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RECAP: Jayden de Laura (4 TDs) leads Washington State Cougars past Portland St.

Sep 11, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Jayden de Laura (4) drops back for a pass against the Portland State Vikings in the first half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Jayden de Laura (4) drops back for a pass against the Portland State Vikings in the first half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Jayden de Laura got a leg up in Washington State’s quarterback derby, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for another as the Cougars defeated Portland State 44-24 Saturday in a nonconference game in Pullman, Wash.

de Laura, who started as a freshman in 2020, completed 21 of 29 passes for 303 yards for the Cougars (1-1). Two of his TDs went to Travell Harris.

Tennessee transfer Jarrett Guarantano got the nod for the Cougars’ season opener last week, a 26-23 loss to Utah State. But he suffered a left leg injury in the second quarter and was replaced by de Laura, who led the team to a double-digit lead before the Aggies rallied in the final 5 1/2 minutes.

The FCS Vikings (0-2) provided an easier test as WSU took a 30-10 halftime lead thanks to 13 points off turnovers.

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A Portland State fumble led to the Cougars’ first score, a 22-yard pass from de Laura to Calvin Jackson Jr.

The Vikings tied the score at 7-7 early in the second quarter on a 1-yard run by quarterback Davis Alexander.

Harris returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards to Portland State’s 46-yard line and de Laura capped a three-play drive with a 10-yard run.

A 16-yard touchdown run by Deon McIntosh, who had a game-high 64 yards on eight carries, gave WSU a 21-7 lead.

Portland State’s Cody Williams kicked a 46-yard field goal to make it 21-10.

But de Laura threw a 19-yard TD pass to Harris with 1:07 left in the second quarter and the Cougars turned an interception into a 23-yard field goal by Dean Janikowski as the half ended to make it a 20-point game.

Max Borghi rushed for a 1-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to extend WSU’s lead to 37-10. Borghi had 59 yards on 13 carries.

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Alexander completed fourth-quarter touchdown passes of 39 yards to Beau Kelly and 3 yards to Nate Bennett.

Alexander, who threw for 400 yards last week in a loss at Hawaii, was 28 of 50 for 318 yards. He also rushed for a team-high 62 yards on 13 carries.

Kelly had a game-high 152 yards receiving on 10 catches.

–Field Level Media