SALT LAKE CITY - How does Mike Leach get his team to bounce back from blowing a 32 point lead, at home, with a Pullman cult icon in attendance to what was a winless UCLA team? That's tough to answer from an outsiders perspective, but coach Leach has to have his guys laser focused for the upcoming battle with the 19th ranked Utah Utes Saturday night. Another slip up from the Cougars, and you can probably kiss any chance of them being Pac-12 champions goodbye.
Just last week Washington State and Utah were on a crash course to both be undefeated when the two teams faced off, but both teams ended up stumbling and losing their first games of 2019. Washington State of course lost 67-63 to UCLA, while Utah was knocked off by USC 30-23.
Despite WSU's epic second half collapse last weekend, it would be remise if we didn't talk about Anthony Gordon's record breaking performance. Gordon broke the WSU and Pac-12 records for most touchdown passes thrown in a single game, with nine. Four of those scores found their way into the hands of Easop Winston Jr., which puts his season total up to eight, good enough to be number one in all of college football. Gordon helped account for every Cougar score on the night, passing the old mark of seven touchdown passes in a game set last year by who else, but Gardner Minshew. Gordon will probably be the first to tell you he doesn't care about statistics if the team loses, but in instances like this you still have to step back and appreciate what he did that night.
For the Utes, the big story coming out of their loss against USC was the injury to running back Zack Moss. So far in 2019, Moss has carried the ball 63 times for 393 yards and four touchdowns. With his 6.2 yard per carry average, its easy to see why they lean on him so heavily. His status for this weekends game is still up in the air after he left the game early and did not return against USC.
So what is going to happen this Saturday? Utah is going to be by far the best defense the Cougars have faced up to this point, but the Utes have been prone to giving up the big play in the secondary as of late, which against a Mike Leach led team doesn't bode well. This one is going to go down to the wire, so get your popcorn ready.
Washington State has won the previous four meetings between these two schools. However each of the previous three have all been decided by seven points or less. WSU comes into this one as underdogs for the first time this year according to Las Vegas Sportsbooks, as Utah is a 4.5 point favorite to win.