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The pick: Why Washington State will beat Portland State

By Colton Clark The Spokesman-Review

PULLMAN – I predicted last week that Washington State would bag a win against Utah State because the program was in desperate need of a positive development.

Well, the Cougars blew a lead and lost in heartbreaking fashion, right at the end. And there were some moments WSU and coach Nick Rolovich won’t be living down for a while.

Now the Cougs REALLY need a victory over Portland State, and a smooth one at that. If the Vikings topple WSU for the second time in six years, can you imagine the uproar?

Bettors have WSU as a 14.5-point favorite, but a two-touchdown win against an FCS opponent might be a bit too close for comfort.

The Cougars will host USC next. They’d be well advised to sort out some shortcomings ahead of that one.

I expect they’ll enter Saturday’s game angry, eager to save face and garner momentum before Pac-12 play begins. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at Gesa Field.

Jayden de Laura will make an efficient start and keep the Vikings’ underdeveloped defense off-balance with his legs, opening the door for Max Borghi to rumble for over 100 yards on a Vikings defense that got hammered on the ground by Hawaii last week. WSU’s defense will rebound from a rough fourth quarter against the Aggies and force a turnover-prone PSU offense into two or three early giveaways.

The Vikings didn’t play a game in 2020 and they’re 4-41 against FBS teams all time. The Cougars have a clear edge in talent, size, depth and experience. They should be able to coast past PSU.

The pick: Washington State 40, Portland State 20