PULLMAN – It could be Nick Rolovich’s last hurrah at Washington State.
Or maybe the Cougars are just getting started under their second-year coach.
Rolovich’s employment hangs in the balance. The judgment day, Monday, is fast approaching. It’s uncertain whether he’ll get the thumbs-up to remain WSU’s coach. Rolovich applied for a religious exemption in hopes of complying with a state COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
Meanwhile, the Cougars (3-3, 2-2 Pac-12) have the wind at their backs. They appear to be playing their best football of the Rolovich era. The timing of their breakthrough is certainly odd.
As the walls close in on Rolovich, his distinctive run-and-shoot offense – after 10 games in use at WSU – is finally beginning to click. It flowed to the tune of a two-year-high 491 yards in the Cougars’ upset last weekend of Oregon State, which entered the week as perhaps the Pac-12’s hottest team.
“You’re getting a chance to see coach Rolo’s influence, and his players buying in and knowing what to do,” said Stanford coach David Shaw, whose Cardinal will visit Pullman on Saturday to meet the surging Cougars in a conference game.
“I think you see a team that’s maturing and really coming together, and believing in the schemes they’re running,” Shaw said.
WSU, which hasn’t lost to Stanford in the past four matchups, will again play spirited ball for its embattled boss. The Cougars’ pass-first offense will get a boost from its run game against a Cardinal defense that’s been porous on the ground.
The pick: Washington State 38, Stanford 27