Washington State (0-1) vs. Portland State (0-1)
3 p.m. Saturday, Martin Stadium
TV/Radio: Pac-12 Networks; 770 KTTH AM
Latest line: No official line
WSU key players
QB Jayden de Laura: 12 of 22, 155 yards, 1 TD
RB Max Borghi: 11 rushes, 86 yards, 1 TD
WR Calvin Jackson Jr.: 7 receptions, 91 yards
LB Jahad Woods: 13 tackles
Portland State key players
QB Davis Alexander: 23 of 47, 400 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
RB Malik Walker: 11 rushes, 58 yards, 1 TDs
WR Beau Kelly: 6 rec., 132 yards, 1 TD
LB Justice Pagan: 10 tackles, 1 sack
Take early control
The Cougars started slowly against Utah State, were never able to put the Aggies away, and that ended up being very costly. Washington State needs to start quickly, and if it can open up a quick two-touchdown lead, it might become a rather easy win for the Cougars. But if WSU allows Portland State to stay in the game early, it could get really intense late at Martin Stadoum.
We’ll say it again … run the ball
Max Borghi is one of the best running backs in the country, and you might stop him for a while, but he will eventually break loose, like he did on a 64-yard touchdown run against Utah State after a slow start. If defenses know they have to key on stopping Borghi, it will be much easier for quarterback Jayden de Laura to excel.
Finish off drives
Perhaps the biggest reason Washington State lost to Utah State was that it scored one touchdown in five red-zone opportunities. The most costly miss came in the fourth quarter after WSU moved to the Utah State 2 but was forced to try a field goal, which was missed. When the Cougars get in the red zone, they must do better than scoring touchdowns 20% of the time, no matter the opponent.
Portland State can score points, which makes it a dangerous game for the Cougars, who need to give the Vikings their full attention. Expecting a rebound from WSU, which cannot afford to lose this game.
Prediction: Washington State 48, Portland State 27