1 Come up with some turnovers. The numbers say that neither team, the two worst defenses in the conference in yards per passing attempt, is going to consistently stop the other’s explosive offense. So to win the Cougars will need to create takeaways to get the Wildcats offense off the field. Washington State is No. 115 among FBS teams in turnover margin and has intercepted just two passes this season.
2 Cut down on penalties. Washington State has been one of the most penalized teams in the country this season, drawing 57 flags and costing the team 509 yards of field position. Some of that is because the Cougars have more plays per game than most teams, but Arizona averages even more plays per game and is near the middle of the pack nationally in terms of penalties. This game should be an offensive battle and it will be critical for the Cougars not to commit any penalties that kill their offensive drives or sustain Arizona’s.
3 Dominate the red zone. Arizona has been horrible defensively in the red zone and the offense hasn’t fared much better. If the Cougars can end a few Arizona scoring drives with field goals and consistently finish their own trips to the red zone with touchdowns that would likely make the difference.
4 Remember the run. Arizona has been a very good passing team this season but the run is still the bread and butter of a Rich Rodriguez offense. The Wildcats have a pair of good running backs in Nick Wilson and Terris Jones-Grigsby, although both are dinged up. If one or both of them play Arizona could surprise a WSU team that’s focused on the pass, so keeping an eye on the backfield will be important for the Cougars.
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