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Cougars Close Out Regular Season With Trip to Utah

Dec 14, 2020

2020 Schedule | Washington State Game Notes - at Utah

10:30 a.m. (PT), Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020  •  Fox Sports 1
Rice-Eccles Stadium (45,807)  •  Salt Lake City

Washington State (1-2, 1-2 Pac-12) will close out its regular-season schedule with a trip to Salt Lake City for a matchup against Utah (2-2, 2-2 Pac-12). Kickoff is set for 10:30 a.m. (PT) on Fox Sports 1. Saturday's game will be the latest regular season game played by the Cougars since 1929.

Washington State saw its four-game winning streak against Utah snapped last season in Salt Lake City but still lead the all-time series 9-8. The Cougars own a 5-4 record when playing in Salt Lake City after dropping last season's contest 38-13.

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, Reached 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)

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

• WSU last played a seven-game schedule in 1926, when it went 6-1
• The season-opener at OSU marked the latest regular season start since 11/28/1918 against Gonzaga, a 20-6 win
• WSU opened the season with a road conference game for the first time since 1991 
• WSU won its season-opener against a conference opponent on the road for the 1st time since 1964
• WSU's game at USC was the 1st regular season game in December since the 2010 Apple Cup (12/4 in Pullman)
• WSU played on a Sunday for the 1st time since 1988 (WSU, 24-22 vs. Houston, Aloha Bowl) 
• Prior to this season, the final contest marks the latest regular season game since 12/07/2002 at UCLA

• 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 week 1, 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 5th-most among Pac-12 schools (UW - 50, Utah - 48, USC - 47, Stan - 47, Ore - 44)
• Since 2015, WSU owns 30 Pac-12 wins, 4th-most among Pac-12 schools (USC - 37, UW - 34, Stan - 33)

INDIVIDUAL (Player Notes Pages 10-18)
• WR Renard Bell enters the week leading the Pac-12 in rec yds/g (98.0), Travell Harris is 2nd (91.7 ypg)
• QB Jayden de Laura was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week following the season-opening win at OSU
• RB Deon McIntosh enters the week 11th in the country averaging 6.9 yds/carry, 6th in Pac-12 with 11 carries of 10+ yds
• LB Jahad Woods is the Pac-12's active leading tackler with 310 career tackles, 9th-most among all FBS players
• Woods enters the game at Utah needing 7 tackles to move into the WSU Top-10 for career tackles
• DB Ayden Hector was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week week 2, 4 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 INT vs. Oregon
• P Oscar Draguicevich III enters the week T11th in the country in punting (45.2), good for 2nd in the Pac-12
• K Blake Mazza was a 2019 Lou Groza Award Finalist (3), went 20-for-21 in FG attempts, All-Pac-12 First Team

Washington State went 7-0 at home in 2017, 6-1 in 2018 and 5-1 last season before dropping its home-opener to No. 11 Oregon to push it's Martin Stadium record to 18-3 over the past three-plus 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 256 after appearing virtually last week at the Army-Navy Game. 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. 

Over the past two years, Washington State Athletics has been proactive in providing opportunities for its student-athletes to lend their voices to social matters. From the creation of the Black Student-Athletes Association (BSAA) at WSU and sending members to the Black Student-Athlete Summit, to the implementation this summer of the Cougar Pride Student-Athlete Alliance for LGBTQIA+ students, Cougar student-athletes have been supported and their voices heard. The BSAA has hosted multiple, department-wide informational meetings covering wide-ranging topics such as social justice, police brutality and Black Lives Matter. Additionally, department programming from the DEI Council, created in 2019, has focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Women's History Month, Black History Month, Voter Registration and NCAA Inclusion, to name a few, continue to support matters important to our student-athletes. Additionally, the 2020 Cougar Football team will wear a decal on the back of their helmets this year in honor of teammate Bryce Beekman, who passed away earlier this year.

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. 

True freshman quarterback Jayden de Laura was named the Pac-12 Conference Freshman of the Week following the season-opening win at Oregon State. 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 was the first Cougar freshman to earn a Pac-12 weekly award since Travell Harris earned Special Teams Player of the Week honors in 2018.

• Jayden de Laura was 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 QB grade in the country following the win over OSU
• de Laura tallied his 1st career 300-yard game week 2 against Oregon, (25-of-39, 321 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT)
• de Laura enters the week 3rd in the Pac-12 in passing yards/g (227.3)

• 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 2020 season-opener at Oregon State, catching 7 passes for a career-high 107 receiving yards and scored 3 total TD, two receiving (29, 28) and one rushing (44) • Bell followed with a career night in week two against Oregon, setting career-highs in catches (10) and receiving yards (158) to go along with a TD, his 15th career TD catch • walk-on Lucas Bacon started at X for the second straight game and turned his 1st career catch into an 18-yard TD early in the first quarter against Oregon • at USC, Bell again set a career-high with 11 catches and caught his 16th career TD pass • Bell (1st, 98.0) and Harris (2nd, 91.7) both lead the Pac-12 in receiving yards/g • Bell is fourth in the Pac-12 with 27 receptions and Harris is sixth with 23 catches

Cougar running backs served all-purpose roles for the Air Raid and will 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 2018 group combined for 974 rush yards and 1,044 receiving yards while scoring 28 total TD. Last season, the 2019 backs combined for 953 rush yards, 710 rec yards, 103 catches and 19 total TD • 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 • McIntosh added another 92 yards and a score on the ground against Oregon • McIntosh enters the week tied for 11th in the country averaging 6.9 yds/carry and fifth in the Pac-12 averaging 101.3 yards/g

Running back Max Borghi produced 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 • led all Pac-12 running backs averaging 6.4 yards-per-carry • 2nd in the Pac-12 with 16 total TD last season, tied for 3rd with 11 rushing TD • led all RB nationally with 86 receptions and 26 missed tackles forced after the catch • only player in the country with 800+ rush yards, 550+ rec yards and 16 total TD in 2019 • 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), and each started at the first 3 games of 2020 • a pair of players recorded their 1st career starts at Oregon State, redshirt-sophomore Jarrett Kingston (LG) and redshirt-junior Brian Greene (C) and both started against Oregon and at USC • Lucas earned a spot 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 rushed for 229 yards and threw for 227 yards in the win at Oregon State, it was the first time WSU had more rushing yards than passing yards since 2010

• 2 former Cougar offensive linemen are in the NFL including a pair of starters; 
- 2016 5th-rd pick Joe Dahl starts at left guard for the Detroit Lions 
- 2019 1st-rd pick Andre Dillard made 3 starts for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019, will miss 2020 with injury
• 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

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.

The Cougar defense was impressive in the season-opening win at Oregon State, recording 4 sacks, the most since recording 4 against Arizona in 2018 • against No. 11 Oregon, WSU forced three takeaways and tallied 6 tackles-for-loss • at No. 20 USC, WSU tallied 7 tackles-for-loss including 3 sacks and held the Trojans to five rushing yards, tied for the 10th-fewest rush yards allowing in program history • since 2015, the Cougars are 29-6 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 • Woods is the Pac-12's active leading tackler with 310 career tackles, 9th-most among all FBS players • Woods tallied a team-high 11 tackles including 3 for loss and a sack against Oregon • 4 players have made their 1st career starts on defense in the first 3 games, DT Ahmir Crowder, EDGE Brennan Jackson, CB Jaylen Watson, SS Ayden Hector

A pair of Cougs earned the first two Pac-12 Conference Freshman of the Week awards after DB Ayden Hector was selected for the award following week two. Hector joined quarterback Jayden de Laura to earn Pac-12 Freshman weekly honors after de Laura received the award following the week one win at Oregon State. Hector picked up the accolade after recording four tackles, two fumble recoveries and his first career interception against No. 11 Oregon. Hector corralled all three takeaways for the Cougar defense against Ducks on three straight series in the first half. The Seattle native, who joined WSU in October as a walk-on, enters the week tied for second in the Pac-12 with a pair of fumble recoveries.

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. 
• Last season, was named to 2019 All-Pac-12 First Team • was 20-of-21 on field goal attempts, made first 18 FG to start the season, longest consecutive FG streak in WSU history • owns 3 career FG of 50+ yards (2018 at USC (50), 2019 vs. New Mexico State (50), 2019 at Utah (51)) • named to 2020 Lou Groza Award Watch List and Preseason All-Pac-12 First Team (Athlon, Media) • connected on a 34-yard FG at Oregon State • made all 3 FG against No. 11 Oregon (39, 49, 25) • owns 34 career FG, passed Rian Lindell for the 6th-most FG in WSU history • owns 225 career points, 6th-most by a kicker in WSU history

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 season; 
Max Borghi (Jr., RB), Jahad Woods (RS-Sr., LB), Liam Ryan (RS-Sr., OL), Abraham Lucas (RS-Jr., OL)

• 26 players have made their WSU debuts in 2020
• 26 total freshman have played in 2020, 12 redshirt-freshmen and 14 true freshmen
• 10 players have made their first career start, 5 on offense and 5 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 • Ma'ake Fifita's older brother, Mosese was the starting nose tackle at Air Force last season • DB Ayden Hector's dad, Zuri played DB at USC in early 1990's, uncle Byron played DB at Cal in late 1980's • 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 • DL Nathaniel James' older brother, Sampson is a freshman running back at Indiana • DB 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 • 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 

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 is celebrating its 125th football season in 2020. WSU's first season came in 1894 and did not play the 1943 and 1944 seasons due to World War II. The Cougars own a 557-561-45 all-time record including an 8-8 bowl mark.

Dec. 14 - 12/14/2016 - Offensive lineman Cody O'Connell is named to the AFCA All-America 1st Team, joining Jason Hanson as the only Unanimous All-Americans in Cougar history.    

Dec. 15 - 12/16/2014 - Wide receiver Vince Mayle was named All-America Honorable Mention by Sports Illustrated after setting WSU single-season records with 106 receptions and 1,483 receiving yards.    

Dec. 16 - Washington State inks its 2021 Signing Class

Dec. 17 - 12/17/2014 - WSU signed junior college safety Shalom Luani out of San Francisco City College. Luani earned All-Pac-12 1st Team honors as a senior was selected in the 7th round of 2017 NFL Draft by the Raiders.    

Dec. 18 - 12/18/1981 - The Cougars break a 50-year bowl drought by playing BYU in the 1981 Holiday Bowl, a game BYU won 38-36

Dec. 19 - Washington State is set to play at Utah    

Dec. 20 - 12/20/2005 - Running Back Jerome Harrison, who  set a WSU single-season rushing record with 1900 yards in 2005, was named to his seventh All-America First Team.