The Cougars head to Tempe to face the Arizona State Sun Devils amid accusations of sign stealing. A trip to Pasadena is still on the table.
A Rose Bowl appearance is still on the table for the Washington State Cougars if they can run the table, or at least come close. Standing in their way tomorrow is the Arizona State Sun Devils, who were accused by Cougars’ head coach Mike Leach of stealing their signs this week. Leach’s comments were so… disparaging that the Pac-12 fined him $10,000 and officially reprimanded him yesterday.
Leach is not alone in accusing the Sun Devils of trying to crack their code. Utah, Washington, and Oregon have also made accusations against Arizona State in the past, with the latter two teams even setting up curtains on the sideline to hide their signals. Technically it’s not illegal to steal signs unless you set up audio or visual recording equipment to do so in a Bellicheckian espionage operation, but you can bet the Cougars will take precautions when signaling plays tomorrow.
The Cougars can ill afford an upset against the 2-2 Sun Devils. Arizona State started the season as hot as the desert, winning four in a row. Then conference play started, and they have since dropped two of their past three.
The Sun Devils sound like they’ll roll with quarterback Manny Wilkins, even though he was clearly limited in his last game against Colorado after spraining an ankle a few weeks prior. Arizona State will need him able to run and keep the Cougars from coming up to stuff hand-offs.
Expect full Air Raid mode for Luke Falk and company. Falk is second in the country in completion percentage at 71.5% and fifth in the FBS in passing yards per game with 352. He’ll face an Arizona State team that is dead last in passing defense, allowing an average of 384.4 yards per game. It could be a shootout in Tempe, but my guess is the Cougars’ defense makes some critical stops and allows the offense to put up the points they need to win.
Cougars 31, Sun Devils 21.