And for Arizona, it would mean the Wildcats essentially enter a three-team race for the Pac-12 South with Arizona State and USC, teams that UA plays later in the season.
The Wildcats, who are looking to avenge last season's 69-7 loss to Washington State in Pullman, lead the Pac-12 in scoring (43.1), rushing (342.7) and fewest sacks allowed (0.71 per game). Talented yet often injured running back Nick Wilson could be out with an ankle injury, so expect Rich Rodriguez to lean heavily on Tate's scrambling ability.
The loss knocked Washington State out of a tie with Stanford for first place in the Pac-12 North.
"I'm really proud that our guys put themselves in a position to be more relevant", Rodriguez said, "to have a lot at stake in the last month of the season". Wide receiver Tavares Martin Jr., who leads the team with 502 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, is expected to be active Saturday after being suspended for one game for a violation of team rules.
Washington State coach Mike Leach actually benched star quarterback Luke Falk in the second quarter. "Then Hilinski was hot, so we stayed with Hilinski". Falk has six touchdown passes and five interceptions in his last three games. He also ran for two scores but was intercepted four times, the last one returned 66 yards by Colin Schooler for a touchdown.
Early in the fourth quarter, WSU kicker Erik Powell made a career-long 56-yard field goal to pull the Cougars to 37-30 after a 51-yarder was called back because of a delay of game.
Hilinski, who threw for 240 yards while completing 25 of 33 passes after relieving Falk during WSU's three-overtime victory over Boise State on September 9, returned from halftime to throw his first interception, to Arizona's Tony Fields II. The Washington State Cougars ground game is averaging 89.1 yards per contest, and Jamal Morrow leads the way with 412 yards and three touchdowns. "It's a lose-lose situation (for them)".
Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, in the relative obscurity of another late-night game on Pac-12 Network, rushed 13 times for 146 yards and a touchdown and passed for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
Ronald Jones II ran for 216 yards and two touchdowns, Sam Darnold revved up No. 21 Southern California's offense with three touchdown passes and the Trojans rolled to a 48-17 victory over Arizona State on Saturday night.
But that error was quickly matched by Tate, who fumbled on the second play of Arizona's ensuing possession with WSU's Frankie Luvo closing in. Defensively, Arizona is allowing 29.3 points and 419.6 yards per game. But, being chased to the sideline, he threw into the end zone and was intercepted by Jace Whittaker. Brandon Ruiz's extra point cut USC's lead to 31-10, and the Sun Devils pulled within two touchdowns on Wilkins' 1-yard dive to open the second half.
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