WSU is going bowling

Cougs earn blowout victory on senior night; seniors account for every touchdown scored

WSU+running+back+Max+Borghi+%2821%29+waves+to+camera+while+running+onto+the+field+before+a+college+football+game+against+the+University+of+Arizona+at+Martin+Stadium%2C+Friday%2C+Nov.+19%2C+2021%2C+in+Pullman%2C+Wash.

MASON MARON

WSU running back Max Borghi (21) waves to camera while running onto the field before a college football game against the University of Arizona at Martin Stadium, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Pullman, Wash.

TOM ABBOTT, Evergreen reporter

The Cougs (6-5) are eligible for a bowl game after winning against Arizona (1-10) 44-18 Saturday night.

After a foggy afternoon, visibility improved for the frigid 32-degree kickoff at 6 p.m.

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WSU wide receiver Travell Harris (1) celebrates with offensive lineman Jarrett Kingston (52) after a touchdown during a college football game against the University of Arizona at Martin Stadium, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Pullman, Wash.

“I think it’s always one of the goals,” WSU head coach Jake Dickert said. “This senior class made becoming bowl eligible a standard.”

Before the game, WSU held a senior night ceremony for the graduating class’s last home game of the season. Running back Max Borghi led the charge out of the tunnel with flowers and a WSU flag in hand. Parents and families of the senior Cougars stood at the 40 yard line to welcome the players onto the field. 

With eight minutes to go in the first quarter, snow began to fall on the field. The Cougs did not seem to be deterred by the snow, scoring the first touchdown of the game on a 26-yard run by Borghi to make it 7-0. After scoring the touchdown, Borghi stood comfortably on the sideline with no jacket, seemingly unfazed by Pullman’s weather after so many seasons on the Palouse.

Arizona tried to answer with points of their own, but marched off the field unsuccessful after a missed 50-yard field goal by Lucas Havrisik. Havrisik has been reliable against WSU in the past, tying the Arizona school record for the longest field goal with a made 57-yarder against WSU during the 2017 season.

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University of Arizona running back Stevie Rocker Jr. (23) recovers a fumble during a college football game against Washington State University at Martin Stadium, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Pullman, Wash.

WSU quarterback Jayden de Laura extended the Cougar lead 14-0 on an 8-yard touchdown pass to Travell Harris. The touchdown was Harris’s eighth touchdown reception of the year.

The Wildcats answered with a touchdown on the next drive, caught in the end zone by Boobie Curry, 7-14. Arizona set up the touchdown completion with a massive 71-yard up the middle by sophomore running back Drake Anderson. Anderson exposed a weak middle defensive setup from the Cougs, able to find a lane made by the offensive line.

WSU’s Deon McIntosh joined in with a long run of his own, rushing for 38 yards on the left side of the field. On the very next play, de Laura threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Jackson Jr., regaining a 14-point lead, 21-7.

During halftime, snow stopped falling and the fog from earlier in the day rolled back into Martin Stadium, providing some visibility issues for both teams.

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WSU wide receiver Travell Harris (1) catches a touchdown pass during a college football game against the University of Arizona at Martin Stadium, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Pullman, Wash.

“It was a great home field advantage tonight,” Dickert said about the fog and cold weather.

Borghi continued to shine in his last half as a Coug, putting WSU in the red zone on a 43-yard run to the right. Borghi recorded his second touchdown run of the game three plays later, running past the goal line on a 2-yard touchdown to go up 28-7. 

Borghi put up a career-high 139 yards in Friday’s game against Arizona. Borghi averaged 9.1 yards per carry with two touchdowns on the night. 

The WSU special teams unit came to play on both receptions and kick offs. Special teams member and wide receiver Joey Hobert was responsible for the next points of the game, blocking an Arizona punt and forcing a safety to extend the lead to 30-7. On punt receptions, Harris evaded Wildcats players on multiple occasions, giving de Laura better field positioning throughout the game.

Another touchdown connection from de Laura to Harris solidified WSU’s lead at 37-7. The touchdown came on a 31-yard pass and was Harris’ second of the night. Harris ended his last home game as a Coug with 95 yards and two touchdowns. 

Arizona settled for a field goal to bring the score to 37-10 in favor of the Cougs. 

The Wildcats showed they came to Pullman for the full 60 minute game, opening the fourth quarter scoring with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Will Plummer to Michael Wiley. Arizona then completed a two-point conversion, bringing WSU’s lead down to 37-18.

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WSU quarterback Jayden de Laura (4) looks down field to throw the ball during a college football game against the University of Arizona at Martin Stadium, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Pullman, Wash.

The WSU offense added salt to Arizona’s wounds with a 78-yard touchdown pass from de Laura to Jackson Jr. increasing the Cougar lead to 44-18. Jackson Jr. tallied 133 yards and two touchdowns in the game. 

WSU senior linebacker Jahad Woods recorded one interception, one forced fumble and 12 tackles in his last home game as a Coug. 

With the game won, WSU brought in senior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano for some playing time. Guarantano came to WSU for the 2021 season, transferring from Tennessee. WSU’s likely starting running back next season, Nakia Watson, also got some playing time, adding 14 yards to WSU’s rushing total.

“I think it’s special for them, I think it’s special for their families,” Dickert said about senior players getting time. “They work just as hard as anybody else.”

All six WSU touchdowns came from senior Cougars, a fitting score-line for WSU’s senior night.

Next up for the Cougs is a trip into enemy territory for the Apple Cup against the Washington Huskies at 5 p.m. Friday in Husky Stadium.