good luck, gents!

The good news for WSU is that ASU has a putrid offense. A 28-point effort in a loss to USC back on Sept. 23 is the Sun Devils best offensive output. ASU has trouble scoring, ranking no. 127 in the nation, per Their running game is no. 123 in the nation, and their passing game ranks a respectable 47th.

It’s a different story on the other side of the ball for Arizona State. They rank no. 34 in total defense, one spot ahead of Arizona, and we all know how WSU fared against that defense. But their passing defense is no. 68 in the country, and WSU needs to take advantage.

Once upon a time Tempe was a place of horrors for the Cougs. Wins in 2017 and 2021 softened that a bit. Will it be a horror show this evening?

Tune in at 5 p.m. PT on the Pac-12 Network, and yell about it here.

Go Cougs.