Jayden de Laura was unable to deliver a victory for the Washington State football team Saturday night against Utah State, but the sophomore quarterback did enough in relief of injured Jarrett Guarantano to be the likely starter this Saturday against Portland State.

De Laura entered Saturday’s game with the Cougars trailing 5-3 and rallied the Cougars to a 23-11 lead in the fourth quarter before two late touchdowns gave the Aggies a 26-23 lead.

WSU coach Nick Rolovich said Guarantano was being examined Monday and the only update the coach gave was that he didn’t think it was a season-ending injury. Rolovich was asked if he knew who would start at quarterback if Guarantano were able to play against Portland State.

“I think I would lean to Jayden right now with all things considered,” Rolovich said. “I thought Jayden came in — to his credit — with maybe a more mature mindset, and handled the decision when we told him (Guarantano was going to start against Utah State) very well.

“I’ve got to give the kid credit for how he has handled it. I think he matured. He didn’t have spring ball and there were still some things at camp that gave me a little pause — but I know we lost and I know he could have done some better things, but he brings energy and I thought he was mature in his decisions and in his presence. I didn’t give him enough (credit) until after the game as far as how he handled himself.”

De Laura was 17 of 24 for 155 yards, with one interception and one touchdown. Guarantano was 8 of 13 for 56 yards before leaving with a knee injury.

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“Without knowing exactly what’s going on with Jarrett, I would anticipate going with Jayden,” Rolovich said.

Rolovich added, “I don’t think we threw the ball particularly well, and that’s not the (fault of the) quarterback position entirely.”

“The whole passing game was sub-par,” he said. “We need to get more out of the drop-back game.”

Still disappointed

Rolovich said “disappointing” was the word to describe Saturday’s loss, citing Utah State’s two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter that sandwiched a three-and-out by the Cougars offense.

“We had an opportunity on both sides of the ball to win that game,” he said. “We had an opportunity to win that game when we had a three-and-out (on offense) and their last two drives on defense and we weren’t able to get it done. We don’t care (which unit) wins the game, we’ve just got to be looking forward to that opportunity to win the game.

“I am not sure we were in the right mindset, which falls on me.”

Note

Safety Daniel Isom left Saturday’s game in the first half with an apparent arm injury, and center Brian Greene also left the first half with an undisclosed injury. Rolovich said their injuries, like Guarantano’s, did not appear to be season-ending. Rolovich would not elaborate beyond that.