WSU Cougars look to stop losing spiral hosting improving Stanford

Nov 2, 2023, 2:44 PM | Updated: 2:49 pm

WSU Cougars Cameron Ward...

Quarterback Cameron Ward of the WSU Cougars during an Oct. 21, 2023 game against Oregon. (Lydia Ely/Getty Images)

(Lydia Ely/Getty Images)


Kickoff: 6 p.m. Saturday
Radio Coverage: 4 p.m. on 710 AM and Seattle Sports app
Series record: Stanford leads 40-31-1.

What’s at stake?

A once promising season on the Palouse has spiraled into four straight losses for the WSU Cougars. Three of the four losses have come on the road, so the Cougars are hoping a return to Pullman can help put a stop to the losing streak. Last week, the Cougars were unable to slow down Arizona State giving up 502 yards of offense and 235 yards rushing. That led to head coach Jake Dickert being more involved in the defensive game planning for this week. Stanford was on the cusp of upsetting No. 5 Washington last week before falling 42-33 to the Huskies at home. Stanford quarterback Ashton Daniels threw for 367 yards and one TD, and rushed for 81 yards and two more scores but the Cardinal couldn’t convert a late fourth-down attempt that led to a clinching score for Washington.

Key matchup

Will the WSU defense be able to slow down Daniels and the Cardinal offense? It’s been a rough few weeks for the Cougars on the defensive side, getting blown out by Arizona, playing well but still getting overrun by No. 6 Oregon and then last week being unable to slow down Arizona State. The Cougars have allowed 500 yards of offense in three straight games. Stanford had 495 yards last week against Washington, two weeks after rolling up 523 yards in its comeback win over Colorado. Daniels is continuing to improve but must avoid costly turnovers.

Players to watch

Stanford Cardinal: WR Elic Ayomanor. In the past three weeks, no player in the country has more yards receiving than Ayomanor. After his school-record 294 yards against Colorado, Ayomanor had eight receptions for 90 yards against UCLA and had another big game against Washington with nine receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown.

WSU Cougars: QB Cam Ward. So much of what Washington State does offensively revolves around Ward and for the most part he played well against Arizona State. Ward was 35 of 50 for 315 yards and three total touchdowns – one passing and two rushing – against the Sun Devils. He’ll need another day like that against Stanford, but could really use some help from his run game. The Cougars had 88 yards rushing against Arizona State, but 35 of that came from Ward.

Facts & figures

Likely the last meeting for now of a series that dates back to 1936 with Stanford headed to the ACC next season. … The WSU Cougars has won six straight in the series. Last Stanford win was 2015 in Pullman, a 30-28 victory. … Daniels’ 448 total yards of offense in the loss to Washington was the second-most in school history trailing only 491 yards by Davis Mills in 2019 vs. Washington State. … Despite missing most of two games with an ankle injury, Washington State WR Lincoln Victor is third in the Pac-12 with 53 receptions.

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