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Arizona vs. Washington State: Cliff Notes on the Cougars

Some quick hits on Arizona’s opponent this week

NCAA Football: Washington at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Red-hot Cougars

The Washington State Cougars (6-2, 5-0) enter Saturday’s contest red-hot, having won six games in a row. Last week, redshirt junior quarterback Luke Falk orchestrated a 22 point third quarter to erase a 21 point deficit in a 35-32 comeback win on the road against Oregon State. Falk, who is a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award, averages 365.8 passing yards a game this season, good for second in the country. He also leads the nation with a 72.6 completion percentage. Falk is currently the FBS active career passing yards per game leader with a 359.7 clip.

WSU is ranked No. 25 in both the AP and Coaches Poll for the first time this season.

Mike Leach

This year is head coach Mike Leach’s fifth in Pullman, who made his Pac-12 debut along with Rich Rodriguez. The Cougars are fresh off a 20-14 Sun Bowl victory against Miami last year and are on a collision course with Washington to most likely settle this season’s North Division title in the Apple Cup later this month.

Leach is notorious for ruffling feathers amongst his football coaching peers, and this year is no different. Two weeks ago, he accused Arizona State of stealing signals. That prompted Todd Graham to call him “chicken****” during an icy post-game handshake after the Cougar win in Tempe. Leach was fined $10,000 for his comments by the conference and he has a history of going rogue. Some of his most memorable (and funny) quotes are compiled in this Seattle Times piece.

It is well-documented that Leach is a cerebral guy who has a master’s degree from the U.S. Sports Academy and a law degree from Pepperdine. His wide range of interests includes pirates, apaches, sharks, and whales. He also authored a book called Swing Your Sword for a personal account of his exit at Texas Tech.

River Cracraft

Saturday will most likely be the last time Arizona fans will see senior River Cracraft, the standout wideout with a surname similar to Tucson’s Craycroft Road. It has been a great few years of entertainment to hear Wildcat play-by-play announcer Brian Jefferies slowly and succinctly say “Cracraft” throughout the radio broadcast and kiddingly grumble about it.

Cracraft has had a catch in 37 straight games. That is the ninth-longest active streak in the country.

The Price is Right for Captain Jamal Morrow

Junior running back Jamal Morrow is the lone Washington State football captain for an unusual personal experience.

In 2013, Morrow appeared on the Price is Right in a WSU sweatshirt and white tie. He chest bumped host Drew Carey, nearly won a car, pulled out a clutch, overtime Showcase Showdown win, and overbid the final Showcase by $416. His performance and “decision making skills” impressed Leach to name Morrow captain. The fact that Morrow is 6-2 on the year on the coin toss further proves Leach’s logic.

Morrow leads the team in rushing yards and in all-purposes yards, and sometimes handles kickoff chores.

What’s in the Scrap Book?

In 2000, Arizona beat Washington State 53-47 in a triple overtime thriller during UA Family Weekend. The two sides combined for 39 first downs, 614 passing yards, and 366 rushing yards. WSU quarterback Jason Gesser threw six touchdowns and finished the night with a quarterback rating of 177.9. Meanwhile, Arizona’s Ortege Jenkins had three passing touchdowns of his own, good for a 135.8 rating.

The game ended late in the night, capped with the students rushing the field that was punctuated by yours truly, who landed on the front page of the Arizona Daily Star the following day.