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Sun Bowl notebook: Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura sits in second half; Calvin Jackson Jr. sustains injury

Cougars quarterback Jayden de Laura reacts after being sacked by Chippewas lineman Thomas Incoom Friday at the Sun Bowl.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
By Colton Clark The Spokesman-Review

EL PASO, Texas – Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura absorbed three sacks and was often scrambling for his life in the first half behind a makeshift offensive line.

At the start of the third quarter, the sophomore signal-caller was absent from the Cougars’ lineup – their sideline, too.

De Laura didn’t take the field with the Cougars in the second half of their Sun Bowl matchup with Central Michigan on Friday.

He walked to the locker room with a limp at the end of the first half, according to Travis Green of KREM-TV. Sophomore walk-on Victor Gabalis filled in at quarterback.

Four WSU QBs made the trip to El Paso – de Laura, Gabalis and true freshmen Luke Holcomb and Chris Irvin. Tennessee transfer Jarrett Guarantano apparently decided to end his college career a game early.

The Cougars trailed the Chippewas 21-0 at the half. CMU outgained its opponent 197-48.

WSU’s short-handed offensive line – missing senior tackles Abraham Lucas and Liam Ryan – couldn’t protect de Laura, who was sacked three times.

The Cougars started true freshman Christian Hilborn in place of Lucas at right tackle, then removed him at the start of the second quarter after he was beat off the edge on two plays that ended in sacks.

Right guard Ma’ake Fifita slid to right tackle and true freshman Brock Dieu made his collegiate debut, taking over for Fifita.

The Cougars were also without standout slotback Calvin Jackson Jr., who exited the game midway through the second quarter with an unspecified injury.

Jackson, the Cougars’ top target and the Pac-12’s No. 2 receiver this year (955 yards), got twisted up and brought down awkwardly early in the first quarter. He played a few more drives while the Cougars struggled to find any spark on offense before heading to the injury tent, then to the locker room.

Jackson totaled 32 yards on three catches – with a long of 32 yards.