Arizona Football faces tough battle with No. 19 Wazzu

Sep 23, 2023; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Cameron Ward (1) jumps on Washington State Cougars wide receiver Josh Kelly (3) after scoring a touchdown against the Oregon State Beavers in the first half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 23, 2023; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Cameron Ward (1) jumps on Washington State Cougars wide receiver Josh Kelly (3) after scoring a touchdown against the Oregon State Beavers in the first half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports /

Falling to then No. 9 USC in 3OT,  Arizona Football (3-3, 1-2) returns to action for another Top 25 showdown against No. 19 Washington State (4-1, 1-1).

Coming off a heartbreaking, three overtime loss to highly-touted USC, the road doesn’t get any easier for Arizona Football as the Wildcats resume Pac-12 against No. 19 Washington State.

Traveling to Pullman for a marquee matchup against the Cougars, the Wildcats should have yet another difficult challenge on their hands as they take on a talented and skilled Wazzu team.

And coming in, the Cougars are fresh off of a hard-fought loss to UCLA in Pasadena where they fell short to the Bruins in a 25-17 final, meanwhile, the Wildcats fought but came up short against No. 9 USC.

Entering this one as single-digit underdogs this week, Arizona will have another big matchup in front of them, and they will need to play another flawless game if they are to come away with the upset. We will see if the Wildcats have it in them to score the upset.

Getting to Know the details about Arizona Football’s upcoming opponent, the Washington State Cougars.

Team: Washington State Cougars

Conference: Pac-12 Conference

Current Record: 4–1 (1–1)

Head Coach: Jacob Dickert enters his second full season as head coach of the Cougars where he is currently 14–10 (8–7) with two straight Bowl Game appearances under his belt.

Before becoming head coach, Jacob took over head coaching duties in 2021 from then-head coach Nick Rolovich, and from there he has not looked back, building Wazzu into a very competitive program.

2022 Record: Finishing the 2022 season with a 7–6 (4–5) record, the Cougars finished its season by losing its last two games, a 55-31 drubbing at the hands of Washington and a 29-6 loss to Fresno State in the LA Bowl.

Key Returners / Starters:


Fresh off of a solid year in 2022, the Cougars return Heisman hopeful Cam Ward at quarterback, where the former Incarnate Wood transfer is off to another hot start in 2023 with 1,586 yards passing with 14 touchdowns to just two interceptions while completing 124-180 passes.

And running a bit of an Air Raid offense the Cougars have a deadly offense as they are currently averaging 40.0 points and 469.0 yards of offense per game average.

Spreading the field, Ward likes to get the ball in the hands of his multiple offensive weapons which include Kyle Williams, Josh Kelly, and Lincoln Victory most notably.

Together, they account for a majority of their offensive production and are going to test the Wildcats’ secondary immensely.

And lining up behind Williams are Nakia Watson, Dylan Paine, and Jaylen Jenkins most notably. While Wazzu doesn’t hide the fact they are a pass-heavy offense, this trio is still a formidable group that can make plays if Arizona isn’t careful.

Overall, Arizona is going to have yet another significant challenge on defense, and we will see if the Wildcats are up to the task.


On Defense, Washington State’s Jeff Schmedding has led this group in his first season with the Cougars. Running a 4-2-5 base defense, this is a defense that is intended to slow teams down that love to spread the field.

Putting seven to eight guys in the box easily adjusts to all offensive formations, and it allows them to use and disguise multiple coverages.

And this year, the Cougars’ defense is surrendering an average of 400.0 yards and 25.4 points per game.

Largely led by its playmakers, the Cougars get significant contributions from a lot of its returners that include Jaden Hicks, Kyle Thornton, Sam Lockett III, Devin Richardson, Chau Smith-Wade, and Ron Stone, Jr. among several others.

Up front, Wazzu has some nice size and talent, and this is a group that is holding opponents to 141.6 yards rushing per game.

Defensive linemen Brennan Jackson, Nusi Malani, and linebacker/defensive lineman, Stone Jr. are a big reason for that, and they will challenge Arizona’s offensive line.

However, the secondary is where Arizona may find some success. Overall, this is a group that is surrendering 258.4 yards passing per game.

However, some of that is a bit misleading as once Wazzu jumps out in front, teams have to start passing the ball and racking up some yards.

That is when defensive backs Lockett III, Kapena Gushiken, and Smith-Wade can make more plays.

Overall, this is an aggressive and physical group that does a great job of forcing turnovers, and whoever is at quarterback will have to make smart choices with the football if the Cats hope to find success and rhythm on offense.

Game information and details for Arizona Football:

When: Saturday, October 14th, 2023

Time: 4:00 PM MST

Watch: Pac-12 Network

Spread: +7.5 Arizona (Don’t forget to sign up with Caesars Sportsbook or DraftKings to enhance your overall betting experience)

Where: Gesa Field at Martin Stadium – Pullman, WA (32,952)

Overall Series Record: 27-19 Arizona. Having met several times in their collective history, this is a series that has had the advantage in; however, it is worth noting that WSU has had the upper hand of late, winning the last three straight, including six of the last eight matchups.

Last Meeting vs. Arizona: Last year in Tucson, the Wildcats battled but came up short against the Cougars as Wazzu came away with the 31-20 win over Arizona. Former WSU quarterback Jayden de Laura threw for four picks against his old team.

My Prediction: Washington State 34 Arizona 27 – This one is going to be a battle, but winning on the road is never easy, especially against a Top 25 opponent that has had your number of late. Arizona plays well and competes; however, it is not enough as the Wildcats fall in a close one.

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