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Sports >  WSU football

Recap and highlights: Washington State wins back-and-forth battle with Stanford to extend Pac-12 win streak to three games

UPDATED: Sat., Oct. 16, 2021


PULLMAN – A double-digit Washington State lead dissolved in the fourth quarter, but the Cougars punched in a go-ahead touchdown with less than two minutes left to beat Stanford 34-31 and collect their third consecutive victory.

With 1:30 left in the game, Jayden de Laura uncorked a 41-yard pass to Calvin Jackson Jr. and the Cougars took a three-point lead five plays later on Max Borghi’s 2-yard touchdown plunge. On Stanford’s final possession, Quinn Roff sacked quarterback Tanner McKee and Brennan Jackson recovered the loose ball to clinch the victory.

A three-game home stand for WSU (4-3, 3-2) continues next Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against BYU (5-2) The game will air on FS1. The Cougars now need to win just two of their final five games to secure bowl eligibility.

The Cougars were leading 27-16 in the third quarter and could’ve created a three-score cushion, but a controversial pass interference call on cornerback Derrick Langford from WSU’s 35-yard line allowed Stanford’s offense to stay on the field and close the deficit to three points on Tanner McKee’s 1-yard touchdown run.

WSU’s offense went three-and-out on the next possession and the Cardinal finished an 11-play, 85-yard drive in the end zone when McKee connected with running back Austin Jones for an 8-yard touchdown.

De Laura finished the game 17 of 30 passing for 289 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. In arguably his best game this season, Borghi had a career-high 17 carries for 89 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner.

First quarter

13:36 - WSU 0, STAN 0: Tanner McKee completes a 7-yard pass to Silas Starr for a first down on third-and-6 for the Cardinal’s first first down of the game.

11:10 - STAN 7, WSU 0: Tanner McKee lobs a pass to a wide open tight end Benjamin Yurosek over the middle, who takes it in for a 45-yard touchdown.

9:41 - STAN 7, WSU 0: The Cougars’ first drive is saved from a three-and-out by a Stanford penalty on fourth down. WSU also loses 15 yards on a personal foul after the play, moving the Cougs back to their own 15.

7:32 - STAN 7, WSU 0: Stanford stalls the Cougar offense after the penalty and open its next drive with a first down run.

4:45 - STAN 10, WSU 0: Joshua Karty’s 51-yard field goal is good.

3:32 - STAN 10, WSU 0: After the Cougars are forced to punt, Jahad Woods – WSU’s leading tackler – is called for targeting and ejected. 

0:13 - STAN 13, WSU 0: Joshua Karty’s 32-yard field goal is good.

Second quarter

13:24 - STAN 13, WSU 7: Jayden de Laura completes a 32-yard touchdown to Travell Harris, answering three straight scoring drives by the Cardinal.

12:19 - STAN 13, WSU 7: Stanford punts to the WSU 30, where a personal four gives the Cougars an extra 15 yards to start their drive.

9:21 - WSU 13, STAN 13: In the blink of an eye the Cougars tie the game. Jayden de Laura makes a beautiful throw while being hit for a 31-yard touchdown to Calvin Jackson Jr. The PAT is blocked.

3:52 - WSU 13, STAN 13: The Cougars call a timeout facing a fourth-and-one from the Stanford 9. De Laura started off the drive with four straight completions for 47 yards, before a drop on an out route ended his streak in the red zone.

3:19 - WSU 13, STAN 13: Jayden de Laura spins out of a sack and has room in front of him with a blocker to pick up the first down, but fires it incomplete into the endzone, on a pass that should have been caught. Cougars turn it over on downs at the Stanford 9.

3:14 - WSU 13, STAN 13: The Cougars get the ball right back as Justus Rogers forces Nathaniel Peat to fumble, recovered by Chris Jackson at the Cardinal 10.

3:07 - WSU 20, STAN 13: Jayden de Laura immediately capitalizes on the Stanford turnover with a 10-yard touchdown pass to De’Zhaun Stribling. This time Dean Janikowski’s PAT finds it way through the uprights.

0:39 - WSU 20, STAN 16: Joshua Karty moves to 3-for-3 on the day with a 31-yard field goal.


Washington State was sluggish in the first quarter with 30 total yards and zero third down conversions. The Cougars came to life in the second quarter with three touchdowns and 183 yards take the lead into halftime.

The Cougar defense has stopped the Cardinal in the redzone twice and held Stanford to three field goals since scoring on its opening possession.

Jayden de Laura continues to be a difference maker on the WSU offense. He is 11-for-17 with 137 yards and three touchdowns through the air. 

Third quarter

13:59 - WSU 20, STAN 13: Jayden de Laura opens up his second half where he left off in the first, completing a 48-yard bomb, this time to Lincoln Victor to the Stanford 29.

12:04 - WSU 20, STAN 13: Cougars opt to go for it on fourth-and-four from the Stanford 17 and Jayden de Laura fires a pass out of bounds for a turnover on downs. WSU was well within field goal range and pass up an opportunity to go up by seven points. 

4:34 - WSU 27, STAN 16: Max Borghi punches in a 2-yard touchdown, after a seven play 68-yard drive that included five runs for 20 yards and two passes for 48.

Fourth quarter

14:06 - WSU 27, STAN 24: Tanner McKee scores a 1-yard quarterback sneak up the middle to pull within a field goal after a nine play 74-yard drive. The 2-pt conversion is good, as McKee pulls down a read-option to walk into the endzone. The Cougars were called for a questionable pass interference earlier in the drive.

13:00 - WSU 27, STAN 24: Jayden de Laura’s pass glances off the hands of an outstretched Calvin Jackson Jr. on third down and the Cougars are forced to punt. Stanford takes over on their own 15.

7:32 - STAN 31, WSU 27: The Cardinal storm back in the fourth quarter to retake the lead. Tanner McKee completes an 8-yard touchdown to Austin Jones, who bulldozes WSU defenders into the endzone.

6:27 - STAN 31, WSU 27: The Cougars go three-and-out. Stanford starts at its own 35 following a fair catch.

3:33 - STAN 31, WSU 27: Brennan Jackson sacks Tanner McKee on third down for a loss of six and the Cardinal are forced to punt. WSU takes over on its own 30 after a 25-yard kick.

3:26 - STAN 31, WSU 27: Jayden de Laura opens the Cougar drive with a 41-yard pass to Calvin Jackson Jr. down to the Stanford 29.

1:30 - WSU 34, STAN 31: Max Borghi spins around defenders and extends for a 2-yard touchdown to put WSU back in front.  

0:37 - WSU 34, STAN 31: After a Ron Stone Jr. sack, Tanner McKee is pressured again and scrambles for four yards to set up third-and-13.

0:27 - WSU 34, STAN 31: Quinn Roff strips Tanner McKee of the ball on a sack, which is recovered by Brennan Jackson to give the Cougars their third straight win.


Washington State (3-3, 2-2 Pac-12) will host Stanford (3-3, 2-2) at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU, in the Cougs’ latest kickoff since the 8 p.m. season opener against Utah State. The Cougars are coming off a 31-24 upset of Oregon State, while the Cardinal fell 28-10 in a letdown to Arizona State, after beating No. 3 Oregon the week prior.

The only mutual opponent WSU and Stanford has faced is USC, who the Cardinal beat 42-28 in Week 2 and the Cougars lost to 45-14 in Week 3. Though Oregon State also beat the Trojans before playing WSU.

WSU head coach Nick Rolovich watches the second half against Oregon State on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Pullman, Wash. (Associated Press)
WSU head coach Nick Rolovich watches the second half against Oregon State on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Pullman, Wash. (Associated Press)

Rolovich saga looms

Washington State could be playing the final game of the Rolovich era Saturday. The Cougar head coach has made national headlines announcing his refusal to receive a COVID-19 during the summer, and it being released that he is seeking a religious exemption to the state mandate before the game against Oregon State.

Rolovich’s exemption could be approved or denied at any point between now and the deadline on Monday, but there is no telling when Washington State will announce the status of its head football coach.

Rolovich enters the Stanford game with a 4-6, 3-5 Pac-12 record in two seasons.

Series history

Stanford leads the all-time series 40-29-1 over WSU, dating back to the first meeting in 1936 that WSU won 14-13.

The Cougars have won the last four over the Cardinal, lastly a 49-22 home win in 2019. Before the last four wins, Stanford tied the series’ longest win streak with eight straight from 2008-2015.

Stanford head coach David Shaw – the third highest paid coach in the country – is 5-4 against the Cougars.

Team stats

Scoring WSU STAN
Points Per Game 24.33 25.83
Points Allowed Per Game 24.83 27
Total Yards 371.8 352.2
     Yards Passing 259 254.2
     Yards Rushing 112.8 98
Yards Allowed 399.5 408.2
     Pass Yards Allowed 230.5 188.4
     Rush Yards Allowed 169 219.8

Individual leaders

PASSING Att.-Comp. Yards TD Int.
Jayden de Laura (WSU) 100-157 1,187 12 5
Tanner McKee (Stan) 116-183 1,449 12 3
RUSHING Carries Yards TD
Max Borghi (WSU) 65 332 3
Nathaniel Peat (Stan) 49 306 2
RECEIVING Receptions Yards TD
Calvin Jackson Jr. (WSU) 35 404 3
Elijah Higgins (Stan) 29 383 4

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