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Cougars Host No. 11 Oregon Saturday On FOX

Nov 10, 2020

Game Notes - Oregon | Nick Rolovich Postpractice

No. 11 OREGON (1-0) at WASHINGTON STATE (1-0)
4:10 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020  • FOX
Martin Stadium (32,952)  •  Pullman, Wash.

Washington State hosts No. 11 Oregon Saturday afternoon at Martin Stadium for the Cougars' 2020 home-opener. Kickoff is set for 4:10 p.m. on FOX.

Washington State is celebrating its 125th football season in 2020. WSU's first season came in 1894 and did not play the 1933 and 1934 seasons due to World War II. The Cougars own a 557-560-45 all-time record including an 8-8 bowl mark.

The Cougars are 42-48-7 all-time against Oregon and saw their four-game winning streak in the series snapped last season after a game-winning field goal as time expired gave the Ducks a 37-35 win in Eugene. Oregon leads the series 24-22-2 when played in Pullman but WSU has claimed the last two meetings including a 34-20 victory with ESPN GameDay and FOX in town in 2018. Washington State dropped all three of its meetings against ranked opponents last season including No. 11 Oregon, and last beat a ranked team at the 2018 Alamo Bowl, No. 25 Iowa State. WSU's last win over a ranked team in Martin Stadium came in 2018 against No. 12 Oregon.

Nick Rolovich was named the 33rd head football coach in Washington State history, Director of Athletics Pat Chun announced Jan. 14. Rolovich, 40, spent a total of eight seasons at the University of Hawai'i, the last four as head coach. He also served as Nevada's offensive coordinator for four seasons and spent two years coaching quarterbacks at City College of San Francisco. Rolovich completed his fourth season at Hawai'i with a 28-27 record and three bowl games in his time. Last season he guided UH to its first 10-win season since 2010 as the Rainbow Warriors went 10-5, capped by a 38-34 win over BYU in the Hawaii Bowl. 

• 1st WSU head coach to win his debut since Bill Doba in 2003 (25-0 against Idaho in Seattle)
• 1st WSU head coach to win his debut on the road since Warren Powers in 1977 (19-10 at No. 15 Nebraska)
• 2019 Mountain West Coach of the Year, won 5 of final 6 games while reaching the Mountain West Championship game
• Opened 2019 with back-to-back wins over Pac-12 foes Arizona and Oregon State
• Led Hawaii to first back-to-back winning seasons (2018-19) since 2006-07
• Produced 31 All-Mountain West Conference honors and 59 All-Academic honors
• In 2019, UH offense ranked fifth nationally with 338.0 ypg and No. 13 nationally in total offense at 471.0 ypg
• In 2018, UH had 5,800 yards of offense, 43 TD passes, 30.8 ppg and No. 9 nationally with 310.3 passing/g
• In 2016, took over the program as the fifth-youngest head coach in NCAA Division I FBS at the age of 37 
• Produced a 1,000-yard RB and 1,000-yard WR in 2016, hasn't been done at WSU since 2005 (Jerome Harrison and Jason Hill)

• WSU last played a seven-game schedule in 1926, when it went 6-1
• The season-opener vs. Oregon State marked the latest regular season start since Nov. 28, 1918 against Gonzaga, a 20-6 win
• WSU opened the season with a road conference game for the first time since 1991 (40-14 loss at Oregon)
• WSU won a season-opener against a conference opponent on the road for the first time since 1964 (29-23 at Stanford)
• Prior to this season, the final contest marks the latest regular season game since 2002 (Dec. 7 at UCLA)
• The Dec. 4 contest at USC marks the first regular season game in December since the 2010 Apple Cup (Dec. 4 in Pullman)

• WSU recorded its 7th-straight win over OSU, the longest winning streak against OSU since winning 10 straight (1983-93)
• WSU blocked a punt at Oregon State last Saturday, it was WSU's first punt block since its last trip to Corvallis in 2018
• WSU made its school-record 5th straight bowl appearance last season, played Air Force in the Cheez-It Bowl
• WSU's 2020 roster features players from 18 states, British Columbia and American Samoa
• Since 2015, WSU owns 44 wins, tied for 3rd-most among Pac-12 schools (UW - 47, Utah - 46, Stan - 44)
• Since 2015, WSU owns 30 Pac-12 wins, tied for 2nd-most among Pac-12 schools (USC - 33, Stan - 30, UW - 30)
• WSU is the only Pac-12 team with four shutouts since 2013 (last 7+ seasons) (Utah - 3, Stan and UW - 2)
• WSU produced an All-America offensive lineman in 4 straight seasons (2015-18)

INDIVIDUAL (Player Notes Pages 10-17)
• QB Jayden de Laura was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, 227 pass yards, 2 pass TD, 43 rush yards and 1 rush TD
• RB Max Borghi is the only player in the country named to watch lists for the Doak Walker (RB) AND Biletnikoff Award (WR)
• Borghi led all RB nationally with 86 receptions and rushed for a 100 yards four times in 2019
• Borghi was only Power-5 player with 800+ rush yards, 550+ rec yards and 16 total TD in 2019
• K Blake Mazza was a 2019 Lou Groza Award Finalist (3), went 20-for-21 in FG attempts, All-Pac-12 First Team
• LB Jahad Woods was 4th in the country with 141 tackles, tied for 4th in WSU history, set Cheez-It Bowl record with 20 tackles

Washington State went 7-0 at home in 2017, 6-1 in 2018 and 5-1 last season to push it's Martin Stadium record to 18-2 over the past three seasons.  

Dating back to the middle of the 2003 season, ESPN's College GameDay has had the WSU flag appear throughout the show. The streak reached 251 after appearing virtually last week. The first appearance came in Austin, Texas (10/4/03) and the streak began two weeks later in Madison, Wisc. (10/18/03). Two flags – Ol' Crimson and Gray – have been flown in the background of the GameDay set by dozens of friends and alumni. The Gray flag was added in 2014 after Whitey was retired in honor of Steve Gleason's "No White Flags." Appearance No. 217 was its first in Pullman (10/20/18), a 34-20 win over Oregon. 

Cougar Defensive coordinator Jake Dickert owns 13 years of collegiate coaching experience and worked the last three seasons at the University of Wyoming including the 2019 campaign as the defensive coordinator while working with the linebackers and safeties. Last season, the Cowboys were sixth in the country in red zone defense, No. 11 in the country in rush defense (107.1) and scoring defense (17.8), No. 40 in tackles-for-loss (83) and No. 43 in total defense. Dickert saw four Cowboys earn All-Mountain West Conference honors led by second-team All-American linebacker and Butkus Award Finalist Logan Wilson, who was later selected in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. Dickert also saw redshirt-freshman defensive end Solomon Byrd earn Freshman All-American accolades. Dickert originally joined the Wyoming football staff in 2017 and coached the safeties for the 2017-18 seasons before he was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2019 where he started the season coaching the linebackers and later coached the safeties. In his three seasons at Wyoming, Dickert coached a pair of future NFL safeties including three-time first-team All-Mountain West pick Andrew Wingard, now with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and saw four players earn All-MWC honors in 2019 while another earned 2019 Freshman All-America accolades on the defensive line.

Rolo and community
Washington State football was not able to hold spring practice but head coach Nick Rolovich was still able to connect with Cougar fans.
• Throughout the spring, Rolovich would order a number of meals at a local Pullman restaurant, tweet out a "password" and the first 20 people to show up at the restaurant and use the password, would receive the meal
• Rolovich also provided dinner to the staff at Pullman Regional Hospital who were working a late night shift

Rolo vs THE Pac-12
Saturday's season-opener at Oregon State wasn't the first meeting for Cougar head coach Nick Rolovich against OSU or a Pac-12 Conference opponent. With the win, Rolovich owns a 3-4 mark against the Pac-12 including a pair of wins last season.
• Rolovich has won 3 of his last 4 meetings vs. Pac-12 teams 
• 2016, L, 51-31 vs. California (Sydney, Australia)
• 2016, L, 47-28 at Arizona (Tucson)
• 2017, L, 56-23 at UCLA (Pasadena)
• 2019, W, 45-38 vs. Arizona (Honolulu)
• 2019, W, 31-28 vs. Oregon State (Honolulu)
• 2019, L, 52-20 at Washington (Seattle)
• 2020, W, 38-28, at Oregon State

True freshman quarterback Jayden de Laura was named the Pac-12 Conference Freshman of the Week, the conference office announced Monday. de Laura, the first true freshman to open the season at quarterback in program history, threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns, and also rushed for 43 yards and a score in the road victory over Oregon State. The Honolulu native was the first true freshman to start any game under center since 2009. de Laura's first career touchdown pass came late in the first quarter, a 29-yard score to Travell Harris and he later scored on the ground early in the second half before connecting with Harris from 28-yards out midway through the third quarter. de Laura is the first Cougar freshman to earn a Pac-12 weekly award since Harris earned Special Teams Player of the Week honors in 2018.

• Jayden de Laura is the first true freshman QB to start a season-opener in program history
• The last true freshman to start at Cougar QB was Jeff Tuel at Oregon in 2009
• ProFootballFocus College gave de Laura the 4th-best quarterback grade in the country last week 

The Cougars saw true freshman quarterback Jayden de Laura become the newest face to lead the Cougar offense. Luke Falk left with a program-record 27 wins following the 2017 season, Gardner Minshew II transferred in and led WSU to 11 wins in 2018, earning 2018 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, and Anthony Gordon followed with a record-setting 2019 season, throwing for 5,579 yards and 48 TD, both Pac-12 Conference records. 

• WSU returned just six players who caught a pass last season led by running back Max Borghi who caught a team-high 86 passes • WSU returns wideouts Renard Bell (114 career rec, 14 career TD rec) and Travell Harris (74 career rec, 6 career TD rec) • Dezmon Patmon was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the 6th round • last season, WSU had 7 receivers with 40 catches, 8 players with multiple TD catches and 7 players with 500+ rec yards • Travell Harris (2nd) and Renard Bell (5th) were among the top 5 rated slot receivers in the Pac-12 last season • Harris had quite the season-opener last week at Oregon State, matching a career-high with 7 catches, setting a career-high with 107 receiving yards and scored 3 total TD, two receiving (29, 28) and one rushing (44)

The Cougar running backs served all-purpose roles for the Air Raid and will now look to increase their production in the run-n-shoot offense under Nick Rolovich. In each of the 2016 and 2017 seasons, the Cougar backs combined to record 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving. The group just missed making it three straight seasons in 2018, combining for 974 rushing yards and 1,044 receiving yards while scoring 28 total TD. Last season, the 2019 running back group combined for 953 rush yards, 710 receiving yards, 103 catches and 19 total TD • WSU RBs combined to average 6.3 yards-per-carry • Deon McIntosh rushed for a career-high 147 yards in the win at Oregon State, the most by a Coug since Dwight Tardy's 214 yards against UCLA in 2007

Running back Max Borghi returns for his junior campaign after producing one of the best seasons by any running back in the country in 2019.
• Last season, Borghi was named Pac-12 Conference Honorable Mention after rushing for 817 yards and 11 TD, and caught team-high 86 passes for 597 yards and five TD • Borghi led all Pac-12 running backs averaging 6.4 yards-per-carry • Borghi was 2nd in the Pac-12 with 16 total TD last season, tied for 3rd with 11 rushing TD • Last season, Borghi led all RB nationally with 86 receptions and 26 missed tackles forced after the catch • Borghi was the only player in the country with 800+ rush yards, 550+ rec yards and 16 total TD in 2019 • Borghi's 16 total TD tied for 3rd-most in WSU single-season history • Borghi's 28 career total TD are 4th-most in WSU history • Borghi's 19 career rushing TD are tied for 5th-most in WSU history • Borghi is the only player in the country to be named to both the 2020 Biletnikoff Award and Doak Walker Award watch lists, also named to the Maxwell Award watch list • Borghi has caught a pass in all 26 career games

OFFENSIVE LINE NOTES (Ratings based on PFF College) (PLAYER NOTES PAGES 10-17)
• WSU returned 77 career starts on the offensive line to start 2020, LT Liam Ryan (26), RG Josh Watson (25) and RT Abraham Lucas (26) • a pair of players recorded their 1st career starts at Oregon State last week, redshirt-sophomore Jarrett Kingston (LG) and redshirt-junior Brian Greene (C) • Lucas was placed on the PFF College National Team of the Week after blocking for 229 rushing yards, did not allow a pressure and led WSU with 4 knockdown blocks in the win at Oregon State • last season, WSU allowed 20 sacks on 730 dropbacks, the fewest sacks allowed in the Pac-12 • in the win at Oregon State, WSU's 229 rushing yards were the most since rushing for 254 against Colorado in 2016 • WSU tallied 229 rush yards and 227 pass yards in the win at Oregon State, it was the first time WSU had more rushing yards than passing yards since recording 221 rush yards and 157 pass yards in a win at Oregon State in 2010

• 2 former Cougar offensive linemen are in the NFL including a pair of starters; 
 - 2016 5th-round draft pick Joe Dahl starts at left guard for the Detroit Lions 
 - 2019 1st-round pick Andre Dillard made 3 starts for the Philadelphia Eagles last season, will miss 2020 with torn pectoral muscle
• WSU produced an All-America offensive lineman in four-straight seasons; 
 - LT Joe Dahl, 2015; LG Cody O'Connell, 2016; LG Cody O'Connell, 2017; LT Andre Dillard & RT Abraham Lucas, 2018

Redshirt-junior Blake Mazza was a Lou Groza Award Finalist last season, one of three up for the award given to the nation's top collegiate place-kicker and was the first Cougar to be named a finalist for the award in program history. 
• Named to 2019 All-Pac-12 First Team • named to Midseason All-America Second Team by The Athletic • was 20-of-21 in field goal attempts, made first 18 FG to start the season, longest consecutive FG streak in WSU history • led the Pac-12 with 20 made FG, tied for 4th-most in WSU single-season history • 2 FG of 50+ yards (50 vs. New Mexico State, career-long 51 at Utah) • named to 2020 Lou Groza Award Watch List and Preseason All-Pac-12 First Team by Athlon Sports and Pac-12 media • connected on a 34-yard FG at Oregon State, owns 31 career FG, passing Aaron Price for the 8th-most FG in WSU history • tallied 8 points at OSU to push career total to 213, passing Rian Lindell for the 8th-most points in WSU history

The Cougar defense finished the 2019 season fifth in the Pac-12 with 19 takeways and tied for second in the league with nine fumble recoveries • since 2015, the Cougars are 29-5 when forcing multiple turnovers including a 5-0 mark when doing so in 2019. 
• last season, Jahad Woods was 4th in the country and second in the Pac-12 with 141 tackles, the 4th-most in WSU history and most since 1991 • in the win at Oregon State, WSU tallied 4 sacks on defense, the most since recording 4 against Arizona in 2018 • 4 players made their 1st career starts on defense, DT Ahmir Crowder, EDGE Brennan Jackson, CB Jaylen Watson, SS Ayden Hector

Two current Cougars entered the 2020 season already owning their bachelor's degree.
P Oscar Draguicevich III (social sciences) • DB Daniel Isom (social sciences)

Washington State named four players team captains for the 2020 seasons; 
Max Borghi (Jr., RB), Jahad Woods (RS-Sr., LB), Liam Ryan (RS-Sr., OL), Abraham Lucas (RS-Jr., OL)

• 17 total freshman played last season, 8 redshirt-freshmen and 9 true freshmen
• 17 players made their WSU debuts last season
• 9 true freshmen played including starters Jayden de Laura (QB) and Ayden Hector (SS)
• 9 players made their first career start, 5 on offense and 4 on defense

The Cougar roster features a number of players who have family members who played professional sports. 
• LB Travion Brown's great, great uncle is Jackie Robinson (dad's side) • P Oscar Draguicevich III's dad, Oscar played professional soccer for 10 seasons including 3 for the San Jose Clash of the MLS • WR Joey Hobert's dad, Billy Joe played QB at Washington (1990-92), was a 3rd-round draft pick by the Raiders in 1993 and played 8 seasons in the NFL (Raiders, Bills, Saints, Colts), 29 career games played, 17 starts, 23 touchdown passes • WR Calvin Jackson Jr.'s dad Calvin Sr. played DB at Auburn, played 6 NFL seasons with Miami • CB Derrick Langford's dad Derrick Sr. was a 52nd-round MLB draft pick by the Atlanta Braves in 1994 • RB Deon McIntosh' brother, RJ played DL at Miami and is with the Giants, younger brother Kenny is a sophomore RB at Georgia • DL Will Rodgers III's uncle is former NBA start Jason Richardson, played 13 NBA seasons • S Tyrese Ross' dad, Dominique Ross played FB for Dallas Cowboys in late 1990's • RUSH Ron Stone Jr.'s dad, Ron Sr. played OL in the NFL for 13 seasons, 3x Pro Bowler, 2x Super Bowl Winner • Ma'ake Fifita's older brother, Mosese was the starting nose tackle at Air Force last season.

Since 2015, the Cougars have seen six players from San Francisco City College take the field. This season, DB Derrick Langford is the lone player from SFCC but a pair of Cougar coaches are tied to the school. Head coach Nick Rolovich played quarterback for "City" from 1998-99 and later coached the SFCC quarterbacks 2006-07. Cougar wide receiver coach Andre Allen, a San Francisco native, spent 27 seasons coaching at the City College of San Francisco (1991-2017), helping SFCC to three national titles (2007, 2011, 2015) and eight Northern California Championships. Past Cougars who played at SFCC, DB Shalom Luani (2015-16), 
S/KR Rob Taylor (2016-17), QB Anthony Gordon (2016-19), WR Easop Winston Jr. (2017-19), OL Robert Valencia (2017-19)

Matt Chazanow is in his sixth season as the play-by-play voice for Cougar football, men's basketball and baseball broadcasts. Joining Chazanow for his third season will be former Cougar quarterback Alex Brink who is the only WSU quarterback to win three Apple Cups and was later a seventh-round draft pick by the Houston Texans. Returning for her ninth season as the sideline reporter is Jessamyn McIntyre, an executive producer for Q13 FOX in Seattle.

Washington State made their program-record fifth straight bowl appearance, dropping a 31-21 decision to No. 24 Air Force in the Cheez-It Bowl and finished 2019 with a 6-7 overall record, 3-6 mark in Pac-12 Conference play. The Air Raid led the nation in the passing (437.2), seventh in total offense (505.2) and 11th in scoring (37.8). The Cougar defense finished fifth in the Pac-12 in takeaways (19). Head coach Mike Leach produced a 55-47 record in his eight seasons with the Cougars and led WSU to a program-record six bowl appearances. Leach left to be the head coach at Mississippi State in late January.

Former Washington State Football All-American kicker Jason Hanson was named to the 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class, The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced in March. Hanson becomes the second kicker inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, joining Georgia's Kevin Butler, who was named in 2001. Hanson becomes the fifth Cougar player and ninth Cougar to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He joins players Glen "Turk" Edwards, Mel Hein, Rueben Mayes and Mike Utley, along with coaches William "Lone Star" Dietz, Forest Evashevski, Dennis Erickson and Orin "Babe Hollingbery. The Spokane, Wash. native, Hanson was an All-American kicker and punter for the Cougars from 1988-91, earning The Sports News Freshman All-America first team honors as a kicker in 1988 after a record-breaking season in which he was responsible for 91 points. Hanson elevated his numbers as a sophomore, connecting on 21 field goals, a WSU single-season record, as were his 99 total points for a kicker. He became WSU's first unanimous first-team All-American that season. As a junior, he was named All-Pac-10 as both a punter and kicker and earned All-American honors as a punter that season. As a senior in 1991, he was named an All-American at both punter and kicker. Hanson finished his WSU career with 19 field goals of 50+ yards including a Pac-10 record 62-yarder, the longest without use of a tee in NCAA Division I history, while also being selected for the Hula Bowl and East-West Shrine Game. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 1992 NFL draft and played 21 seasons with the Lions, earning Pro Bowl honors twice, second team All-Pro honors in 1997 and was a first team All-Pro selection in 1993. Upon his retirement, Hanson held the NFL record for career 50-yard kicks (52) and continues to be the fourth-leading scorer in NFL history with 2,150 points. He was named to the Pac-12 All-Century Team and Detroit Lions 75th Season All-Time Team, as well as being inducted into the Lions Ring of Honor and WSU Athletics, State of Washington Sports and State of Michigan Sports halls of fame. In 2018, Hanson was inducted into the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame, becoming the first student-athlete in school history to receive the honor. A pre-med major while at WSU, Hanson was a three-time Academic All-American during his four years in Pullman. He concluded his senior season by being named a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete, one of only five in WSU history to receive the honor. An active Christian speaker, Hanson has participated in Habitat for Humanity and helped establish Providence Youth Outreach in Pontiac, Michigan, which helps at-risk youth.

Washington State announced in June that it has added a two game, home-and-home series against Mississippi State to its 2030 and 2031 football schedules. In the inaugural meeting between the two programs, the Cougars will face the Bulldogs in Starkville, Miss., on Aug. 31, 2030, and Mississippi State will travel to Martin Stadium for the return contest on Aug. 30, 2031. The 2031 game will mark the first time a Southeastern Conference opponent will play in Martin Stadium.