Will Cougars end their defensive woes vs. Arizona?

Nov 14, 2013, 5:20 PM | Updated: Nov 15, 2013, 10:23 am

By Jim Moore

A weird stretch to Washington State’s schedule ends on Saturday when the Cougars finally play a football game again.

I can’t recall a time when Washington State played only one game in almost a month. Mike Leach’s team faced Oregon on Oct. 19, Arizona State on Halloween, and now this game against Arizona on Nov. 16.

asu wsu

Washington State allowed an average of 56 points per game in losses to Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona State. (AP)

After the loss to the Sun Devils, as much as they’re my favorite team, I was glad to take a break from Cougar football.

As you know, we were awful that night. No amount of stealing candy from my kids’ trick-of-treat bags made that one tolerable. The Sun Devils beat us 55-21, and let’s be honest, they could have scored 80 points if they’d wanted to.

What the heck has happened to our defense? I didn’t think it was as good as the nationally-ranked defense that stifled USC, Southern Utah and Idaho, but I didn’t think it was as bad as the one that has allowed 169 points the last three games. That’s an average of 56 points a game against Oregon State, Oregon and Arizona State.

I guess, technically, we’ve still got a shot at making it to a bowl game, but who in his right mind thinks that will happen after what we’ve seen in the last month.

We have to win two of our last three against Arizona, Utah and Washington. We’re 12.5-point underdogs against the Wildcats. I’m guessing that Utah will be a slight favorite over the Cougs in our last home game Nov. 23. The Dawgs will probably be 17-point favorites in the Apple Cup.

The defense might be able to slow down the Utes, but the Wildcats and Huskies? Not so much.

Which means quarterback Connor Halliday will have to be lights out for us to have a shot in the other two games, starting Saturday in Tucson.

Quarterback B.J. Denker has been more of a throwing threat of late for Arizona, but the Wildcats will still rely on running back Ka’Deem Carey, the second-best rusher in the country, averaging 152 yards a game.

After watching us in the last three games, I’m more cynical than optimistic but hoping that it’s just a reflection of the opponents we’ve been playing than regression on our part. Then again, it’s not like the Beavers are any great shakes, and they still blew us out in the fourth quarter.

Wish I felt differently, but I can’t see us beating Arizona. What makes anyone think that Halliday will magically transform himself and have a no-interception day? What makes anyone think the Cougs will stop Carey?

If the game were at Martin Stadium, we’d have a chance to win. But it’s not so we don’t.

Pessimism reigns until the Cougs show glimmers of hope that we haven’t seen for 60 minutes since the Cal game.

Prediction: Arizona 41, Washington State 23.
Season record against the spread: 5-4.

Wyman & Bob

WSU

WSU Utah...
The Associated Press

Worster scores 19, Utah outlasts WSU 67-65 in overtime

Rollie Worster scored 19 points, including the go-ahead free throws in overtime, and Utah defeated the WSU Cougars 67-65 in overtime.
1 day ago
UW Huskies Kalen DeBoer...
Brent Stecker

Bowl Games: UW Huskies vs Sark, Texas in Alamo Bowl; WSU to LA Bowl

The UW Huskies will get an intriguing matchup against their former coach in the Alamo Bowl, while WSU is headed to the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl.
1 day ago
WSU...
The Associated Press

Dante leads Oregon Ducks past WSU Cougars in 2nd half 74-60

N'Faly Dante scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half when Oregon used a 13-2 run to jump start a 74-60 win over WSU in a Pac-12 opener.
4 days ago
Apple Cup Michael Penix Jr....
The Associated Press

No. 12 UW Huskies outlast WSU Cougars 51-33 in Apple Cup

Michael Penix Jr. threw for 484 yards and had five total touchdowns and the No. 12 UW Huskies reclaimed the Apple Cup with a wild 51-33 victory over WSU.
9 days ago
WSU TJ Bamba...
The Associated Press

WSU makes program record 19 3s, beats Detroit Mercy 96-54

Jabe Mullins scored 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting and WSU hit a program record-tying 19 3-pointers to beat Detroit Mercy 96-54.
10 days ago
Apple Cup 2021...
SeattleSports.com Staff

Podcast: Apple Cup preview with CFB analysts Michael Bumpus, Brock Huard

Listen to Brock Huard of FOX Sports and Michael Bumpus of Pac-12 Network break down Saturday's big Apple Cup between the WSU Cougars and No. 12 UW Huskies.
10 days ago
Will Cougars end their defensive woes vs. Arizona?