Washington State Takeout: Cougars Need Chaos, But Still Alive In The Pac-12 North Race

PULLMAN – Thanks to Saturday’s results, Washington State is still in contention for a Pac-12 North title.

It’s another weird turning point in an already crazy season for the Cougars – they only need two results to keep going next weekend, and they’ll play for a conference championship in Las Vegas.

Chaos?

No – just Pac-12 football in 2021.

First, the WSU (6-5, 5-3 Pac-12) must defeat Apple Cup rival Washington for the first time since 2012.

The Cougars and Huskies kick off at 5 p.m. Friday in Seattle.

If WSU wins, it will be for Oregon State (7-4, 5-3), which will face Oregon (9-2, 6-2) at Eugene on Saturday.

If the Cougs and Beavs both win, three Pac-12 North teams will hold identical conference records.

The tiebreaker – a record within the division.

If everything falls into place, the Cougars would be on top of the North at 4-1 and therefore win an offer for the Pac-12 title game.

The two conference division champions will meet for the crown – and a seat at the Rose Bowl – at 5 p.m. on December 3 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Utah crushed third-place UO 38-7 and OSU managed Arizona State 24-10 on Saturday to bring the WSU’s Pac-12 aspirations to life. The Ducks started as a 13-point favorites over the Beavers.

The Cougars appeared to be out of contention for the North title with a 38-24 loss to the Ducks two weeks ago, but WSU remained mathematically in contention after beating Arizona 44-18 on Friday.

“There is still a lot to play,” said interim coach Jake Dickert after the senior night’s eruption in a foggy Gesa Field.

The Cougs started out as a three-point underdog against UW (4-7, 3-5), according to Sports Illustrated, but that number fluctuated throughout Sunday. Later that night, WSU was a two-point favorite.

The Huskies have won seven straight series wins, all in double digits.

But it’s been a sluggish year on the west side.

UW will miss a bowl game for the first full season since 2009. The Huskies have just suffered a demoralizing loss to Colorado. They also play under the guidance of an interim coach in Bob Gregory, a Spokane native and former Cougar linebacker (1984-86) who took the helm when Jimmy Lake was fired last Sunday.

“I’m thinking about it right now,” WSU sixth-year linebacker Jahad Woods said after the AU game when asked about the Apple Cup. “I think about it right away. I want to win this game so badly, not only for the teammates I have now and the coaches I have now, but for my teammates who haven’t won it in the last five years that I have played in the Coupe de Apple. This is something very important to me and I will not take this week lightly.

Many players on this top-class men-laden WSU squad are familiar with the loss of the Evergreen State rivalry clash, but this will be the first taste of the Apple Cup for this. second year staff. Last season’s edition of the game was canceled due to COVID-19 issues in the Cougars’ schedule.

“We’re going to have to earn it, and we’ll earn it through our preparation, we’ll earn it through our work and earn it throughout the week by respecting our process,” said Dickert. “It’s the biggest game of the year because it’s the only one we’re playing next week – that will be our approach. We know we are going to enter a great environment, but we will be ready to compete and go all out next week.

Dickert, who was promoted to interim boss after coach Nick Rolovich was fired on October 18 for failing to comply with a state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, has his team play an inspired ball all the way through. along the home stretch. Yet he constantly redirected the credit to the players.

“They never gave up on their own,” he said. “After everything that happened with the change of coach, the captains got together and said, ‘We’re going to change the momentum. We will move forward and we will continue to exert pressure.

“I told them, ‘Do it for you guys, do it for the bond you formed in the locker room and do it for what you have accomplished here. “

The WSU senior class has helped establish a qualifying program standard for bowls. This will be the third appearance in a bowl for many WSU players and the fourth for some of those Cougs, who landed their playoff ticket with a dominant outing led by veterans like Max Borghi, Travell Harris and Calvin Jackson. Jr.

The three combined for 367 yards and six touchdowns against Arizona.

“These guys want to keep playing together,” Dickert said. “They just want it to continue, and this celebration in the locker room has shown that.”

Borghi moves up the rankings

In addition to his career-high 139 yards and 8.7 yards per carry in his Pullman final, Borghi scored two goals against the Wildcats to overtake former wide receiver Gabe Marks on the all-time scoring list. of the WSU.

Borghi has 39 career touchdowns, just behind running back Steve Broussard, who accumulated 41 between 1986-89.

“Max has been stable throughout his career,” Dickert said. “He’s just one of those guys. It was great to see him in a certain space (Friday). The O line did a great job, got it into a certain space a few times, we hit a few prints and screens.

“Our fans will remember Max and obviously he will one day be a hall of fame here. Just exciting to put a little imprint on his career and what he has done for our program.

Offensive coordinator Brian Smith sought to “get (UA) closer to the line of scrimmage” with an effective rushed attack, Dickert noted, so the Cougs could then find openings in the passing game.

“It was good to get the ball rolling a bit,” Borghi said with a smile. “It worked and we obviously used it.”

Borghi and Deon McIntosh totaled 212 yards on 26 attempts.

When the Wildcat defensive backs crept in to play the run, Laura’s WSU quarterback Jayden looked to Jackson or Harris, who were often left as sole cover. The slot duo recorded catches of 78, 43, 32 and 31 yards.

“It was our last game (at Pullman) and we just wanted to come out in style,” said Harris, who leads the Pac-12 this season with nine TDs. “That’s what we did.”

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