Washington State Cougars readies for Central Michigan in today’s Sun Bowl

TONY THE TIGER SUN BOWL
WASHINGTON STATE (7-5, 6-3 Pac-12) vs. CENTRAL MICHIGAN (8-4, 6-2 MAC)
9 a.m. (PT), Friday, Dec. 31, 2021 •  CBS
Sun Bowl Stadium (51,500)  •  El Paso, Texas
COUGARS HEAD TO EL PASO FOR TONY THE TIGER SUN BOWL AGAINST CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Washington State is set to make its third appearance in the Sun Bowl and will face Central Michigan in the 2021 Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl. Kickoff is set for December 31 at 9 a.m. (PT) on CBS in El Paso, Texas. WSU was scheduled to face Miami before the Hurricanes cancelled their trip due to health and safety protocols within their program.

COUGAR BOWL HISTORY – TONY THE TIGER SUN BOWL
The Cougars are making their sixth bowl game appearance in the last seven seasons, their 17th overall bowl game appearance and own an 8-8 all-time record in bowl games. WSU is making their third Sun Bowl appearance and owns wins over Purdue (33-27, 2001) and Miami (20-14, 2015). WSU will be facing Central Michigan for the first time in program history and a team from the MAC for the second time in program history, def. Ball State 16-14 in 1984.

ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE 
Washington State enters the Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl with a 7-5 overall record including a 6-3 mark in Pac-12 Conference play and closed the regular season with wins over Arizona and at Washington in the Apple Cup. The Cougar defense led the Pac-12 and was fourth in the country with 27 takeaways including 13 fumble recoveries, third-most in the country. Pac-12 Offensive Freshman Player of the Year and Polynesian College Player of the Year Finalist quarterback Jayden de Laura leads the Pac-12 with 23 passing touchdowns and 250.1 passing yards/g while receiver Travell Harris is second in the Pac-12 with nine touchdown catches and wideout Calvin Jackson Jr. is second in the league with 955 receiving yards. Linebacker Jahad Woods’ 100 tackles are fourth in the Pac-12 and All-Pac-12 first-team selection EDGE Ron Stone Jr. is fifth in the league with 11.5 tackles-for-loss. All-Pac-12 first-team kicker Dean Janikowski is second in the league with 14 made field goals.

COUGAR QUICK GAME
TEAM
• WSU leads the Pac-12 and is 4th in the country with 27 takeaways, 3rd nationally with 13 fumble recoveries
• WSU is making their sixth bowl appearance in the last 7 years (did not go to a bowl in 2020)
• WSU recorded its 1st four-game conference winning streak (at Cal, OSU, STAN, at ASU) since winning 7 straight in 2018
• WSU recorded its 8th straight win over Oregon State, WSU beat Stanford for the 5th straight meeting
• WSU’s 14 All-Pac-12 selections are most since 2003 (17), earned 3 All-Pac-12 First-Team selections for 1st time since 2015
• WSU earned a program-record 10 Pac-12 Player of the Week awards in 2021

INDIVIDUAL (Player Notes Pages 10-20)
• RB Max Borghi is 7th in the Pac-12 in rush yards (880) and 6th in rush TD (12), 8th in WSU history in career rush yards (2,158)
• Borghi is 2nd in WSU history with 32 career rushing TD and tied for WSU record with 41 total TD (Steve Broussard leads both)
• LB Jahad Woods is 4th in Pac-12 in tackles (100), is Pac-12’s active leading career tackler (419), 4th-most in WSU history
• All-Pac-12 First Team EDGE Ron Stone Jr. is 5th in the Pac-12 in TFL (11.5) and tied for 8th in sacks (5), both are team-highs
• Pac-12 Offensive Frosh of the Year QB Jayden de Laura leads Pac-12 in pass TD (23), pass yards (2,751) and passing/g (250.1)
• All-Pac-12 Second Team WR Calvin Jackson Jr. is 2nd in Pac-12 in rec yards (955), 4th in rec (63), tied for 3rd in rec TD (7)
• All-Pac-12 Second Team WR Travell Harris is 3rd in the Pac-12 in rec (73), 2nd in rec TD (9) and 3rd in rec yards/g (66.8)
• OL Abraham Lucas was named to 2021 All-Pac-12 First Team, is 1st Cougar OL in program history to be 4x all-conference
• All-Pac-12 First Team Kicker Dean Janikowski leads the Pac-12 in FG pct. (82.4) and tied for 2nd in FG made (14)

COLLEGE GAMEDAY RECORD
Dating back to the middle of the 2003 season, ESPN’s College GameDay has had the WSU flag appear throughout the show. The streak reached 273 after appearing at the Army-Navy game in New Jersey December 11. The first appearance came in Austin, Texas (10/4/03) and the streak began two weeks later in Madison, Wisc. (10/18/03). Two flags – Ol’ Crimson and Gray – have been flown in the background of the GameDay set by dozens of friends and alumni. The Gray flag was added in 2014 after Whitey was retired in honor of Steve Gleason’s “No White Flags.” Appearance No. 217 was its first in Pullman (10/20/18), a 34-20 win over Oregon. 

JAKE DICKERT NAMED 34th HEAD FOOTBALL COACH
Washington State formally introduced Jake Dickert as the Cougars’ 34th head football coach in program history December 2. On November 27, one day after the Apple Cup win, WSU Director of Athletics Pat Chun announced that Dickert had been named the Cougars’ Head Football Coach. Dickert agreed in principle to a five-year contract. “We are thrilled to have Jake Dickert step into the head coaching role,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “Coach Dickert was able to bring together a team that has been through so much in the past two seasons and inspire them to not only keep going, but to fight harder. Coach Dickert loves Pullman, understands what it means to be a Coug, and most importantly, puts his players first. He is an asset to this program, and to WSU.” Dickert spent the final six weeks of the regular season serving as the Cougar’s interim coach, leading WSU to a 3-2 record with wins over Arizona State, Arizona and most recently, a dominating 40-13 Apple Cup victory in Seattle. The win snapped a seven-game skid to Washington and ended as WSU’s largest margin of victory in series history. “Coach Jake Dickert has proven to be an exceptional person, coach and leader,” said Chun. “He has the character, vision and plan we need to lead Washington State Football through the next chapter of our storied history.  We’ve been able to witness the positive impact he has had on our student-athletes in a very short of period of time. We are thankful the best person to lead our program was already living in Pullman. We appreciate Jake, Candice, Rylee, Jett, and Jace for their commitment to WSU. Under Dickert’s leadership, the Cougars saw increases in scoring (+6.5 ppg), rushing yards (+44.7 ypg) and total offense (+36.4 ypg), while allowing fewer points (-3/5 ppg), passing yards (-46.0 ypg) and opponents’ total offense (-30.7 ypg). “I am extremely humbled and honored to be the next head coach at Washington State University,” said Dickert. “I want to thank President Schulz, Pat Chun and Bryan Blair for their leadership and trust in me and my vision for the future of WSU football. Pullman fits our family so well and we are so excited to be a part of this community for a long time to come. Go Cougs.” The Cougar defense was a huge spark this season, leading the Pac-12 with 27 takeaways, which also ranks tied for third nationally, while also being second in the Pac-12 and tied for ninth nationally in turnover margin. 

14 COUGARS EARN ALL-PAC-12 HONORS
Fourteen players earned 2021 All-Pac-12 Conference honors, the most since the 2003 team earned 17 selections. Right tackle Abraham Lucas, kicker Dean Janikowski and EDGE Ron Stone Jr. were named to the first team, giving WSU three first-team selections for the first time since 2015. Wide receivers Travell Harris and Calvin Jackson Jr. were both named to the second team, the first set of Cougar wideouts to earn all-conference first or second team since Michael Bumpus (1st) and Jason Hill (2nd) in 2004 and both are the first WSU wide receivers to earn first or second-team honors since Gabe Marks was a first-team selection in 2015 and 2016. Nine players were named All-Pac-12 honorable mention; running back Max Borghi, quarterback Jayden de Laura, defensive back Daniel Isom, EDGE Brennan Jackson, defensive back Armani Marsh, wideout De’Zhaun StriblingLincoln Victor as an all-purpose player, defensive back Jaylen Watson, linebacker Jahad Woods

JAYDEN DE LAURA NAMED PAC-12 OFFENSIVE FRESHMAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR, POLYNESIAN POY FINALIST
Quarterback Jayden de Laura, playing his first full season, was named the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year and All-Pac-12 honorable mention after leading the Pac-12 with 2,751 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns, 250.1 passing yards-per-game. The Honolulu, Hawaii native threw three-plus touchdowns five times this season and led the Cougars to seven wins, including a 40-13 Apple Cup win where he earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Week accolades. De Laura was one of seven players named a finalist for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Award, presented annually by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame to the most outstanding college football player of Polynesian ancestry that epitomizes great ability and integrity. Cougar defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa won the award in 2017.

ABE LUCAS MAKES HISTORY
Right tackle Abraham Lucas earned his fourth-straight All-Pac-12 accolade and first 1st-team honor after being named to the second team the previous three seasons becoming the first Cougar offensive lineman to earn all-conference honors four times. Lucas started all 12 games at right tackle and was rated the Pac-12’s best pass-blocking offensive lineman and third-best pass-blocking offensive tackle in the country after not allowing a sack in 477 pass blocking snaps. Lucas was also named to the Reese’s Senior Bowl All-America Team.

JANIKOWSKI KICKS HIS WAY TO FIRST-TEAM HONORS
Kicker Dean Janikowski earned his first career All-Pac-12 accolade in his first season on the field and is the first Cougar kicker to earn first-team honors since Blake Mazza in 2019. Janikowski made his collegiate debut in the season opener, started all 12 games and connected on 14-of-17 field goal attempts, the best field goal percentage in the Pac-12 and tied for the second-most makes in the conference. The redshirt-sophomore from Fallbrook, Calif. also finished the regular season third in the conference among kickers with 81 points and capped the regular season tying a WSU Apple Cup record with four made field goals in the win over Washington, earning Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors along the way.

BIG YEAR BY RON STONE JR. 
EDGE Ron Stone Jr. added to his breakout season by earning All-Pac-12 first-team honors, becoming WSU’s first defensive first-team selection since Hercules Mata’afa in 2017. Stone Jr. made 11.5 tackles-for-loss, good for fifth in the conference and his five sacks are good for eighth-most in the league. The redshirt-junior from San Jose, Calif. recorded a tackle-for-loss in eight games this season, including a season-high three at Utah and also tallied a sack in four-straight games, helping WSU to three-straight wins during that stretch. Stone Jr. tied for fourth in the Pac-12 with 38 total pressures and was also the league’s fourth-best run-defender according to PFF College.

BORGHI CLOSING IN ON BROUSSARD’S RECORD
Max Borghi earned his second career All-Pac-12 honor after earning honorable mention in 2019. The Arvada, Colo. native finished the regular season seventh in the Pac-12 with 880 rush yards, sixth with 12 rushing touchdowns and  fourth among Pac-12 running backs with 46 missed tackles on runs. Borghi finished the regular season with a pair of 100-yard games in wins over Arizona and Washington, tied with Steve Broussard (1986-89) for the WSU record with 41 total touchdowns and trailing only Broussard (33) with 32 career rushing touchdowns. Borghi enters the Sun Bowl needing 120 yards to become WSU’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Jerome Harrison in 2004 (1,900).

COUGAR WIDEOUTS LEAD THE WAY
Wide receivers Travell Harris and Calvin Jackson head into the Sun Bowl among the Pac-12 leading receivers after both earned All-Pac-12 second-team honors, the first set of Cougar wideouts to earn all-conference first or second team since Michael Bumpus (1st) and Jason Hill (2nd) in 2004 and both are the first WSU wide receivers to earn first or second-team honors since Gabe Marks was a first-team selection in 2015 and 2016. Harris earned his third career All-Pac-12 accolade after earning honorable mention in 2018 and 2020. The Tampa, Fla. native is third in the Pac-12 with 73 receptions, third with 801 receiving yards, second in the league with nine touchdown catches and sixth in the league with 105.4 all-purpose yards-per-game. Harris recorded a pair of 100-yard games (Oregon State, at Oregon) in 2021 and enters the bowl game tenth in WSU history with 176 career catches. Jackson Jr. earned his first career All-Pac-12 accolade after finishing the regular season fourth in the league with 63 receptions, second with 955 receiving yards, first with 79.6 receiving yards-per-game and third with seven touchdown catches. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Native was added the Biletnikoff Award Watch List midway through season, recorded a pair of 100-yard games (at Arizona State, Arizona), was third in the league with 387 yards after the catch and third with 37 catches for a first down.

JAHAD WOODS CAPS RECORD-SETTING COUGAR CAREER 
Linebacker Jahad Woods has produced another impressive year in his final season at WSU, earning his fourth-straight All-Pac-12 honorable mention selection after starting all 12 games at WIL linebacker and tallied 100 tackles, good for fourth in the conference. The San Diego native was second on the team with six tackles-for-loss, picked off one pass and forced two fumbles. Woods enters the Sun Bowl fourth in WSU history with 419 career tackles along with a WSU-record 10 career forced fumbles, a WSU-record 50 career starts and sharing the WSU record for career games played (55) with fellow linebacker Justus Rogers.

JAYDEN DE LAURA NAMED PAC-12 OFFENSIVE FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Quarterback Jayden de Laura, playing his first full season, was named the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year and All-Pac-12 honorable mention after leading the Pac-12 with 2,751 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns, 250.1 passing yards-per-game. The Honolulu, Hawaii native threw three-plus touchdowns five times this season and led the Cougars to seven wins, including a 40-13 Apple Cup win where he earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Week accolades after completing 27-of-32 passes for an 84.3 completion percentage, the best completion percentage by a Cougar quarterback in an Apple Cup. De Laura also rushed for three scores and owns five career games with a rushing TD and passing TD.

SUPERBACKS LEAD THE RUN-AND-SHOOT
Cougar running backs served all-purpose roles for the Air Raid and increased their production in the run-n-shoot offense • last season, Deon McIntosh rushed for a career-high 147 yards in the win at Oregon State, the most by a Coug since Dwight Tardy’s 214 yards against UCLA in 2007 • Borghi opened the 2021 season with 86 rushing yards including a 64-yard rushing touchdown against Utah State • Borghi, McIntosh and Jayden de Laura each rushed for a touchdown against Portland State • in the win at Cal, Borghi and McIntosh combined for 93 rush yards and 6.2 yards-per-carry • in the win over Oregon State, the two combined for 98 rush yards and each scored a touchdown, Borghi (2-yard rush) and McIntosh (1-yard rec) • in the win over Stanford, Borghi rushed for 89 yards and a pair of 2-yard TD runs • against BYU, Borghi rushed for a career-high 3 TD (11,1,1) • in the win at Arizona State, WSU carried 42 carries 166 yards and 2 TD, the most carries by a WSU team since 2010 • in the win over Arizona, WSU rushed for a season-high 223 yards led by Borghi’s career-high 139 and a season-high 73 from McIntosh • in the Apple Cup win, WSU’s 41 carries were the most in an Apple Cup since 2005 (47) and the 209 rush yards were the most in an Apple Cup since 2005 (224) • in the Apple Cup, Borghi rushed a career-high 22 times for 129 yards and 2 TD (32, 1), WSU’s 1st 100-yard rusher in an Apple Cup since Chris Ivory’s 114 in 2007 • Deon McIntosh matched a season-high with 16 carries, rushed for 49 yards and a TD in the Apple Cup

COUGAR DEFENSE CONTINUES TO IMPROVE
• Since 2015, the Cougars are 34-11 when forcing multiple turnovers • WSU opened 2021 by forcing a pair of turnovers against Utah State, recorded two more against Portland State and added 3 more takeaways along with 9 TFL against USC • WSU forced 6 fumbles and recovered 3 at Utah • in the win at Cal, WSU allowed just 273 yards of total offense, the fewest yards allowed since San Jose State in 2018 (109) • in the win over Oregon State, WSU picked off two passes and allowed just 158 pass yards • in the win over Stanford, WSU recovered 2 more fumbles, tallied 8 TFL including 4 sacks • in the win at Arizona State, WSU recorded 5 takeaways (3 FUM, 2 INT), the most since forcing 7 turnovers at Utah in 2017 • WSU held Arizona State to 21 points, the fewest allowed at ASU since allowing 16 in 2001 (last 9 meetings), fewest allowed to ASU overall since allowing 19 in 2003, a 34-19 win in Pullman • WSU tallied 2 more takeaways at No. 3 Oregon, recovering 2 fumbles • in the Apple Cup win, WSU picked off 4 passes for the 1st time since 2017 at Utah and were the most interceptions in an Apple Cup since 1997 (5) • WSU recorded its 1st interception return for a TD in an Apple Cup since Eric Frampton in 2006 • Armani Marsh picked off two passes in the Apple Cup, was the 1st Coug with 2 INT in an Apple Cup since Lamont Thompson picked off 3 passes in the 1997 win • WSU’s leads the Pac-12 in red zone defense (34-46) • WSU enters the Sun Bowl third in the country with 13 fumble recoveries • WSU’s 27 takeaways lead the Pac-12 and are fourth-most in the country

COUGARS NOTCH 40-13 WIN IN RECORD-SETTING APPLE CUP
Washington State snapped a seven-game Apple Cup skid with a dominating 40-13 win in Seattle in the Nov. 26 regular-season finale. • WSU’s 27-point victory was its largest Apple Cup win in program history, the 40 points were the most scored in an Apple Cup since 2007 (42) and 5th-most scored by WSU in Apple Cup history. • WSU picked off 4 passes for the 1st time since 2017 at Utah and were the most interceptions in an Apple Cup since 1997 (5) • Armani Marsh was the 1st Coug with two interceptions in an Apple Cup since Lamont Thompson picked off 3 passes in the 1997 win and Marsh’ 28-yard pick-6 was WSU’s first interception return for a TD since Eric Frampton in 2006 • WSU’s 41 carries were the most in an Apple Cup since 2005 (47) and the 209 rush yards were the most in an Apple Cup since 2005 (224) • Max Borghi rushed a career-high 22 times for 129 yards and 2 TD (32, 1), WSU’s 1st 100-yard rusher in an Apple Cup since Chris Ivory’s 114 in 2007 • Jayden de Laura completed 27-of-32 passes (84.3), the highest completion pct. by a Cougar QB in Apple Cup history and 4th-best completion percentage in WSU single-game history • Dean Janikowski connected on 4 FG (31, 25, 41, 39), the 1st 4-FG game since Erik Powell in 2017 at Utah and the 3rd in the Apple Cup history, tying Drew Dunning for most made FG in program history (2002, 2003)

BRENNAN JACKSON EARNS COSIDA ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT HONORS
EDGE Brennan Jackson was named to the 2021 Academic All-District Team selected by CoSIDA. Jackson recorded a 3.31 grade-point-average while earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration and owns a 4.00 GPA while working towards his MBA. The redshirt-junior is the first Cougar to earn academic all-district honors since wide receiver Brandon Arconado and defensive lineman Dallas Hobbs each earned first-team accolades in 2019.

CALVIN JACKSON JR. ADDED TO BILETNIKOFF AWARD WATCH LIST
Wide receiver Calvin Jackson Jr. was added to the 2021 Biletnikoff Award Watch List, The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation announced Nov. 3, joining running back Max Borghi who was named to the same watch list prior to the season. The Biletnikoff Award annually recognizes the college football season’s outstanding FBS receiver. Any player, regardless of position (wide receiver, tight end, slot back, and running back) who catches a pass is eligible for the award. As such, the Biletnikoff Award recognizes college football’s outstanding receiver, not merely college football’s outstanding wide receiver. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla. native caught two touchdowns in the win at California, had nine catches in the win over Oregon State, had a touchdown grab in the win over Stanford, caught eight passes for a career-high 139 yards with a 45-yard touchdown catch in the win at Arizona State and had two more touchdown grabs in the win over Arizona.

LEADERSHIP CHANGE WITH FOOTBALL PROGRAM
October 18, due to the requirements set forth in Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s Proclamation 21-14.1, Nick Rolovich was no longer able to fulfill the duties as the football head coach at Washington State University. In addition, four football assistant coaches, Ricky Logo, John Richardson, Craig Stutzmann and Mark Weber, are also not in compliance with the Proclamation. As a result, Washington State University has initiated the separation process based on the terms of their respective contracts, effective immediately. Proclamation 21-14.1, prohibits, “Any State Agency from permitting any Worker to engage in work for the agency after October 18, 2021, if the Worker has not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provided proof thereof to the agency.” 

WSU, GESA CREDIT UNION ANNOUNCE GESA FIELD
Washington State and Gesa Credit Union announced a partnership to provide Gesa the naming rights to the playing surface at Martin Stadium, now named Gesa Field, pronounced gee-sah. The 10-year agreement is valued at a minimum $11 million, that will escalate as additional Gesa consumer-based incentives are reached. The agreement with WSU Athletics will formalize the first major sponsorship announced under the new Gesa Credit Union which recently merged with Inspirus Credit Union making it the second-largest credit union in the state. 

COUGARS PARTNERED IN PAC-12 MENTAL HEALTH WEEK
WSU partnered with Hilinski’s Hope, Dam Worth It and The Hidden Opponent as part of the Pac-12 Mental Health Week last week. The week, hosted in conjunction with College Football Mental Health Week, focused on a series of mental health initiatives. Pac-12 Mental Health Week was a conference-wide week of action to end mental health stigma, increase mental health awareness, and supply resources for student athletes. Dam Worth It, The Hidden Opponent and Hilinski’s Hope were all founded out of the Pac-12 to focus on ending stigma and increasing mental health resources for student-athletes. The Cougar football team will wear a helmet sticker showcasing a lime green ribbon, the official ribbon showing solidarity for those struggling with mental health and illness, with a “3” on the right corner.

COUGAR FOOTBALL BROADCAST TEAM
Matt Chazanow is in his seventh season as the play-by-play voice for Cougar football, men’s basketball and baseball broadcasts. Joining Chazanow for his fourth season will be former Cougar quarterback Alex Brink who is the only WSU quarterback to win three Apple Cups and was later a seventh-round draft pick by the Houston Texans. Returning for her ninth season as the sideline reporter is Jessamyn McIntyre, an executive producer for Q13 FOX in Seattle.

COUGAR FOOTBALL HIRES COORDINATORS ERIC MORRIS, BRIAN WARD FOR 2022
Cougar Football Head Coach Jake Dickert announced Dec. 8 that Eric Morris and Brian Ward will join the Cougar Football staff. Morris will serve as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, while Ward will be the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. “Throughout the process it became evident to me that Eric Morris was the best fit for the future of our program,” said Dickert. “He is a bright offensive mind that attacks defenses in a multitude of ways and will use the skill sets of our players to create an explosive offensive identity. His experience building a successful program as a head coach was just another factor of why we are so excited to have him lead our offense for many years to come. “I have known Brian Ward a long time and he has proven at every stop to be a tremendous leader and teacher of our defensive scheme,” Dickert said while discussing WSU’s new defensive coordinator. “There is no one I trust more than Brian to continue to build on our defensive success well into the future.” Morris, who spent the 2012 season coaching inside receivers for the Cougars, returns to Pullman after spending the past four seasons as head coach at the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. This past season, Morris guided the Cardinals to the Southland Conference title, reached the NCAA FCS Second Round, and finished with a 10-3 record, the winningest record in program history. Prior to Incarnate Word, Morris spent five seasons (2013-17) as the offensive coordinator at his alma mater, Texas Tech where the offense was highlighted by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who Morris recruited and coached in Lubbock. Ward begins his first season in Pullman having spent the past two years as defensive coordinator at the University of Nevada. This past season, Nevada posted an 8-4 record. Ward guided an opportunistic defense during his time in Reno, showing marked improved in total defense, scoring defense, and most notably, turnovers gained from the year prior to his arrival (2019) to this season. The Nevada defense allowed 24.4 points per game this season, 7.5 better than in 2019. The Wolf Pack defense also improved from 48th in turnovers gained in 2019 (19) to eighth this season with 25. Prior to his time in Reno, Ward spent four seasons (2016-19) at Syracuse, where he served as the defensive coordinator and worked with the linebackers. The rise of the Syracuse defense played a large role in the Syracuse’s win over No. 2 Clemson in 2017 and its 10-3 season in 2018 where the Orange finished the year ranked 14th in the nation and defeated No. 15 West Virginia in the 2018 Camping World Bowl.

15 COUGS ENTERED 2020 WITH DEGREES
Renard Bell    Social Science
Brian Greene    History
Jarrett Guarantano    Psychology
Travell Harris    Sport Management
George Hicks    Political Science
Tyrone Hill    Social Science
Dallas Hobbs    Digital Technology & Culture
Calvin Jackson, Jr.    Humanities
Brennan Jackson    Business Administration
Armani Marsh    Sport Management
Deon McIntosh    Social Science
Christian Mejia    Kinesiology
Justus Rodgers    Business Administration
Liam Ryan    Criminal Justice
Jahad Woods    Humanities

JASON HANSON INDUCTED INTO NFF COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame formally inducted the 2020 and 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Classes during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas December 7. Washington State Hall of Famer and All-American kicker Jason Hanson, part of the 2020 class, became the fifth Cougar player inducted into the College Hall of Fame. A two-time First Team All-America kicker, Hanson became Washington State’s first unanimous selection during his sophomore year and was recognized by the FWAA in 1991. He was also a Third Team All-America punter as a junior and was named to the Freshman All-America Team in 1988. The Spokane, Washington, native holds several NCAA records, including career field goals of 40 yards or more (39) and 50 yards or more (20). A four-time First Team All-Pac-10 selection, Hanson earned the honor as a both a kicker and a punter in 1990. He set the Pac-10 record by making 57.1 percent of his field goals from 50 yards or longer, highlighted by a still-standing Washington State and conference record 62-yarder against UNLV in 1991.  Hanson set 15 school records by career’s end, and he currently ranks second all-time at Washington State in career points (328), field goals made (63) and PATs made (139). As a freshman for College Football Hall of Fame coach Dennis Erickson, Hanson helped the Cougars to a No. 16 final ranking and an Aloha Bowl victory, securing the school’s first postseason win in 73 seasons and its first nine-win season since 1930. He was also key in leading the Cougars to their first-ever win against a No. 1 team in 1988 against UCLA, in which he kicked field goals of 48 and 50 yards. Matching his on-field success in the classroom, the 1991 NFF National Scholar-Athlete was a three-time First Team Academic All-American and First Team Academic All-Pac-10 honoree. A teammate of Hall of Famer Mike Utley during his time in Pullman, Hanson capped his standout collegiate career playing in both the East-West Shrine Game and Hula Bowl. A second-round pick in the 1992 NFL Draft, Hanson spent 21 seasons with the Detroit Lions. The fourth-leading scorer in NFL history is the only player with 2,000 career points for one franchise, and he was the first player to play 300 games for one team. The two-time Pro Bowler holds every placekicking record in Lions history, and he was inducted into the team’s ring of honor in 2013. An active Christian speaker, Hanson has participated in Habitat for Humanity and helped establish Providence Youth Outreach in Pontiac, Michigan, which helps at-risk youth. A member of the Pac-12 All-Century Team and Detroit Lions 75th Season All-Time Team, he has been inducted into the Washington State University Athletics, State of Michigan Sports and CoSIDA Academic All-America halls of fame. Hanson becomes the fifth Cougar player in the College Football Hall of Fame, joining Glen Edwards (1929-31), Mel Hein (1928-30), Rueben Mayes (1982-85) and Mike Utley (1985-88). Four former Washington State coaches are also in the Hall: William “Lone Star” Dietz (1915-17), Dennis Erickson (1987-88), Forest Evashevski (1950-51) and Babe Hollingbery (1926-42).

COURTESY WASHINGTON STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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