What WSU must do most in order to make it to 5-2 against Arizona

WASHINGTON STATE has itself on track for a bowl game, and they're suddenly a darkhorse contender for the Pac-12 North title. Now they travel to Tucson and to see if after the final gun, crimson expectations will become truly ridiculous or float back down to earth.

WHEN WSU HAS THE BALL

1. Strike early and often.
WSU fell into a 24-0 hole in the first quarter against Arizona last year --  so the fact they outplayed them the rest of the way did not matter.  WSU cannot afford to fall behind early in a race with the conference's top scoring offense.

 

2. Avoid punting. 

WSU need to be the aggressor in this match.  Arizona's pass defense ranks No. 80 nationally so any reasonable fourth down scenario can be pursued. Just what Mike Leach needed – even more of a reason to go for it on fourth down!

 

WHEN WSU IS ON DEFENSE

3. Make Solomon run and Russell pass. 
Arizona has a two-headed QB monster that can be effective, or falter.  Russell has very weak passing metrics, while Solomon has been hesitant to take hits given his concussion history.  WSU would do well to force both out of their comfort zone.

 

4. Stuff the run.

Arizona averages almost 300 rushing yards per game.  In reality this offense is similar to what the Cougs have faced the last two weeks, but with more of a passing threat.  Stopping the run comes first though.

5. No more allowing TDs on special teams. 

Arizona had a kickoff and a punt return for touchdown against WSU last year.  There is simply no room for that kind of catastrophe in this matchup, not if the Cougs want to be 5-2 and headed for a Pac-12 North showdown for supremacy against Stanford the following week.


Kickoff: 1 p.m.; Pac-12 Networks

Matt Moore’s prediction: 43-40 Cougs


Check back with CF.C after the game for  our wall-to-wall coverage and during the game for lively message board conversation.


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