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Two-minute drill: Keys to victory for Washington State against Stanford

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 15, 2019

Don’t take your eyes off …

George Hicks III may have been Washington State’s starting cornerback in this game regardless, but the junior will almost certainly get a few more reps than he counted on when the week started. Daniel Isom, who also made two starts at Hicks’ cornerback position, was one of two defensive backs – along with Trey Davis – dismissed for a violation of team rules earlier this week, an immediate and future impact to the the Cougars’ depth in the defensive secondary. Hicks, a 6-foot, 190-pound player from San Bernardino, California, usurped Isom for the starting position in each of the past two games. He leads the team with four pass breakups, to go with one interception, 20 tackles and one tackle for loss.

When Stanford has the ball …

Earlier in the week, Stanford head coach David Shaw decried his team’s tendency to come up short in the red zone. They’re getting there enough – the Cardinal have reached the red zone 28 times this season – but they’re not capitalizing at the rate they should. Stanford’s 28 red-zone attempts have produced 12 touchdowns and the Cardinal’s touchdown percentage in the red zone (46 percent) is easily the worst in the conference. Shaw’s team is the only one in the Pac-12 converting TDs on fewer than 50 percent of its red-zone tries. As the week has progressed, it’s appeared less likely the Cougars will see Stanford’s No. 1 quarterback, K.J. Costello, who’s been downgraded to doubtful with a hand injury. Davis Mills, Costello’s top backup, was a former five-star recruit who had offers from six Pac-12 teams, along with Alabama, Georgia and Michigan, among others.

When WSU has the ball …

Anthony Gordon is allowed a few throwing errors in an offense that has aired it out more than 450 times this season, but the Cougars are 0-3 when he’s thrown more than one interception. The Cougars have lost to UCLA, Utah and Oregon – the only games that have seen Gordon throw two picks. WSU hasn’t lost many fumbles, but the Cougars haven’t won a game in which they’ve lost a fumble, giving the ball away four times in their loss to the Bruins and once more in last week’s defeat at Cal. Stanford ranks in the middle of the pack when it comes to total defense, but the Cardinal aren’t proficient at taking the ball away; their 10 turnovers – six interceptions and four fumble recoveries – rank 11th in the conference. Paulson Adebo, the all-conference cornerback who’s been responsible for four of those six interceptions, has been ruled out of Saturday’s game against the Cougars with an injury.

Did you know?

Dad’s Weekend is an important celebration, not only for Washington State’s student body, but also for many of Cougars football players who can thank their dads for passing along some of those athletic genes. Seven players have fathers have professional athletes, with six of those in football. Quarterback John Bledsoe’s dad, Drew, the former Cougar/New England Patriot, is obviously the most recognizable. Wide receiver Calvin Jackson Jr.’s dad, Calvin Sr., played six seasons for Miami; nose tackle Lamonte McDougle’s father, Stockar, played seven NFL seasons; safety Tyrese Ross’ father, Dominique, was a fullback for the Dallas Cowboys in the late 1990s; “Rush” linebacker Ron Stone Jr’s dad, Ron Sr., was an offensive lineman who went to three Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowls; and quarterback Trey Tinsley’s dad, Scott, spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles. The father of cornerback Derrick Langford, Derrick Sr., was a 52nd-round MLB draft pick by the Atlanta Braves in 1994.

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