TUCSON, Ariz. — Nakia Watson scored two touchdowns and Washington State intercepted former quarterback Jayden de Laura four times in a 31-20 Pac-12 road victory over Arizona on Saturday.
Watson scored on a 4-yard pass from Cameron Ward in the first quarter and on a 2-yard run in the second, giving him six scores in the past three games. He finished with 86 all-purpose yards for the Cougars (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12).
De Laura, who transferred from WSU in January, was 28 of 46 for 357 yards with a rushing and passing TD. He was the 2021 Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year with the Cougars and threw four TD passes against Arizona (4-7, 2-6) last November.
Ward was 25 of 36 for 193 yards and a TD and ran for a season-high 59 yards including a 17-yard TD. He entered the game with eight rushing yards all season.
WSU led 21-6 at the half and extended that lead by picking off de Laura on three consecutive possessions. Sam Lockett III returned an interception to the Arizona 19, setting up Dean Janikowski's 23-yard field goal with 4:45 left in the third quarter, and Derrick Langford Jr. picked off de Laura and returned it 35 yards for the TD and a 31-6 lead 36 seconds later.
Lockett got his second pick with 1:13 left in the third, diving for an overthrow at the WSU 4.
The Cougars went up 7-0 less than four minutes into the game on Watson's TD catch, then made it 14-0 midway through the second quarter on a 17-yard Ward keeper. After Arizona cut the deficit to 18 on a 38-yard Tyler Loop field goal, WSU made it 21-3 on a 2-yard Watson TD run.
The Wildcats made it a two-score game at the break with a 47-yard Loop field goal.
Arizona failed to score in the first quarter for the first time in 2022, going without a TD in the first half for the first time since last season’s finale. Both its TDs came in the fourth quarter, including a 47-yard scoring catch by Dorian Singer, who had nine receptions for 176 yards.
The Cougs will now get set to face the rival Washington Huskies next Saturday in the Apple Cup. WSU will look to win back to back Apple Cups for the first time since 2007-08.