Arizona upsets No. 19 Washington State in Pullman

Oct 14, 2023, 7:39 PM

Arizona running back Rayshon Luke, center left, celebrates his touchdown against Washington State w...

Arizona running back Rayshon Luke, center left, celebrates his touchdown against Washington State with running back Jonah Coleman during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

(AP Photo/Young Kwak)

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Quarterback Noah Fifita threw for 342 yards, Jonah Coleman had 168 total yards and three rushing touchdowns and Arizona’s defense forced three turnovers in a 44-6 upset of No. 19 Washington State on Saturday.

The Wildcats (4-3, 2-2 Pac-12) scored 44 straight points to break through in a big way after nearly upsetting two top-10 teams the last two weeks.

Fifita started his third straight game in place of the injured Jayden de Laura, a former Washington State QB. He was masterful from the start against the Cougars, who dropped their second consecutive game after starting 4-0 and reaching No. 13 in the AP Top 25.

Fifita was 34 of 43 passing, but didn’t throw any touchdowns. All of Arizona’s scores came on the ground. Coleman scored on runs of 1, 1 and 23 yards. Rayshon Luke rushed for 70 yards, including a 40-yard TD, and DJ Williams scored from 15 yards.

Coleman also had four catches for 98 yards.

The Cougars (4-2, 1-2) scored on Nakia Watson’s 1-yard run on their first drive but looked lifeless on offense after that. They were stopped on fourth down deep in their own territory, threw an interception on a double-pass and punted on their next three possessions before halftime.

After a sizzling first month of the season, the Cougars’ offense sputtered for the second straight week. Cameron Ward was 22 of 30 for 192 yards and two turnovers. Watson led Washington State with 88 yards receiving.

When the Cougars tried to get tricky, it backfired. Backup quarterback John Mateer was intercepted on a double-pass in the second quarter, and the Wildcats answered with Luke’s 40-yard TD run. Arizona led 20-6 at halftime and was never threatened in the second half.

Wazzu’s Rushing Woes

For the second straight week, the Cougars couldn’t get their rushing attack going. They managed 35 yards on the ground after netting 12 yards last week at UCLA. Washington State entered 117th in the FBS in rushing, averaging 103.6 yards per game.

The Takeaway

Arizona: The Wildcats may look back at this win as a pivotal moment in the early Jedd Fisch era. After two overtime losses and a near-upset of USC last week, they will now have the full attention of the rest of the Pac-12.

Washington State: A season that started so promising has gone sideways in a hurry. After their first loss of the season last week at UCLA, the Cougars looked out of sorts in all facets.

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