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Cougars Head to No. 6 USC For Saturday Matchup on FOX

Oct 3, 2022

WASHINGTON STATE (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) at No. 6 USC (5-0, 3-0 Pac-12)
4:35 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022  •  FOX
United Airlines Field at Los Angles Memorial Coliseum (77,500)  •  Los Angeles

Washington State heads to Los Angeles for a Saturday afternoon matchup against No. 6 USC. Kickoff is set for 4:35 p.m. on FOX.

Washington State beat California 28-9 on Homecoming Weekend at Gesa Field after Cameron Ward threw three touchdown passes, Renard Bell caught eight passes for 115 yards and the defense tallied seven tackles-for-loss while holding Cal to just 31 rushing yards after entering the week with the Pac-12 leading rusher.

WSU continues its road stretch with a trip to face Oregon State next Saturday at 6 p.m. on Pac-12 Network.

Washington State enters the week with a 4-1 record after beating California 28-9 at Gesa Field last Saturday. The Cougars haver opened the season with wins over Idaho, at No. 19 Wisconsin, Colorado State and Cal after dropping a 44-41 decision to No. 15 Oregon in Pullman two weekends ago. The Cougars entered the week leading tied for second in the country with a Pac-12 Conference-best 45 tackles-for-loss and second in the league with  18 sacks while the offense leads the league in red zone scores (20-of-21). Quarterback Cameron Ward is tied for third in the Pac-12 with 13 touchdown passes while wideout Donovan Ollie is tied for fourth with 27 receptions and linebacker Daiyan Henley paces the league with 9.5 tackles-for-loss, tied for second nationally. Jake Dickert served as WSU's interim head coach the final five games of last season, was named the head coach prior to the Sun Bowl and is in his first full season the Cougars' head coach (7-4 career record).

• WSU is seeking first 5-1 start since 2018 and second road win over Top-25 team this season (17-14, at No. 19 Wisconsin)
• WSU is 3rd in the country with a Pac-12-best 44 tackles-for-loss, tied for 7th in the country with 18 sacks
• WSU's roster features 23 players who are from southern California
• WSU picked off a pass and forced a fumble against Colorado State, has recorded multiple takeaways in 13 of last 18 games
• WSU's Sept. 24 game against No. 15 Oregon was WSU's first sellout of Gesa Field since 2019 (Stanford)
• Last season, WSU led the Pac-12 and was 5th in the country with 29 takeaways, 4th nationally with 14 fumble recoveries

INDIVIDUAL (Player Notes Pages 9-20)
• LB Daiyan Henley enters the week leading the Pac-12 in tackles-for-loss (9.5), 2nd in tackles (44), 3rd in sacks (4)
• WR Renard Bell caught a 37-yard TD last week against Cal, No. 18 TD receptions of his career, 10th-most in WSU history
• 3 were named to the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl Watch List; LB Daiyan Henley, EDGE Brennan Jackson, RB Nakia Watson
• 2021 All-Pac-12 1st Team EDGE Ron Stone Jr. named to Watch Lists: Bronko Nagurski Award, Bednarik Award, Lombardi Award
• QB Cameron Ward enters the week leading the Pac-12 in completions (131), tied for 3rd in pass TD (13), 3rd in passing (289.0)
• WR Donovan Ollie is 4th in the Pac-12 in receptions (27), WR De'Zhaun Stribling is tied for 4th in Pac-12 in rec TD (4)
• S Jaden Hicks owns three straight double-digit tackle games, enters week tied for 9th in Pac-12 in tackles (35)

The Cougars trail the all-time series with USC 10-62-4 after a 45-14 Trojan win in Pullman last season. WSU has dropped the last three meetings in the series, is 6-40-2 in Los Angeles and has dropped the last two trips to the Coliseum including a 38-13 decision in 2020. WSU's last win in the series came in 2017, 30-27 in Pullman and are looking for their first win in the Coliseum since a 10-7 win in 2013.

Washington State has a number of connections to the USC coaching staffs; USC head coach Lincoln Riley played and coached under former Cougar head coach Mike Leach at Texas Tech (2003-09), USC senior associate athletic director for football Dave Emerick was WSU's football chief of staff (2012-19) under coach Leach and helped the Cougars to six bowl games during that span, USC defensive coordinator Alex Grinch helped the Cougars to three-straight bowl games while working in the same role for the Cougars (2015-17) that including a 30-27 win over No. 5 USC in 2017, USC outside linebackers coach Roy Manning coached the WSU RUSH linebackers (2015-17), USC linebackers coach Brian Odom worked at WSU under Grinch in a defensive quality control position (2015-16), USC assistant head coach / outside wide receivers coach Dennis Simmons was  WSU's outside receivers coach for three seasons (2012-14), USC defensive graduate assistant Peyton Pelluer was a four-year letterwinner at linebacker for WSU (2014-18), a three-time All-Pac-12 Conference selection, appeared in a then-WSU record 54 games and recorded 352 career tackles, fifth-most in WSU history, USC; USC senior defensive analyst Parker Henry ("Bulldog") was a four-year letterwinner at linebacker for WSU (2013-16); current WSU offensive line coach Clay McGuire worked in the same role at USC last season, WSU head football strength & conditioning coach Dwain Bradshaw worked on the strength and conditioning staff at USC in 2017, WSU special teams quality control Dan Ferrigno coached the USC wide receivers and special teams in 2000, WSU offensive quality control Justin Mesa worked on the USC staff 2007-12, coaching the wide receivers in 2008 and tight ends 2011-12.

- WSU is looking for its first 5-1 start since 2018
- WSU's last ROAD win over a Top-25 team was earlier this season, 17-14 at No. 19 Wisconsin week two
- WSU's last season with two ROAD wins over Top-25 teams was 2018 (vs. No. 25 Iowa State, at No. 24 Stanford)
- WSU's last ROAD conference win over a Top-25 team was 41-38 at No. 24 Stanford in 2018
- WSU's last win over a Top-10 team was 30-27 over No. 5 USC in 2017 in Pullman
- WSU's last ROAD win over a Top-10 team was 28-20 over No. 5 Texas in the 2003 Holiday Bowl
- WSU's last TRUE ROAD win over a Top-10 team was 55-16 at No. 10 Oregon in 2003

Dating back to the middle of the 2003 season, ESPN College GameDay has had the WSU flag appear throughout the show. The streak reached 278 after appearing at Clemson last Saturday. 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. 

- WSU enters the week leading the Pac-12 and 3rd in the country with 44 tackles-for-loss
- WSU enters the week 2nd in the Pac-12 and tied for 7th in the country with 18 sacks
- WSU is tied for 5th in Pac-12 with 8 takeaways, has recorded multiple takeaways in 13 of last 18 games
- WSU enters the week 2nd in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (18.2) and 3rd in rush defense (96.2 ypg)
- Daiyan Henley leads the Pac-12 in tackles-for-loss (9.5), tied for 2nd in tackles (44), tied for 3rd in sacks (4)
- Brennan Jackson is 3rd in the Pac-12 in tackles-for-loss (7.5), Andrew Edson is tied for 10th (4.5 TFL)
- Jaden Hicks has made double-digit tackles in three straight games, is tied for 9th in Pac-12 in tackles (35)
- WSU held Cal running back Jaydn Ott to 69 yards after entering the game averaging 115.8 rushing yard/g
- Francisco Mauigoa's 95-yard INT return against No. 15 Oregon was 2nd-longest INT return in WSU history (Will Derting, 98 yds, Nevada, 2002)
- WSU made seven sacks in the win over Colorado State, tied for the seventh-most in WSU single-game history and most since 2017 (8, at Utah) 
- WSU shutout Colorado State in the first half, WSU's  first 1st-half shutout since Oregon in 2018, led 27-0
- WSU recorded 12 tackles-for-loss in the win over Idaho, the most TFL since making 14 against Wyoming in 2015

The Coug Raid offense features a couple familiar faces who are back in Pullman after coaching with Mike Leach's Air Raid. Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Eric Morris returns after coaching the inside receivers for WSU in 2012, Leach's first season in Pullman while Clay McGuire returns for his second stint as the Cougars' offensive line coach (2012-17) and Joel Filani returns to coach the wide receivers after working the 2015 season at WSU in an offensive quality control position.
- WSU leads the Pac-12 in red zone scoring (20-21, 95.2%), 5th in the Pac-12 in passing (289.0) 
- Cameron Ward is 6th in the country with Pac-12-best 131 completions, tied for 3rd in Pac-12 in pass TD (13)
- Renard Bell enters week leading Pac-12 wideouts with 11 missed tackles forced after the catch
- WSU opened the season with nine different players catching a pass while running back Nakia Watson rushed for a career-high 117 yards in the win over Idaho.
- In the win at No. 19 Wisconsin, seven receivers caught passes including Watson who had a rush TD and rec TD
- In the win over Colorado State, Cameron Ward threw 4 TD passes, nine players caught a pass and WSU tallied 143 rushing yards.
- Against No. 15 Oregon, Cameron Ward threw for 375 yards and completed passes to 10 different players including himself (-13 yards).
- Nakia Watson set career-highs with eight catches for 68 yards against No. 15 Oregon
- Andre Dollar started at Tight End against Oregon, his first career start, first WSU TE to start since Andre Lintz in 2011 Apple Cup
- TE Billy Riviere III caught his 1st career TD against  Cal, WSU's first TD by a TE since Andre Lintz (2011, UNLV)

- WSU is 2nd in the country and best in Pac-12 in kick return avg. (31.7)
- Nick Haberer is 2nd in Pac-12 with 6 punts inside the 20, had career-best three punts inside the 20 against Cal
- Colton Theaker is tied for 2nd in the Pac-12 with 22 touchbacks on kickoffs
- Renard Bell had a 73-yard kick return at Wisconsin, Robert Ferrel had 34-yard punt return against Cal

The 2022 Cougar wide receiver core is led by a familiar face, graduate senior Renard Bell, 24, who returned for his seventh season Pullman after missing last year with a knee injury. The Los Angeles native, who redshirted the 2016 season, owns an impressive resume.
- opened 2022 season with 4 catches including 3-yard TD catch against Idaho
- had two catches and a 73-yard kickoff return in win at No. 19 Wisconsin week 2
- had six catches for 84 yards against No. 15 Oregon week 4
- set season-highs with eight catches and 115 receiving yards and 37-yard TD in win over Cal
  had 37-yard TD catch vs, Cal, No. 18 of his career, tying for 10th-most in WSU history
- 167 career receptions, 10 away from breaking into WSU Top-10
- 18 career TD receptions, moved into tie for 10th in WSU history for career TD rec last week against Cal
- 6 career 100-yard games
- 48 career games played including 35 career starts, 31 career wins
- has caught a pass from 9 different Cougar QB's (Luke Falk, Tyler Hilinski, Gardner Minshew II, Anthony Gordon,  Gage Gubrud, Jayden de Laura, Gunner Cruz, Cammon Cooper, Cameron Ward)
- 1 of 3 FBS WR with TD rec from 7 different QBs since 2006 (Darren Carrington II - Oregon/Utah, Michael Pittman - USC)

Quarterback Cameron Ward transferred to Washington State this past January after two record-setting seasons at Incarnate Word in Texas. The sophomore from West Columbia, Texas won the Jerry Rice Award following the 2020 season, the award given to the most outstanding freshman player in FCS football after setting UIW single-season records with 2,260 yards and 24 touchdowns in just six games. Last season at UIW, Ward was named an FCS second-team All-American, the Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Year and Walter Payton Award Finalist (give to the most outstanding offensive player in FCS) after leading UIW to a 10-3 record with school records of 4,648 passing yards, 47 touchdown passes and 357.5 passing yards-per-game. This summer, Ward was recently named to the Maxwell Award Watch List, given to the most outstanding player in college football and The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, given to the top offensive player in Division I football either born in Texas and/or graduated from a Texas High School and/or played at a Texas-based junior college or currently playing in Texas.
- Cameron Ward threw for 299 yards and 4 TD passes, his 12th career game with 4+ passing TD
- Ward is the fourth Cougar quarterback to win his first three WSU starts since 1976; Chad Davis (1994), Steve Birnbaum (1998), Anthony Gordon (2019)
- Aginst No. 15 Oregon, Ward set season-highs with 37 completions and 375 passing yards, first WSU rush TD
- In win over Cal, threw for 343 yards and three TD (17, 37, 1) in win over Cal

- 22 players have made their WSU Debuts including 12 who made their collegiate debuts
- 4 true freshmen have played; TE Andre Dollar, RB Jaylen Jenkins, CB Javan Robinson, WR Leyton Smithson

With the win at No. 19 Wisconsin:
- Jake Dickert became 1 of 4 WSU head coaches to beat a ranked team in his 1st full season
- WSU recorded its 1st win over a ranked team and 1st nonconference road win over a ranked team since beating No. 25 Iowa State in the 2018 Alamo Bowl
- WSU recorded its 1st TRUE road win over a ranked team since at No. 24 Stanford in 2018
-     WSU recorded its 1st nonconference TRUE road win over a ranked team since beating No. 17 Colorado in 2003
- WSU recorded its 1st win over a Big Ten Conference team since beating Rutgers 37-34 in 2015
- Jake Dickert became the ninth WSU head coach to start his 1st full season 3-0, first since Mike Price 1989

Kick returner Renard Bell and offensive lineman Jarrett Kingston each earned Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week awards following the win at No. 19 Wisconsin. Bell, named the Special Teams Player of the Week, earned his first career Pac-12 accolade after helping the Cougars post a 17-14 win over the Badgers. Bell had a career-long 73-yard kickoff return to start the second half that resulted in three points for WSU. The Los Angeles native also caught two passes including a 43-yarder early in the game. Kingston, the conference offensive lineman of the week, earned his first career Pac-12 honor after not allowing a pressure in WSU's 50 offensive snaps and the offensive line led the way on the final drive, sparking a 10-play, 43-yard drive over 5:14 as the clock expired.

Linebacker Daiyan Henley was named the Pac-12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week after the 38-7 win over Colorado State. Henley recorded a career-high 13 tackles including three sacks and two forced fumbles. The three sacks were a career-high, the most by any Pac-12 player this season and the first three-sack game by a Coug since Hercules Mata'afa at Utah in 2017. The graduate transfer from Nevada led a Cougar defense who held Colorado State to just seven points and 249 yards of total offense. According to PFF College, Henley recorded the second-best linebacker defensive grade in the country that week and the best overall defensive grade among all Pac-12 defenders. Henley was also named Reese's Senior Bowl Defensive Player of the Week and Bednarik Award Player of the Week following the performance.

A number of new faces on defense all made the trip up from Reno. Senior linebacker Daiyan Henley and defensive back Jordan Lee played the last four years at Nevada including the last two seasons under new WSU defensive coordinator Brian Ward along with defensive analyst Trent Greene and defensive graduate assistant Jack Ray. 

WSU voted six players as team captains for the 2022 season; WR Renard Bell, OL Konner Gomness, EDGE Brennan Jackson, DB Armani Marsh, EDGE Ron Stone Jr., WR Lincoln Victor.

Renard Bell, WR    Social Science
Ahmir Crowder, DT    Human Development
Robert Ferrell, WR    PB-Humanities
Kaleb Ford-Dement, DB    Social Science
Daiyan Henley, LB    Criminal Justice
Brennan Jackson, EDGE    Business Administration
Chris Jackson, DB    Social Science
Jarrett Kingston, OL    Business Management
Derrick Langford Jr., DB    Social Science
Jordan Lee, DB    Public Health
Armani Marsh, DB    Sport Management
Christian Mejia, DT    Kinesiology
Amir Mujahid, DT    Social Science
Simon Samarzich, LS    Sport Management
Grant Stephens, OL    Human Services

Last season, Washington State and Gesa Credit Union announced a partnership to provide Gesa the naming rights to the playing surface at Martin Stadium, now named Gesa Field, pronounced gee-sah. The 10-year agreement is valued at a minimum $11 million, will escalate with additional Gesa consumer-based incentives. The agreement with WSU Athletics formalized the first major sponsorship announced under Gesa Credit Union which recently merged with Inspirus Credit Union making it the second-largest credit union in the state. 

WSU inducted eight individuals and one team into its Athletic Hall of Fame week three against Colorado State. As part of the Cougars' year-long Power of IX campaign celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the 2022 class is an all-female class. The list of eight inductees and one team comprising the 2022 class includes: Eka Burduli (tennis, 2005-08), Tammy Crawford (rowing, 1990-2002), LaToya Harris (volleyball, 1999-2002), Kiersten Dallstream (soccer, 2006-09), Lisa Fraser (soccer, 1989-94), Anastasia Kostina (golf, 2003-06), Celestine N'Drin (track & field, 1986-90), Georgette Reed (swimming/track & field, 1988-91), 1991 Women's Basketball.

Washington State formally introduced Jake Dickert as the Cougars' 34th head football coach in program history December 2. On November 27, one day after the Apple Cup win, WSU Director of Athletics Pat Chun announced that Dickert had been named the Cougars' Head Football Coach. Dickert agreed in principle to a five-year contract. "We are thrilled to have Jake Dickert step into the head coaching role," said WSU President Kirk Schulz. "Coach Dickert was able to bring together a team that has been through so much in the past two seasons and inspire them to not only keep going, but to fight harder. Coach Dickert loves Pullman, understands what it means to be a Coug, and most importantly, puts his players first. He is an asset to this program, and to WSU." Dickert spent the final six weeks of the regular season serving as the Cougar's interim coach, leading WSU to a 3-2 record with wins over Arizona State, Arizona and a dominating 40-13 Apple Cup victory in Seattle. The win snapped a seven-game skid to Washington and ended as WSU's largest margin of victory in series history. "Coach Jake Dickert has proven to be an exceptional person, coach and leader," said Chun. "He has the character, vision and plan we need to lead Washington State Football through the next chapter of our storied history.  We've been able to witness the positive impact he has had on our student-athletes in a very short of period of time. We are thankful the best person to lead our program was already living in Pullman. We appreciate Jake, Candice, Rylee, Jett, and Jace for their commitment to WSU. "I am extremely humbled and honored to be the next head coach at Washington State University," said Dickert. "I want to thank President Schulz, Pat Chun and Bryan Blair for their leadership and trust in me and my vision for the future of WSU football. Pullman fits our family so well and we are
so excited to be a part of this community for a long time to come. Go Cougs." 

Matt Chazanow is in his eighth season as the play-by-play voice for Cougar football, men's basketball and baseball broadcasts. Joining Chazanow for his fifth 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 11th season as the sideline reporter is Jessamyn McIntyre.