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Sports >  WSU football

Recap and highlights: Washington State intercepts former QB Jayden de Laura four times, roll past Arizona 31-20

Nov. 19, 2022 Updated Sat., Nov. 19, 2022 at 6:01 p.m.

From staff reports

TUCSON, Ariz. – Boil two players performance to a one-game sample and its clear Washington State has an upgrade at quarterback.

Cameron Ward shined in the first half and Jayden de Laura made gaffe after gaffe in the second as the Cougars rolled to their third straight win, a 31-20 rout of Arizona in the desert.

Ward completed 25 of 36 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. He added eight carries for 59 yards and a score.

The Cougars (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12) offense struggled to score in the second half for the second consecutive week, but de Laura helped out his former team with three third-quarter interceptions – including one returned for a touchdown.

A week removed from saying this game was “personal,” De Laura finished 28 of 46 for 357 yards, one touchdown and a career-high four interceptions.

The Wildcats (4-7, 2-6) gained 441 yards of offense, but converted just 2 of 11 third down attempts and were 1 of 3 on fourth. They made the score look closer than it was with a late touchdown.

The loss dropped Arizona out of postseason contention.

Meanwhile, the Cougars continue to rise their stock. The regular season concludes with a home Apple Cup against Washington next Saturday. Time and broadcast are TBA.

Pac-12 Network / Youtube

First quarter

15:00 – UA 0, WSU 0: Cougars receive the opening kickoff and start on the Arizona 25.

11:31 – WSU 7, UA 0: Cougars march right down the field for an 11-play 75-yard drive that is capped with a 4-yard pass from Ward to Watson.

Ward 6 of 8 for 55 yards on the opening drive. The Cougars ran three times for 15 yards.

9:52 – WSU 7, UA 0: De Laura is pressured in the backfield on the first two plays, including a sack by Roff and the Wildcats punt after three plays.

Ferrell returns the punt 15 yards to the WSU 48.

9:19 – WSU 7, UA 0: Ollie makes a great one-handed catch in stride over the middle and runs into the endzone, before coughing the ball up at the 20 where the Wildcats recover.

Potential momentum killer for WSU.

4:21 – WSU 7, UA 0: Wildcats go for it on 4th down from the 25 and are stopped a yard short after an end-around. Long drive comes up empty after the Cougars fumble.

2:33 – WSU 7, UA 0: Cougars go for it on 4th deep in their own end and after an errant snap, Ward dances around in the backfield and somehow completes it to Watson for a first down.

Risky decision pays off for Dickert.

0:17 – WSU 7, UA 0: Cougars are dropped in the backfield on three straight plays after the conversion. Arizona starts on its 15.

Second quarter

11:51 – WSU 7, UA 0: Another failed 4th down conversion for Arizona, this time at the WSU 40.

Wildcats are moving the ball with 5.2 yards a play, but have no points to show for it. Both teams fairly even on total offense, Cougars a slight edge at 125-115.

Ward: 10 of 13, 93 yards and 1 TD. De Laura: 8 of 13, 74 yards.

9:06 – WSU 14, UA 0: Ward pulls down a read option keeper and cruises in untouched for a 17-yard touchdown to extend the Cougars lead.

6:28 – WSU 14, UA 3: Arizona gets a big play on a 47-yard pass from de Laura to McMillan, but are stopped in WSU territory and settle for a 38-yard field goal, which is converted by Loop.

Wildcats on the board, but they’ll need touchdowns to keep up the way the Cougars are moving the ball today.

1:27 – WSU 21, UA 3: Watson powers ahead for an easy 2-yard touchdown run and its all Cougars in the first half.

12-play, 63-yard drive takes 5:04 off the clock. Watson has nine carries for 37 yards, but Ward has been WSU’s top rusher with six for 52.

0:30 – WSU 21, UA 6: Loop’s 47-yard attempt is good and the Wildcats will go into halftime down two scores. Arizona will receive the second half kickoff.

Halftime

Washington State will be happy Cameron Ward is the quarterback in crimson through 30 minutes.

Ward led the Cougars to a 21-6 halftime lead over Arizona and former WSU quarterback Jayden de Laura in Tucson, Arizona.

Ward completed 18 of 24 attempts for 148 yards and a touchdown and is the Cougars leading rusher with six attempts for 52 yards and a score.

De Laura is 12 of 22 for 166 yards.

The Cougars can’t get complacent, as they took a 28-point lead into halftime last week against Arizona State and nearly allowed a comeback, after being held scoreless in the final two quarters.

Arizona will receive the second half kickoff, a drive away from cutting the deficit to a one-score lead.

The Wildcats have moved the ball, but have been stifled on third and fourth downs, converting 2 of 7 and 0 of 2, respectively.

Third quarter

13:34 – WSU 21, UA 6: Wildcats can’t get anything going and punt for the second time today.

Cougars start on their own 27 after a big hit on Ferrel.

11:28 – WSU 21, UA 6: Ward fights for the line to gain on a 4th and 2 from the Arizona 40, but his knee touches down a yard shy and the Wildcats will take over.

9:30 – WSU 21, UA 6: Wildcats opt to punt instead of another 4th down try near midfield. WSU starts on its 20.

7:41 – WSU 21, UA 6: Nothing doing for the Cougars, who punt to the Arizona 30.

7:05 – WSU 21, UA 6: De Laura gives it right back to WSU with an interception to Lockett III at the 50, returned to the Arizona 19.

5:41 – WSU 24, UA 6: A wacky redzone sequence results in a WSU field goal.

Earlier, Watson fumbled diving toward the pylon and what was initially ruled a touchdown was reversed. It was ruled that Watson fumbled out of bounds short of the endzone, so the Cougars retained possession, rather than giving it to Arizona for a touchback.

Then on third down Ward’s horizontal pass was ruled to be forward, but nearly resulted in a backwards pass fumble, that the Wildcats recovered for a touchdown. Bell was injured on the play. 

4:45 – WSU 31, UA 6: Someone tell de Laura he isn’t in Pullman anymore. He keeps throwing to guys in crimson. Langford nabs an easy interception and strolls into the endzone for a touchdown. That’s back-to-back picks for the Cougars defense.

1:13 – WSU 31, UA 6: There’s another pass from de Laura to his former teammates – his third interception of the half – this one back to Lockett III at the WSU 4.

Fourth quarter

13:22 – WSU 31, UA 6: Another punt for the Cougars. Arizona will start on its 34 and will try to avoid a fourth-straight possession with a turnover.

10:41 – WSU 31, UA 13: De Laura scrambles for an 11-yard touchdown to cap an 8-play, 66-yard drive.

Wildcats still down three scores.

6:29 – WSU 31, UA 13: Janikowski’s field goal is no good from 53 yards. Arizona starts at the 43.

3:51 – WSU 31, UA 13: Make it four interceptions for de Laura, as this one goes to Marsh at the WSU 49.

1:16 – WSU 31, UA 20: De Laura hits Singer for a 47-yard touchdown and there’s some consolation, at least, for the former Cougars QB.

Pregame

TUSCON, Ariz. – Jake Dickert can downplay the revenge angle all he wants, Jayden de Laura made his feelings known after his teams’ biggest win in eight years.

This one is personal.

De Laura and Arizona will host his former team, Washington State, for a high noon duel in the dessert on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. PST on Pac-12 Network.

The Wildcats (4-6, 2-5 Pac-12) have been resurgent under de Laura and head coach Jeff Fisch in his second season, bouncing back from a 1-16 record over the 2020-21 seasons. Last week de Laura threw for 315 yards and two touchdowns during a 34-28 road upset of then-No. 9 UCLA. 

Afterwards he made it known the game against Washington State – which he transferred from last year – was circled on his calendar.

“This game? It’s personal,” de Laura said, adding to watch and see what happens.

We’ll do just that.

Washington State and coach Dickert got off the schneid with a 52-14 rout of Stanford on Nov. 5 and followed that with a 28-18 win over Arizona State last week.

The Cougars (6-4, 3-4) rolled to a 28-0 lead over the Sun Devils at halftime, before moseying through the second half and nearly squandering their lead.

Washington State won’t want to fall asleep in this one. Arizona boasts the nation’s No. 1 big play offense at 18.6% – gaining runs of over 12 yards and passes of over 15 on nearly 1 in 5 plays. 

If they needed any more motivation, the Wildcats need wins over the Cougars and rival Arizona State to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2017.

Expect points, and maybe a few exchanged words. 

Series history

Arizona holds a 27-18-0 all-time series lead over Washington State, but has lost four of the past five meetings dating back to 2015. 

The Cougars rolled the Wildcats 44-18 last year under then-interim coach Jake Dickert. Quarterback Jayden de Laura threw for 259 yards and four touchdowns, which Max Borghi ran for 139 yards and two scores.

Team stats

Scoring WSU (6-4, 3-4) UA (4-6, 2-5)
Points Per Game 26.9 31.2
Points Allowed Per Game 19.8 37.2
Total Yards 371.9 462.8
     Yards Passing 261.1 326.4
     Yards Rushing 110.8 136.4
Yards Allowed 358.5 472.1
     Pass Yards Allowed 261.1 253.4
     Rush Yards Allowed 110.8 218.7

Individual leaders

PASSING Att.-Comp. Yards TD Int.
Cameron Ward (WSU) 240-377 2,579 20 8
Jayden de Laura (UA) 232-366 3,128 24 8
RUSHING Carries Yards TD
Nakia Watson (WSU) 100 607 6
Michael Wiley (UA) 94 507 5
RECEIVING Receptions Yards TD
De’Zhaun Stribling (WSU) 41 512 5
Jacob Cowing (UA) 74 964 7

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