Arizona vs #8 Washington State Preview

The Washington State Cougars host the Arizona Wildcats in a must-win game to keep their playoff hopes alive. Washington State has struggled against California, Stanford, and let Oregon charge back in the second half. If the Cougars play like they did against Colorado, expect WSU to come out with a commanding win.ut

Both Arizona and WSU have done well in the on the offensive side of the ball. Arizona comes in averaging 30.8 points per game and WSU 37.6. But as of late, Arizona has racked up 116 points in their last 3 contests whereas WSU has only accumulated 91. Both offenses do have the prowess to run up the score. Arizona has allowed an average of 30.5 points in their last four games. This can play into WSU’s advantage and expect Leach to capitalize on any opportunities given to him.

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WSU prides itself on having one of the best defenses in the country, only allowing 22.1 points per game. With the high-octane offense Arizona is starting to flash with quarterback Khalil Tate, the Cougars will need the defensive line to make their presense known fast. The Cougar defense has done well to shut teams down in the 2nd half, and may benefit from the slow start Arizona typically has. 

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Targeting Calls And Defensive Penalties

Per Theo Lawson, The Cougars have been involved in two targeting ejections this season. WSU Rush linebacker Dominick Silvels was ejected for a hit on Cal quarterback Chase Garbers and Logan Tago at USC. While the Tago decision was later suspiciously overturned by a phone call from Woodie Dixon, the Cougars have avoided other targeting calls in Colorado that would be overturned. Pac-12 refs have made it clear that player safety is important. They have also made it clear that they will watch some Cougar defensive backs more closely than others. 

The Pac-12 has also made it clear they are trying to find ways to flag WSU’s defensive line. The Cougars are notorious for shifting their defensive line before the ball is snapped, giving the offense a new look. This has given WSU an advantage at the line, something the Pac-12 does not want. While WSU sends in the “signals” used to the refs to let them know they are not trying to make fake calls to get players to jump off the line (it is a short list teams give the refs to inform them what to expect from both teams), it appears that it still does not matter. Hopefully the refs for this game let the boys play. It’s difficult 

Prediction

We are always thinking positively with the Cougars. With them being the only chance the Pac-12 has at getting into the playoffs, if the committee stops their blunt SEC bias, the Cougars win 37 – 27.

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