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Game day predictions from CF.C beat writer as Cougs go for third straight win

THE ARIZONA OFFENSE, Cougar DC Alex Grinch says, is a run-pass conflict. And they have been the toughest to defense for Washington State in 2015. But WSU has won four of the last six in Tucson. Here's what I predict what will happen Saturday (1 p.m.; Pac-12 Networks).

Bold Predictions

1)  Wildcats quarterback Anu Solomon is doing a great job protecting the football this season. He’s had three fumbles, losing but one, and he’s thrown 182 passes without an interception against 13 TDs. Washington State is playing with a lot of confidence when it comes to takeaways, though, and either Shalom Luani or Marcellus Pippins will make a pick in this game.

 

2) With the run being Arizona’s first priority, the Wildcats will look to take advantage of a Cougar D that hasn’t been good against rushing attacks. UA’s leading rusher Nick Wilson is officially questionable but Jared Baker ran all over the Buffaloes last week (207 yards, two TDs). Washington State’s success at Arizona is predicated on stopping the run game and after watching practice this week, I see Washington State doing a little better than average and holding Arizona under 250 rushing yards. Arizona is averaging 297 yards per game and 282.5 yards in Pac-12 play.

 

3) Anu Solomon is getting sacked more this season than lats - he has 133 yards rushing but 52 yards for loss for a net of 81 hashes -- not exactly what was forecast through six games. WSU worked hard this week on keeping contain off a scramble while still maintaining solid coverage downfield. Based on what I saw in practice, I see WSU doing a decent job of keeping Solomon in the pocket and restricting him to less than four  yards per attempt.

 

One more. After predicting a WSU special teams TD pretty much every week only to see it fail to materilize, I won't do it again.  But I will make a special teams prediction. This week in practice, assistant Eric Mele prepared pushed the special teams units hard all week. The lanes were being filled smartly, the blocks were being executed and the specialists did well. So my predicition is this: WSU's special teams will not be a negative against Arizona.

 

Game Prediction

Cougs get it done in Tucson again and spoil UA’s 101st Homecoming. WSU wins 31-28.


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