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Difference makers: Jayden de Laura’s arm, feet help Washington State secure season-opening win

Jayden de Laura

The Honolulu native became the first true freshman to start for Washington State in a season opener and didn’t stop there. De Laura’s college debut went better than scripted, as the Hawaiian signal-caller accounted for three touchdowns in Washington State’s 38-28 win over Oregon State. With his ability to scramble, de Laura added an element to WSU’s offense the Cougars haven’t seen in years, and perhaps not since another Saint Louis High graduate, Jason Gesser, played in Pullman. De Laura ran for one touchdown and finished with eight carries for 43 yards. He completed 18-of-33 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns through the air. 

Deon McIntosh

With Max Borghi unavailable because of a back injury, McIntosh was primed for a bigger role in the season opener. He took full advantage, rushing 18 times for 147 yards and one touchdown, giving the Cougars’ run-and-shoot offense a reliable ground presence all game. McIntosh’s 147 yards marked the first time a WSU player had that many in 13 years, when Dwight Tardy rushed for 214 against UCLA in 2007. It was also a career-high for McIntosh, who hadn’t gone over 100 yards since 2017 at Notre Dame when he rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns against North Carolina.

Travell Harris

If Saturday was any indication, it looks like the wide receiver from Florida will be used in a multitude of ways this season. The junior was a reliable target for de Laura, catching seven passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns, but the Cougars also called two handoffs for the receiver, who took the second one to the house for a 44-yard touchdown. Harris’ two carries – the first two of his career at WSU – went for a total of 49 yards. With two kick returns for 27 yards, Harris finished with 183 all-purpose yards.