ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL

ASU preps for QB battle against 1-dimensional Washington State offense

Nov 8, 2022, 6:15 PM | Updated: Nov 11, 2022, 10:43 am
Cameron Ward #1 of the Washington State Cougars throws a pass in the first quarter against the Wisc...
Cameron Ward #1 of the Washington State Cougars throws a pass in the first quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on September 10, 2022 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

TEMPE — The Arizona State Sun Devils officially have their backs up against the wall now when it comes to bowl eligibility.

At 3-6 (2-4 in the Pac-12), ASU must win out against Washington State (5-4, 2-4), Oregon State and Arizona in order to be playing in the postseason.

The first battle comes in a cold road test in Pullman against a rather one-dimensional Cougars offense, which relies heavily on the arm of quarterback Cameron Ward, as WSU has the fourth-fewest total rushing attempts in the country.

“Here we go again, another quarterback,” ASU defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson said Monday.

Ward transferred to Washington State this offseason from FCS school Incarnate Word in San Antonio, joining his former head coach Eric Morris after traded his spot in charge of the program for the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach job in Pullman.

The QB takes over for former Cougars signal caller Jayden de Laura, who transferred his dual-threat talents to join the Arizona Wildcats.

“They’re almost similar but they do some things different than they did last year,” Henderson said. “They’ll be in (four wide receiver looks) a lot, spread you out, throw the ball around.”

In nine career appearances at the FBS level, Ward is averaging 262.2 yards per game while completing 64% of his passes. That’s largely due to the Cougars having the 16th-most pass attempts in the nation with 342 while being tied for 26th with 20 passing touchdowns.

Meanwhile, WSU’s 107.9 rushing yards per game rank 114th in the country, with the team’s leading rusher Nakia Watson averaging 70.1 per contest. Luckily for Henderson and Co., they won’t have to worry about Ward’s legs too much, as he has only mustered a total of 34 yards on the ground on 67 attempts to average 0.5 per rush and 3.8 per game this season.

“This is what they do, they throw the ball around,” Henderson said. “So having and putting a game plan together now and some of the things we’re looking at is trying to make sure we don’t give the same looks in the secondary and disguise a little bit more. I think those things come into play a lot when you have those quarterbacks who can throw the ball around.”

The weather also isn’t shaping up to be as bad as it could be for desert dwellers traveling up to the Pacific Northwest, as the forecast calls for sunny skies, 5 mph winds and a high of 37 degrees.

Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.

Penguin Air

Arizona State Football

The exterior of the stadium is seen before the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game between Utah an...
Associated Press

Rose Bowl organizers clear way for College Football Playoff to expand to 12 teams

An agreement with the 120-year-old bowl game held in Pasadena and dubbed the Granddaddy of Them All was the last hurdle to clear.
1 day ago
Arizona State tight end Messiah Swinson, right, breaks free from a tackle by Colorado safety Tyrin ...
Jordan Leandre

ASU football announces price freeze for season tickets renewed by end of year

ASU football season ticket holders that renew their tickets by Dec. 31 will get them for the same price as 2022 for the next two seasons.
1 day ago
11 Nov 1995:  Defensive end Vince Amey of the Arizona State Sun Devils makes a tackle during a game...
Jordan Leandre

Kenny Dillingham brings many Arizona connections to ASU football

Born, raised and educated in the ASU community, new head coach Kenny Dillingham has developed a plethora of relationships in the Valley.
2 days ago
Arizona State head football coach Kenny Dillingham (right) is introduced on Nov. 27, 2022, in Tempe...
Jake Anderson

What steps Kenny Dillingham needs to take for resurgence of Arizona State football

The hiring of Kenny Dillingham is step No. 1 on the road to rebuilding ASU into a Pac-12 Championship contender. But now comes the hard part.
3 days ago
Florida State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Kenny Dillingham talks to players before the...
Jordan Leandre

Why ASU’s Kenny Dillingham feels he can lead as youngest Power 5 head coach

ASU football's new head coach Kenny Dillingham said a big reason why he was hired is because he is never afraid of tough conversations.
3 days ago
Head coach Charlie Ragle of the Idaho State Bengals looks on during a game against the UNLV Rebels ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona State coaching staff tracker: Charlie Ragle joins Kenny Dillingham

Kenny Dillingham began assembling his coaching staff at Arizona State by hiring former Chaparral High School coaches.
1 day ago
ASU preps for QB battle against 1-dimensional Washington State offense