PAC-12 conference play never lacks for excitement and offensive firepower, and this weekend is no exception as the 15th ranked Arizona Wildcats (5-1) head to Clarence D. Martin Stadium in Pullman, WA to take on the host Washington St. Cougars (2-5) in Saturday night action (6:00pm ET). Arizona had a bye last week, but the Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season their last time out against USC at home (28-26), after vaulting into the top 10 with a huge 31-24 upset win on the road against then 2nd-ranked Oregon the previous week. They have also defeated Cal 49-45 at home, in conference play this season. Washington St. also is coming off of a bye, and they also lost their last time out at Stanford by a score of 34-17. They are 1-3 thus far in conference play, handing Utah their only loss (28-27) in a road game, and falling to Oregon (38-31) and Cal (60-59) at home.
The Wildcats rank 23rd among FBS teams in scoring offense with 37.5 points per game and 4th in total offense with 557 yards per game. Redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon has completed 62.6% of his passes for 2,136 yards and 15 TDs with 4 INTs and is coming off of a 395 yard day against USC in a losing effort. His top wide receivers include Cayleb Jones (39 receptions, 592 yards, 6 TDs) and Austin Hill (25 receptions, 345 yards, 3 TDs). Running back Nick Wilson (5474 yards, 6 TDs) is questionable this week with an ankle injury. Defensively Arizona ranks 67th in points allowed with 26.8 per game and 89th in total defense with 432 YPG allowed.
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Washington St. ranks 33rd nationally in scoring offense with 35 PPG and 8th in total offense with 534.7 YPG .Quarterback Connor Halliday has thrown for 3,344 yards with 28 TDs and 8 INTs this season with a 66.67% completion rate while spreading the ball around to multiple receivers in Mike Leach’s air-raid offense. Nine different wide outs have 10 or more receptions for the Cougars, including Vince Mayle (57 receptions, 781 yards, 7 TDs) and River Cracraft (57 receptions, 676 yards, 7 TDs). Defensively the Cougars rank 103rd nationally in points allowed with 35 per game and 95th in total defense with 443.7 YPG allowed.
Arizona vs. Washington St. Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Arizona Wildcats -2.5
@Washington St. Cougars +2.5
Over 72.5 (-110)
Under 72.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.ag
Arizona vs. Washington St. Pick:
Arizona holds a 25-14 advantage in the all-time series with Washington State, including a record of 10-4 in Pullman. The Wildcats lead the overall series vs. Washington State, 25-14. The Cougars won last seasons’ meeting in Tucson by a score of 24-17 to end a 5-game losing streak to Arizona, as the teams combined for over 800 yards of total offense and Halliday threw for over 300 yards for the Cougars.
The key match-ups figure to be the passing games of both teams against the opposing secondary’s, and the good news for both quarterbacks is that neither team has been successful defending the pass this season. Arizona ranks a dreadful 106th against the pass with 278 YPG allowed, and Washington St. is even worse at 109th with 280.7 YPG allowed through the air.
Both teams have been competitive in almost every game this season, with Arizona not rolling over any of their opponents by a large margin as their last 5 games have been decided by a touchdown or less. Washington St. has played close games against Oregon, Utah and Cal and hung in the game against Stanford on the road as well, so they can compete with anyone especially at home. This game could go either way, and whoever has the ball last will probably win. The total is the play to make here, and with two prolific offenses and two terrible pass defense the call here has to be the OVER.