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In this edition of the rewind, we examine the team’s morale after Saturday’s game in Tempe (it might not be what you think), WSU’s tendency to give up explosive plays and the recent drought the Cougars have hit when it comes to causing turnovers.
With just under eight minutes to play at Sun Devil Stadium, Oscar Draguicevich III stood at Washington State’s 39-yard line, caught the snap and put his foot through the football, watching it sail more than 50 yards through the desert air before dropping inside the 5-yard line.
Washington State football players, usually avid social media users, have been noticeably quiet on Twitter and Instagram since their 38-13 loss to Utah two weeks ago.
At times, it looked better for Washington State, and Mike Leach said as much in his postgame press conference. But, far too often in their 38-34 loss to No. 18 Arizona State Saturday afternoon at Sun Devil Stadium, the Cougars mirrored the team they were two weeks ago against Utah, and a week before that against UCLA.
It had been two weeks, two eventful weeks, since Washington State had been on the football field. The Cougars returned Saturday afternoon with another road game against a ranked opponent.
Difference makers from Arizona State’s 38-34 win over Washington State at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona
Jayden Daniels capped a 75-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown run with 34 seconds left, giving No. 18 Arizona State a 38-34 victory over Washington State on Saturday afternoon, the Cougars’ third straight loss to start Pac-12 Conference play.
I’m on a need-to-see-it-before-I-believe-it basis with WSU’s defense and even if Anthony Gordon and the offense can shake off the cobwebs, it’s hard to see them scoring more than 35-40 points against an ASU team that’s giving up only 14.4 per game and has allowed just 38 in its four victories.
WSU football: Dallas Hobbs after the Arizona State game (Oct. 12, 2019)
WSU football: Abe Lucas, Easop Winston Jr. and Anthony Gordon after the Arizona State game (Oct. 12, 2019)
No. 18 Arizona State holds on to defeat Washington State 38-34 on Saturday in the desert. For the third time in his freshman campaign, Daniels led the Sun Devils to a game-winning drive which included his 17-yard rushing TD late in the fourth to seal Arizona State's 38-34 victory over the Cougars. Daniels threw for 363 yards and three touchdowns on 26-36 attempts. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk had a career receiving day as he finished with seven receptions for 196 yards and three touchdowns; Eno Benjamin added to the barrage of big plays from the Sun Devils' playmaking trio with 19 carries for 137 yards and one touchdown. – Pac-12 Networks
WSU football: Mike Leach after the Arizona State game (Oct. 12, 2019)
Before Roc Bellantoni’s group interview in Pullman on Wednesday – not his first, but his first as Washington State’s interim defensive coordinator – the man who’ll be making the tough decisions for the defense going forward briefly pivoted away from football.
The keys to a potential victory for Washington State against Arizona State Saturday at Sun Devils Stadium.
As players and coaches iron out the kinks – a process they hope is at least partially complete by the time Arizona State’s offense takes the field in Tempe this Saturday (12:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) – we identify how they materialized and what’s next for WSU’s beleaguered secondary.
Pac-12 Networks’ Mike Yam and Yogi Roth preview a Week 7 battle between Washington State and Arizona State in Tempe. The Cougars and Sun Devils will meet for the first time since 2016 and are both coming off a bye week. Two weeks ago, WSU fell to Utah while ASU defeated Cal on the road. Catch the game at 12:30 p.m. PT/ 1:30 p.m. MT on Pac-12 Networks. – Pac-12 Networks
Before Leach and his assistant coaches showed up to an all-team meeting following the Utah loss, a few players used the down time to address their larger group of peers – an audience that included every offensive player, defensive player and specialist. The messages themselves were impactful, but maybe not as much as the mouths they came from.
Mike Leach hinted Monday afternoon that Washington State would look into personnel changes for its much-maligned defense in the wake of Tracy Claeys’ unexpected resignation as defensive coordinator.
Mike Leach didn’t want a change at DC, necessarily, but he expressed the need to see something different, claiming the Cougars will simplify their scheme under interim defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni, and his co-interim DC, Darcel McBath.
Washington State (3-2, 0-2) looks to break out of a two-game funk in Pac-12 play when it travels to face No. 18 Arizona State (4-1, 1-1).