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Washington State at Arizona: First Look

When/Where: Saturday, 1 p.m.; Arizona Stadium, Tucson

TV: Pac-12 Networks (National and WA)

Records: WSU (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12), UA (5-2, 2-2)

Line: Arizona by 7

Last time: Arizona defeated Washington State 59-37 in Pullman (2014)

What it means for WSU: For starters, a win would mean the Cougars spend another week in the top half of the Pac-12 North standings. It would also mean WSU can secure bowl eligibility with just one win in its final five games. But here’s something else to keep an eye on: If the Cougars can win in Tucson, and Stanford doesn’t slip up against the Huskies, then ESPN College Gameday would have to at least consider making its first trip to Pullman for next week’s matchup between the Cardinal and Cougars.

What it means for UA: A bowl game, for starters. While it would take a monumental collapse to keep the Wildcats out of the postseason, it’s nice to get securing bowl eligibility out of the way. While UA had its struggles against good teams and has dealt with some major injury issues this season, the Wildcats are still in the thick of the Pac-12 South race. A loss to the Cougars and the Wildcats would need a lot of help to get to the Pac-12 Championship Game in Santa Clara, California.

Key matchup: Backup UA quarterback Jerrard Randall vs. WSU safety Shalom Luani

While running back Nick Wilson is the backbone of UA’s impressive run game, ranking No. 4 in the Pac-12 with 683 rushing yards, backup quarterback Jerrard Randal is right behind him, ranking sixth in the conference with 534 net rushing yards. And Randall, who averages 11.1 yards per rush, is the player most likely to rip off some big runs that swing momentum and put the Cougars on their heels. Shalom Luani, whose 33 unassisted tackles are second on the team only to Peyton Pelluer’s 34, will have to be an effective last line of defense when Randall gets free and prevent him from turning those eight-yard scampers into 80-yard scores.

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