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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The pick: Why Washington State will beat Arizona State

PULLMAN – Lincoln Victor has been around the game long enough to expect lots of different defenses. In his third year starting in the slot at Washington State, he’s seen all of it: blitzes, cover-two, cover-three, you name it.

“That’s football,” Victor said. “You’re gonna see so many different looks, various amounts of fronts, various amounts of coverages. And you just gotta be able to adjust on the fly and come to the sideline with solutions.”

The good news for WSU is that, ahead of Saturday’s road game with Arizona State, the Cougars might not see the look that has thwarted their offense this season, the rush-three and drop-eight scheme. The Sun Devils haven’t made that their style.

If that holds, here’s guessing Washington State will end its three-game losing streak and inch one game closer to bowl eligibility.

“It’s hard to just magically, in five days, create a whole package that you put extra DBs on,” WSU head coach Jake Dickert said.

Outside of Oregon and its abundance of athletes, the coverage-heavy scheme is the only type of defense that has slowed Washington State’s offense. ASU doesn’t figure to have the personnel to have luck straying from that look, which bodes well for the Cougars and their offense.

After all, they’re coming off a somewhat encouraging outing, hanging with the Ducks for a half. In those 30 minutes, WSU’s offensive line pass-blocked better than it had in a month, and with a starting lineup set in stone, the Cougars feel even better about their chances up front. If WSU has figured out something in that regard, watch out.

The pick: Washington State 27, Arizona State 24.