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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

WSU’s Smith-Wade, Watson both questionable for home game against Stanford

Washington State Cougars running back Nakia Watson (25) runs the ball against Arizona Wildcats safety Gunner Maldonado (9) during the first half of a college football game on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, at Gesa Field in Pullman, Wash.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN — The injury list is piling up for Washington State, but the team is getting more clarity on that front.

Cornerback Chau Smith-Wade, who missed his team’s loss to Arizona State over the weekend with a soft-tissue injury, remains day-to-day, head coach Jake Dickert said Monday.

Running back Nakia Watson, who left the game late in the fourth quarter after suffering a leg/ankle injury on a nine-yard reception, didn’t break anything, Dickert said.

“We feel positive about hopefully seeing his return,” Dickert said of Watson, who he said will be kept away from contact during practice this week.

If either is unavailable for WSU’s home game against Stanford on Saturday, the Cougars would be missing critical pieces. Smith-Wade is the team’s best cornerback, and Watson is the every-down running back, providing pass-protection even when he’s struggled to develop a rhythm on the ground.

Smith-Wade, the Cougs’ highest-graded coverage player per Pro Football Focus, has earned a 79.2 coverage grade this season. He’s recorded seven pass-breakups, tops on the team, and he’s held up well guarding the opposing team’s best receiver.

On Saturday, Watson carried seven times for 30 yards (with a long rush of 16 yards), plus three catches for 10 yards.