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Sports >  WSU football

The pick: Why Utah will beat Washington State

Oct. 26, 2022 Updated Wed., Oct. 26, 2022 at 5:14 p.m.

PULLMAN – Washington State and Utah will meet for a late kickoff on a Thursday night in uncomfortably cold temperatures on the Palouse. How weird could it get?

An early-week “Pac-12 After Dark” game in Pullman – a college football setting with a flair for the dramatic – seems like a hotbed for oddities.

So, based on that hunch, I figure it’ll be an entertaining and sometimes wacky matchup between the Pac-12’s reigning champion and a Cougars squad that’s in desperate need of a midseason pick-me-up.

This conference tends to be a bit unpredictable. It would be on-brand for WSU, coming into the game at a low point of its season, to snap its two-game skid in stunning fashion.

I won’t be making that bold a guess. Too many signs point to Utah.

Ranked 14th in the nation, the Utes re-entered the Pac-12 title conversation a couple of weeks ago, when they won a shootout against No. 7 USC.

The Cougars are playing with urgency and back at home after dropping a pair of road games. They’ll keep things interesting.

But I’m siding with the bettors here and giving the nod to the visitors by a touchdown or so.

The Utes’ offense is clicking . I’m not sure how long the Cougars’ defense can withstand the highly productive duo of All-Pac-12 quarterback Cameron Rising and star tight end Dalton Kincaid.

The Cougars’ offense struggled mightily in its past two games. I’m certainly doubtful about the WSU offensive line’s ability to hold up against Utah’s physical defensive front.

The two defenses are similarly sound up front, but the Utes have a considerable edge in passing coverage.

The Cougars aren’t running the ball well. They will need to rely on their aerial attack against the top-ranked passing defense in the Pac-12.

The Utes routed Oregon State and topped USC this month. WSU lost by two touchdowns to both of those teams this month.

WSU hasn’t had much success versus Utah in recent history. The Cougars have dropped three consecutive games against the Utes – all in Salt Lake City – since 2019. Each of those losses came by double digits.

The pick: Utah 35, Washington State 26

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