SPOKANE, Wash. — The final week of the regular season has arrived for the FCS and this weekend is a big one for the Idaho Vandals who look to get into the playoffs. Eastern Washington will not make the playoffs, but hope to end the season on a win.
Two weeks remain in the FBS regular season as Washington State looks to improve which bowl game it winds up in come season's end.
Here is a preview on all three programs games this weekend:
The Cougs on the road facing Arizona who's led by former WSU quarterback Jayden De Laura.
Of course, de Laura was a Nick Rolovich recruit who stood by the former head coach's side throughout the whole COVID-19 vaccination saga that led to the firing of Rolovich.
When it comes to this game, Washington State's focus will be on stopping de Laura. He's put together a great season throwing for over 3,128 yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Most recently, de Laura and the Wildcats upset then 12th ranked UCLA with a fantastic game from the former WSU QB throwing for 315 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
When asked about facing his former team de Laura made it known this game means a little extra.
"This game, it's personal. It's personal," said de Laura after Arizona's 34-28 upset win over UCLA.
"I would love to just say that it's going to be just another game, you know, for everybody. I would assume that it's going to have some form of impact on Jayden," said Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch. "It's Jayden's job to make sure that it doesn't affect him and that he doesn't play the game any differently."
However, WSU is keeping things close to the vest when it comes to the former Cougar quarterback.
"He's a fierce competitor. We knew that when he was here," said Washington State redshirt junior edge rusher Brennan Jackson. "I wish the best of luck to him, I hope he's doing great over there. He's having a great season and we're excited for a great challenge."
"I'm not a big believer in external motivators. There's gonna be great storylines for everybody the next two weeks, okay, but Washington State football as a program, we're focused on what we need to do," said Washington State head coach Jake Dickert. "You know, did you circle this game coach? No, I circle every game. Our team circles every game. We're not playing one individual. We're playing an Arizona team that's much improved."
Washington State at Arizona should make for a really interesting game on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. and can be watched on the Pac-12 Network.
This week, Idaho is on the road at Idaho State in a renewal of the Battle of the Domes in Pocatello.
On paper, this is a game Idaho should have no problem winning. The Vandals are ranked 21st in the FCS Stats Perform rankings and the Bengals have won a single game all season.
Despite the records, Idaho head coach Jason Eck knows they'll get Idaho State's best shot in this rivalry.
This week, it's simple. The Vandals have to win to have any chance at making the playoffs.
"Last week we controlled our own destiny for the playoffs, but we have lost that privilege now, so we cannot get caught up in what if's. We need to handle our business because if we don't win this game, there are no what if's. If we lose this game, this will be our last game, but if we play well and get a win, we have an opportunity to watch that selection show Sunday and see what happens," Eck said.
Idaho at Idaho State kicks off at noon on Saturday. That game can be watched on ESPN+.
Unlike Idaho, Eastern Washington has no shot at the FCS Playoffs sitting at 2-8.
The Eags hosting Northern Colorado this weekend at Roos Field.
Unfortunately for EWU, starting quarterback Gunner Talkington will be out as he suffered a foot injury in last week's 63-7 loss to No. 13 Montana.
So, in is redshirt freshman quarterback Kekoa Visperas as the Eags look to end the season on a high note.
"It's been a rough season, so you know, just to close it out with a win and especially to do it on the red and sending the seniors off right, you know, that would mean a lot to the team and to the seniors most of all," said redshirt junior wide receiver Freddie Roberson. "You know, they've been here the longest and they've put in more work than a lot of guys on the team, so that would mean a lot."
Eastern Washington vs. Northern Colorado kicks off at 1p.m. in Cheney. The game can be watched on ESPN+.