Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
Sports >  WSU football

Two-minute drill: Keys to victory for No. 22 Washington State against Northern Colorado

Sept. 6, 2019 Updated Fri., Sept. 6, 2019 at 7:14 p.m.

Don’t take your eyes off …

The Cougars have options aplenty at the “X” wide receiver position and head coach Mike Leach said he’d use the week to decide which two would play in the rotation against Northern Colorado – and perhaps for the foreseeable future. Redshirt freshman Rodrick Fisher got the starting nod against New Mexico State and traded reps with junior Tay Martin. Those two combined for eight catches, 123 yards and a touchdown. Senior Calvin Jackson Jr. only played in a limited role against the Aggies, but he was ahead of Fisher and Martin on the depth chart midway through fall camp. When the competition is this tight, Leach typically rewards the players who’ve performed well in practice, but it’s anyone’s guess as to which combination of Fisher, Martin and Jackson we’ll see Saturday.

When UNC has the ball …

Jacob Knipp, Northern Colorado’s veteran quarterback, applied for and received a sixth-year waiver from the NCAA after an ankle injury sidelined him the final nine games of the 2018 season. Some consider the strong-armed Knipp a fringe NFL prospect – one of four or five QBs in the Big Sky Conference who may have a chance to play professionally – and he has the career numbers to back up those assertions. The 6-foot-4 QB entered the season ranked third in career yardage at UNC (currently at 4,035). If Knipp throws at least one touchdown against the Cougars, he’ll move up to second on the school’s all-time list. But staying healthy has been a battle for him; hispast three seasons in Greeley have been shortened due to injury.

When WSU has the ball …

Keep tabs on how the Cougars rotate their running backs. Max Borghi, coming off a 10-carry, 128-yard game, will get the lion’s share of the touches in the backfield, but it’s unclear how Leach will use the other two players in the rotation, redshirt junior Clay Markoff and East Mississippi Community College transfer Deon McIntosh. With his experience, McIntosh, who has 265 career carries between Notre Dame and EMCC, would seem to be the next choice after Borghi, but Markoff was the primary backup against New Mexico State. He had just 9 yards on five carries, while McIntosh carried the ball only once. McIntosh can get to the line of scrimmage in a hurry and is much quicker laterally, but Markoff’s size makes him a more suitable option in short-yardage situations.

Did you know?

Between the two rosters, there are eight players who list Arvada, Colorado, as their hometown. Four are former teammates at Pomona High School, located 20 minutes outside of Denver. WSU’s sophomore running back, Borghi, and freshman wide receiver Billy Pospisil both starred for a Panthers team that won the Colorado 5A state title, as did Northern Colorado freshman running back Theorius Robison and freshman wide receiver David Ross. Knipp attended Pomona’s rival, Ralston Valley, as did linebacker Ben Schneider and kicker/punter Ben Raybon.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Cougs newsletter

Get the latest Cougs headlines delivered to your inbox as they happen.