WSU Cougars vs ASU: Nakia Watson, Wazzu run over Sun Devils

On a cold November afternoon, the WSU Cougars used their defense and running game to freeze out the visiting Arizona State Sun Devils.

After letting the dust settle on a wild college football Saturday, we can now look back at how the WSU Cougars once again used their vaunted defense to shut down their opponent. ASU came into the game having scored 30 points in 3 of their last 4 games. The Cougs held them to 18, and probably should have held them to less.

Claiming this victory does a few things for this WSU Cougar team. A few of them good and a few of them, not so good. Most notably, the Cougs are now bowl eligible for the 7th consecutive season. This is a monumental achievement for a program that prides itself on yearly success. With two games remaining, this WSU Cougars team has only room to improve their bowl game and that should make fans very excited.

As for some things that still leave some cause for concern, there a handful. The obvious one being the fact that WSU once again failed to put this game away. The Cougars once led the Sun Devils 28-0 and they let their foot off the gas. This allowed ASU, who had been a virtual no-show all afternoon, to trim the lead to 10 points late in the 4th quarter.

Now, the game was still well in hand at that point, but bad habits like that can always grow into something more unwanted. The WSU Cougars need to be more disciplined and execute in all facets of the game for 4 full quarters if they want to win these last two games. Two games that will not be easy for many, many reasons.

As for this one against ASU, we can put a bow on it. This was the only the second time in the last 7 years the Devils made the trip up north, I am sure they won’t be eager to return any time soon.

Let’s look back one last time at some of the highlights of last week’s game.

First Half Highlights

  • Brennan Jackson set the tone early with a massive third down sack on ASU Quarterback Trenton Bourguet
  • Nakia Watson has not one, not two but a career high 3 (!) touchdowns in the first half. He has been absolutely dominate since returning from injury a few weeks ago.
  • Chau Smith-Wade jumped a Bourguet pass and made a beautiful interception that set up yet another WSU Cougar touchdown in the first half.
  • The Cougs led 28-0 at half time and held the Sun Devils to under 85 yards of total offense in the first half. An absolute dominating performance

Second Half Highlights

  • Not a lot of highlights in this half for the WSU Cougars, if we are being honest with ourselves. They either punted or turned it over on downs on every single drive in the second half, scoring 0 points.
  • Arizona State running back X Valladay looked like a future NFL player as he got going in the second half. He leads the conference in 4th quarter rushing and he showcased that once again.
  • Cam Ward missed numerous throws and made many questionable decisions in the second half. It’s not known whether that was boredom of being up big, or sheer carelessness. Either way, the WSU Cougar QB needs to clean his act up against his final opponents if the Cougs want to improve their bowl position.
  • Box score of the game can be found with this hand link, right here. 

GAME MVP:

Nov 12, 2022; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars running back Nakia Watson (25) carries the ball n for a score against Arizona State Sun Devils defensive back Jordan Clark (1) in the first half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Nakia Watson, RB Washington State

The WSU Cougar running back showcased his talents once again this afternoon. He finished the day with 20 carries for 116 yards and 3 touchdowns. Watson also caught two passes for 42 yards as well. He is so important to this team’s success and he proved it once again this week against the Sun Devils