Washington State opens season as heavy favorite at Colorado State

Sep. 2—Fourth quarter

11:22 — WSU 43, CSU 10: Ward completes a 25-yard touchdown to Kelly and its safe to say, the Cougars quarterback has made up for any mistakes today.

Ward is 36 of 47 for 447 yards and three touchdowns.

14:38 — WSU 36, CSU 10: Colorado State didn’t seem like it was going to get anything else from its offense. It special teams picked up some slack, with Johnson returning the kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown.

14:50 — WSU 36, CSU 3: Ward flips a pass out to a wide open Watson, who strolls into the endzone for another touchdown. Cougars in full control.

Ward is 31 of 42 for 374 yards and two touchdowns.

Third quarter

3:10 — WSU 29, CSU 3: Rams put Fowler-Nicoloski in at quarterback, but there’s a similar result, with Lataimua grabbing an interception.

Cougars start on their own 32.

5:34 — WSU 29, CSU 3: Ward coughs up his third fumble of the day, second recovered by the Rams. This time it was on fourth and short. CSU will start on its own 20.

10:50 — WSU 29, CSU 3: Hicks snags an interception and runs it back for a touchdown and the Cougars have quickly blown this game open. Cougs fail another conversion.

11:18 — WSU 23, CSU 3: Ward comes out of the game in the redzone and Mateer, the backup qb, scores a 3-yard rushing touchdown. Conversion failed.

Ward was stopped for no gain on the previous play and drove the Cougs down the field with a pass of 17 yards to Jenkins and 28 yards to Victor.

Victor has eight receptions for 128 yards.

14:05 — WSU 17, CSU 3: Quick 3-and-out forced by the Cougars defense. Impressive showing thus far by the WSU unit, keeping the Rams from showing any threat on offense.


Washington State has controlled its first game of the 2023 season, but has missed opportunities to build a comfortable lead against Colorado State, maintaining a 17-3 advantage at halftime.

The Cougars offense has gained 257 yards, but quarterback Cameron Ward fumbled deep in Rams territory and missed a wide open receiver on a short throw to the endzone.

Still, Ward has completed 19 of 28 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown. He adds 10 carries for 48 yards and a score. The Cougars running backs (Nakia Watson and Jaylen Jenkins) combined for eight carries for 14 yards.

Lincoln Victor leads WSU wideouts with six catches for 91 yards, including a 50-yard reception.

The Rams marched 55 yards on their opening drive to take a 3-0 lead, but haven’t done much since, being held by the WSU defense to four punts and a turnover on downs, gaining 32 yards on five drives.

Second quarter

0:00: WSU 17, CSU 3: Janikowski converts a 55-yard field goal as the first half expires.

2:32: WSU 14, CSU 3: The Rams come up with a big stop on 4th down, stuffing Watson in the backfield on a run play at the goaline.

Ward overthrew Riviere on 3rd down, who was running wide open in the endzone.

5:02 — WSU 14, CSU 3: Ward finds Victor wide open over the middle of the field for a 50-yard gain to the CSU 20. Victor has five receptions for 84 yards.

8:43 — WSU 14, CSU 3: Cougars stop the Rams on a fourth down attempt, but Ward fumbles a snap on 1st down and WSU punts it right back.

CSU ball on its own 20 after a touchback. Rams have jump 77 yards (22 since first drive) and are 1 of 5 on 3rd down conversions.

11:34 — WSU 14, CSU 3: Ward finds Williams in the back of the endzone for a 3-yard touchdown pass, capping a 13-play 63-yard drive.

Ward is 11 of 16 for 111 yards and has eight carries for 54 yards. The Cougars are 4 of 5 on 3rd down conversions.

First quarter

1:50 — WSU 7, CSU 3: Cougars get the ball back quickly and in good field position, after Sheffield returns a punt 20 yards to the Cougars’ 37.

3:02 — WSU 7, CSU 3: Ward tries to scramble up the middle and fumbles, giving the Rams the ball on their own 30 yard line. Ward didn’t seem to be hit on the play.

Cougars’ end up with nothing after a 5-play, 52-yard drive.

7:35 — WSU 7, CSU 3: Ward keeps it up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown. Cougars answer with a 7-play, 75-yard drive. Ward is 4 of 6 for 48 yards, including passes of 26 yards to tight end Mathers and a 15 yards to Kelly.

9:27 — CSU 3, WSU 0: Noyes boots a field goal for the Rams to open the scoring. The 31-year-old is the third-oldest player in FBS.

12:50 — CSU 0, WSU 0: Washington State picks up a first down on its first play, but is forced to punt three plays later.

The Rams field the punt and begin driving, now across midfield early in the quarter.

The game is being livestreamed online here until the conclusion of USF-WKU on CBS Sports Network.


For at least one afternoon, Washington State and its fans can turn focus from conference realignment back to the reason for realigning.

It’s time for football.

The Cougars open their season at Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colorado, at 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

Washington State begins its second season under head coach Jake Dickert with a strong defensive line and a hope to see progression from quarterback Cameron Ward, who made exciting plays in his first season in Pullman, but failed to make them consistently.

The Cougars throttled the Rams last season and are favored by 10 1/2 points, according to vegasinsider.com.

Colorado State hopes to see growth under its own second-year coach, Jay Norvell, who returns a number of players on the offense.

Series history

Washington State and Colorado State have played twice, splitting games in 2022 and 2013.

The Cougars cruised to a 38-7 victory in Pullman last year, completing a sweep of its nonconference schedule under first-year coach Jake Dickert.

The Rams defeated the Cougars in the 2013 New Mexico Bowl, 48-45, overcoming a 15-point lead with less than 3 minutes remaining.

2022 team stats




Points Per Game



Points Allowed Per Game



Total Yards



Yards Passing



Yards Rushing



Yards Allowed



Pass Yards Allowed



Rush Yards Allowed



Returning individual leaders






Cameron Ward (WSU)





Clay Millen (CSU)









Nakia Watson (WSU)




Avery Morrow (CSU)








Lincoln Victor (WSU)




Tory Horton (CSU)




Game preview

Why Washington State’s season-opener against Colorado State starts up front

PULLMAN — Washington State edge rushers Ron Stone Jr. and Brennan Jackson are definitely tough-looking guys on the football field. — Read more

Two-minute drill: Washington State’s keys to victory against Colorado State

For the Cougars, it will be important to get off to a nice start on offense. It’s one thing that they’ll be working with a brand new wide receiver corps and two new offensive linemen. — Read more

The pick: Why Washington State will beat Colorado State

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — When Washington State takes the field at Canvas Stadium, the site of Saturday’s matchup with Colorado State, the Cougars will roll out an offense that hardly looks like the one that dismantled the Rams’ defense last fall. — Read more

More on the Cougs

OC Ben Arbuckle doesn’t just understand the WSU offense — he understands the players

PULLMAN — Ben Arbuckle’s life changed in the dining room of a New Orleans hotel. Before the sun had a chance to rise, signaling the arrival of Western Kentucky’s game day against South Alabama in the New Orleans Bowl last December, the Hilltoppers’ offensive coordinator saw his phone ring. — Read more

‘Right here, right now’: Armed with talent and motivation, Washington State embarks on its final Pac-12 journey focused on one game at a time

Washington State’s coaches and players are determined not to get caught up in this being the Pac-12’s final season. All they can do is play one game at a time. It might turn into one of the more fascinating seasons in recent memory. — Read more

Commentary: Establishing regional rivalries in Mountain West may be more beneficial than chasing power conference carrot for Washington State

In any other year, the uncertainty is what makes this fun. — Read more

Memories of the Pac: As the conference crumbles around WSU football, a look back at 12 moments that built the Cougar foundation

Yes, it’s hard to get nostalgic when the bile is still burning a hole in your esophagus. — Read more

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