Arizona has won three straight since Khalil Tate took over at quarterback, but recently history isn’t kind for the UA against WSU.
Last season, the Cougars beat Arizona 69-7 in Pullman, Wash.
While this game will surely be closer, will Arizona be able to do enough to pick up its fourth straight win? Our staff made their predictions.
Ryan Kelapire — Washington State wins 42-35
This game is pretty simple for me. I don’t think Arizona will be able to slow down Luke Falk and the Air Raid, but I do think Washington State’s defense will be able to get just enough stops against Khalil Tate and company to escape with the win.
The only way I see Arizona winning is if it overwhelmingly wins the turnover battle.
Alec Sills-Trausch — Arizona wins 42-38
Well last week was fun, wasn’t it?! So if you all remember our midseason record predictions, the staff went undefeated (good job fellas). With those predictions front and center again, I’m still holding steady with my upset pick over Washington State on Saturday.
While I don’t expect this to be as high of a scoring game as last year’s disaster, I’d be shocked if this game resided in anything less than the 30’s. What I’m most curious to see is how each team's defends the other’s strengths.
First, Arizona has seen the literal blueprint on how to top Wazzu. California did it in glorious fashion and while it’s still up in the air if Arizona can replicate it, it is possible to slow down Faulk and the Cougars.
On the flip side, California gave Mike Leach a roadmap on how to at least contain dark horse Heisman candidate Khalil Tate (if we all say it enough times, it’s bound to find its way to Bristol). Though, that might have only worked because Arizona was on running back 49 out of 50. Anyways, there are a lot of things to keep your eye on but I like the Wildcats in this Homecoming affair.
Robby Leano — Arizona wins 45-35
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. Arizona is on a three-game winning streak now. They are on a major upswing, while Washington State has proved to be vulnerable a la Cal loss two weeks ago.
Khalil Tate has been the key factor for Arizona these past several weeks. He’s been listed as Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for three weeks straight, and is making his statement for Heisman candidacy. But Tate needs to stay healthy in order for Arizona to keep this streak going.
I think Arizona can pull of the upset over Wazzu this week. But it might come at a cost... What that cost is, I am unsure about.
Gabe Encinas — Washington State wins 54-38
I think Arizona’s run stops here simply because of Arizona’s defense, and what Luke Falk can do.
I don’t think Arizona’s offense slows down, but this game will ultimately come down to the defense staying on the field for too long and just getting picked apart.
Arizona has a lot of guys banged up, and special teams without Trevor Wood is especially concerning if this game gets close and comes down to one possession.
This team can hang with the Cougars, and I’m not ruling out the possibility of an upset win on Homecoming with a big crowd behind them, but I just think the defense finally breaks here.
Brandon Combs — Arizona wins 45-38
This is an interesting game. Wazzu’s defense is very quick and one of the best in the conference. Arizona’s offense is the most explosive.
I’m interested to see how each team reacts to the other’s strength. I don’t even remotely see this game going like last year’s. In fact, I see the opposite.
Even if Wazzu’s D can stop Tate (well, stop him in their point of view), UA has additional weapons on offense to make them pay.
On the other side, UA’s defense is more athletic than last year. Even though they have regressed since the beginning of the season, I think they’ll make enough plays to win.
Sticking true to my midseason prediction.
Christopher Boan — Arizona wins 38-35
Arizona will struggle at times to solve the Cougars’ swarming defense, which is second in the conference, allowing 18.5 points per game this season.
The Cougars also rank third in the Pac-12 in rushing yards per game allowed, at 120.1. They also return the four-letter word, Falk, to Tucson, where he’s feasted on the Wildcats.
Toss those negatives aside, baby, for no one’s stopping the bandwagon right now, not even the The Pirate himself (Mike Leach). Rich Rodriguez said that Saturday’s game is not about “revenge,” a year after the Wildcats suffered its largest loss since 1949 to Falk and company (I won’t inflict the final score upon you fine folks).
Expect the Cats to thrive at home, in what should be a packed Arizona Stadium, getting Arizona to its six-win benchmark, which means one thing — MORE RICH ROD, BABY!
Jason Bartel — Washington State wins 45-42
I just feel like the Cougs are the type of team that matches up perfectly with Arizona’s weaknesses, and even though Khalil and Co. will probably score lots of points, Leach will find a way to score more.
Field goal as time expires to draw out the bowl eligibility deal one more week.