The magic of WSU running back Jamal Morrow

HERE'S THE SUREST prop bet going into the Washington State-UCLA game tonight: third-year sophomore running back Jamal Morrow being the Cougars' team captain.

The Pride of Menifee, Calif., has been the Cougars' captain for five straight weeks. In that span, the Cougars have defeated Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona and Arizona State and come within a whisker of league standard-bearer Stanford.

In three of the victories, Morrow won the coin toss and, of course, elected to put the Air Raid on the field first. In the fourth game, last week against ASU, he lost the toss but the Devils chose to defend so Morrow effectively won that one, too. His only true midfield miss was against Stanford.

Of note is that of those three coin-flip he won outright, all were on the road.

That string, coupled with the fact the Cougars are on the road tonight, points naturally to Morrow getting the captain's call once again.

"Every time we have been on the road, he wins the coin flip. Leach says he likes lucky people," one WSU assistant coach told CF.C with a laugh when asked about Morrow's seemingly permanent hold on the captaincy.

Prior to Morrow, the Cougars' captains this year were Joe Dahl (Portand State), Jeremiah Allison (Rutgers), Parker Henry (Wyoming) and Peyton Pelluer (Cal).

Morrow's magic may extend to WSU's rushing attack as well. In the five games he's been captain, the Cougar offensive has averaged 93.4 ground yards per game -- an unprecedented level of output since Mike Leach brought the Air Raid to Pullman.

WSU's three backs -- Morrow, Gerard Wicks and Keith Harrington -- have combined to average 6.0 yards-per-carry this season. That's the highest by a Cougar backfield since All-American Jerome Harrison and DeMaundray Woolridge combined to average 8.5 per-carry in 2005.

The Big Three -- dubbed Earth, Wind and Fire by WSU running backs coach Jim Mastro -- also have been key to the passing game this season. They collectively have caught 83 passes for 583 yards and 6 TDs.

Morrow set a career-high with 68 rushing yards on eight carries in the win at Oregon, scored his first career touchdown in the win over Oregon State and racked up 84 all-purpose yards in the win at Arizona.

NOTABLE:

  • The Cougars (6-3/4-2) and Bruins (7-2/4-2) battle tonight at 7:45. The game will be televised on ESPN. At last look, oddsmakers had the Bruins as 10 1/2-point favorites.

  • WSU is looking for its first win over an AP-ranked team since defeating No. 25 USC in L.A. in 2013. The Bruins are No. 18.

  • WSU has 35 players who are from southern California.

  • Cougar junior wideout Gabe Marks is just four catches away from overtaking Michael Bumpus as the most prolific receiver in Cougar history. Marks has 192 career grabs to Bumpus' 195. Marks leads the Pac-12 this season in receptions (69), TDs (11) and catches per game (7.7) and is second in receiving yards (865).

    FILLING MARTIN FOR COUGS VS. BUFFS ON NOV. 21:
    As of Friday, 7,000 tickets remained unsold for the 7:45 p.m. WSU-Colorado game in Pullman on Nov. 21. That contest is challenging from an attendance standpoint because the student body will be out on Thanksgiving break. To combat that hurdle, WSU is offering not one but two deals to try and reach a sellout for the home finale.

    First, there's four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas and a parking pass for $70. In addition, WSU is giving free guest passes to students whose parents are coming to pick them up for the holiday break. "If mom and dad want to come see the Cougs play in the final game this season in Pullman, the student can claim a free guest ticket(s) on Monday at the ticket office," director of ticket operations Paul Finn tells CF.C. "This way, everyone can stay for the game on Saturday, and Cougar football is a great way to bond!"

    To order tickets or for more information, call 1-800-GO-COUGS (1-800-462-6847) or head to wsucougars.com.


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