Football travels to Tempe for sunny game

Cougars to play in sunny 90 degree weather Saturday



Redshirt freshman wide receiver Rodrick Fisher catches a 41-yard touchdown pass to lead New Mexico State 7-0 in the first quarter on Aug. 31 in Martin Stadium.

KURIA POUNDS, Evergreen reporter

Cougar football travels down to Tempe, Ariz. to play the No. 18 Arizona State University Sun Devils for their third conference game of the season at 12:40 p.m. on Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium.

WSU (3-2, 0-2) has a 15-26-2 all-time record against the Sun Devils (4-1, 1-1), even with winning the last matchup 37-32 in Tempe on Oct. 22, 2016.

The Cougars are coming off their bye this past week, but also coming off a 38-13 loss to the University of Utah Utes in Salt Lake City in their last game.

Josh Watson, redshirt junior offensive lineman, said that after this bye week, the team must focus on the next game and improve upon their mistakes.

“We need to start picking up on the small details around here,” Watson said.

Arizona State is also coming off a bye week, but also riding a 24-17 win against California in Berkeley in their last game. Even with the bye, the Sun Devils still climbed to the 18th spot in the AP Top 25 Poll for this week.

Watson said he noticed the defense picked up in attitude and the defensive line prepared for Arizona State.

“I see a higher energy, just from the last three or four practices I’ve been at,” Watson said.

Redshirt senior quarterback Anthony Gordon still leads the nation in passing yards with 2,146 passing yards but has slipped into a tie for second place for passing touchdowns with 22 touchdowns.

Easop Winston Jr., redshirt senior wide receiver, has also slipped down to a three-way tie for fourth place for most receiving touchdowns with eight touchdowns.

Head coach Mike Leach said team meetings are very important toward future improvement but expects more out of it as well.

“I think it’s really important, but it’s got to be actions too,” Leach said. “There’s got to be something behind it.”

Gordon said the team used the bye week to come together and strengthen themselves to get ready for the Sun Devils.

“Part of our standard is holding each other accountable, you know, making sure we are all on the same page,” Gordon said.

The morale of locker room and the team on and off the field is re-energized, Gordon said.

“We’re ready to go,” Gordon said. “We’re ready to take on the Sun Devils.”

Redshirt junior linebacker Justus Rogers said there is definitely a boost on the defense under new leadership.

“We’re just trying to get better, play with energy and be ready to be 1-0,” Rogers said. “We got to turn it up a notch.”

Kickoff is set for 12:40 p.m. on Saturday  at Sun Devil Stadium. The game can be viewed on the Pac-12 Networks.