WSU offense trying to get out of slump against struggling Stanford defense

Jake Dickert explains that focusing on tight details will turn into wins.



The WSU defense stops a Utah run during an NCAA football match, Oct. 27.

TREVOR JUNT, Evergreen deputy sports editor

WSU has lost four of their last five games. They are looking to bounce back in their upcoming game Saturday against Stanford.

Each of WSU’s losses have come from teams that are all ranked currently. Oregon at No.8, USC at No.9, Oregon State at No.24 and Utah at No.12.

WSU has been struggling, but it is easy to see why with their competition.

Stanford is 3-5 on their season and is ranked last in the Pac-12. Their quarterback Tanner McKee is a big reason that they are doing better than they did last year and have already tied their win total from last season.

McKee has had a decent season, throwing 170/278 with 1,972 yards 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Stanford’s offense has struggled for most of the season, only averaging 23.6 points per game.

Their leading rusher is Casey Filkins who has 122 rushing attempts for 478 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 3.9 yards per carry.

The leading receiver for the Cardinal is Michael Wilson with 26 receptions for 418 yards and four touchdowns.

The defense, however, has been lackluster and is averaging 28.8 points per game allowed.

On the WSU side, the defense has been the absolute strong suit. They are only allowing 20.8 points per game.

“There’s no question, we’ve had high expectations for the defense,” WSU head coach Jake Dickert said. “I think we have the capabilities to be dominant and win some games [defensively]. We haven’t been able to generate the takeaways and when you look at the in-conference stats, I think we only have three in those five games. Those are things that we need to do to take that next step. But I think there’s a lot of progress. There’s a lot of excitement and I think guys are playing hard.”

Daiyan Henley has been leading the WSU defense and has 80 total tackles on the season, almost 30 more tackles than the second-most on the roster. He also leads the team in sacks with four and has one interception on the season.

The offense has been a struggle all season. Cam Ward has not been playing well, part of this is because of the horrific offensive line. The Cougars have allowed 30 sacks on Ward this season. He also leads the Pac-12 with eight interceptions. But Ward is also top five in the league in passing yards with 2,184 yards and passing touchdowns at 17. 

The leading rusher on the team is Nakia Watson who has missed the last couple of weeks, he has 325 yards and two touchdowns on 64 carries. Jaylen Jenkins is second on the team with 306 rushing yards and a touchdown on 47 carries.

The leading receiver is De’Zhaun Stribling with 32 catches for 425 yards and five touchdowns.

WSU has not scored more than 17 points in the last three weeks. They hope to change this with their upcoming matchup against a bad Stanford defense. 

Dickert discussed the offensive struggles and what they may need to focus on.

“There’s a lot to focus on. But it starts with the details. It starts with every man doing their job and starts with us executing and starts with not getting behind the chains. There’s a lot of things that we could do, and there’s a lot of people you know, you have these plays and you want to change. I want to go more, I want to simplify and want to stay the course,” Dickert said. “It’s a challenge to our guys. Right and that’s what I’m talking about that path to success. There’s progress.”

The Cougars are favored over the Cardinal by five points and ESPN gives them about a 50% chance to win the game.

WSU will play Stanford at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at Stanford Stadium. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.