Lopina cleared to play quarterback for Washington State against Southern Cal

SPOKANE — Kevin Lopina will start at quarterback when Washington State hosts No. 6 Southern Cal on Saturday in Pullman, coach Paul Wulff said Tuesday.

That’s after Marshall Lobbestael tore knee ligaments last weekend at Oregon State. Lopina has missed the past three games after breaking a bone in his back, but is ready to play.

“Medically he is cleared,” Wulff said of Lopina. “He is 100 percent.”

Lopina was hurt in the game against Portland State and has not played since. This season, he has completed 54 percent of his passes for 315 yards, with no touchdowns and five interceptions.

If Lopina goes down, Wulff said he will use redshirt freshman J.T. Levenseller, the son of receivers coach Mike Levenseller. Dan Wagner is No. 3 on the depth chart.

Washington State has its hands full against Southern Cal even in the best of times, as the Cougars have won only eight of the 67 games in the series. Saturday’s match is looking particularly grim.

The Trojans are 43-point favorites in what is shaping up as a collision between a semitrailer and a moped. Consider this: The Trojans lead the nation by allowing only 9.4 points per game, while the Cougars allow 45 ppg, third from the bottom among 119 major college teams.

The biggest drama may be whether WSU’s 280-game scoring streak, second longest in the nation, will end.

“We’ve got to play our best with the players who are healthy,” Wulff said Tuesday. “If we play smart and give a great effort and do the best we can, we have an opportunity to stay in the ball game.”

Southern Cal (4-1, 2-1) has a statistical edge on the Cougars in nearly every category. The Trojans have won five straight in the series.

Southern Cal coach Pete Carroll contends he never looked at the point spreads.

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it for me,” he said. “That’s not even an issue.

“We know Washington State is struggling to get back on track and we don’t want it to be this weekend,” he said.

Carroll said Southern Cal’s losses to Stanford last season and Oregon State this year show they are always vulnerable.

“It’s not who you are playing but what happens in the game,” Carroll said.

True, but the Trojans are coming off a 28-0 win over Arizona State and Washington State is one of the worst offensive teams in the nation.

“They just don’t let you breathe,” Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson said of the Trojans. “They are suffocating on defense.”

That doesn’t bode well for WSU’s scoring streak, which dates back to 1984 and trails only Michigan’s 294 games among current streaks. The Cougars are averaging only 15 points per game on offense.

Washington State (1-6, 0-4 Pacific 10) also has trouble on defense. It is on pace to break the Pac-10 record for most points allowed in a season, 469 allowed by Oregon State in 1981. The Cougars have allowed 316 points so far.

Talk to us

More in Sports

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) fumbles the ball as he is sacked by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. (97) during the second quarter Monday. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Grading the Seahawks in their 24-3 victory over the Giants

Seattle’s defense shows up big as the Seahawks head into their bye on a three-game winning streak.

Monroe junior receiver Aaron Clifton checks for defenders while taking a long reception to the house against Mountlake Terrace on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, at Monroe High School in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Prep football power rankings after Week 5

Here are our top 8 local teams after all the action from Thursday and Friday.

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Sept. 25-30

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Sept. 25-30. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Silvertips name leadership group, but no captain yet

Everett lists Ty Gibson, Kaden Hammell, Ben Hemmerling and Austin Roest as alternate captains, but will wait to assign the “C”.

Fall prep sports roundup.
Prep roundup for Monday, Oct. 2

Prep roundup for Monday, Oct. 2: (Not for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Monroe’s Mason Davis (1) celebrates with Trent Bublitz (11) after Bublitz’s touchdown reception against Edmonds-Woodway on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, at Edmonds School District Stadium in Edmonds, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Reader poll: Make your picks for Week 6 prep football games

Do you think you can beat the experts in our weekly high… Continue reading

Who’s that frog? A local high school tennis player, that’s who

Arlington tennis player Robbie Balderas worked as AquaSox mascot Webbly this season, and the busy junior also runs a landscaping business.

Mountlake Terrace’s Zaveon Jones is pulled to the ground by a diving Nicholas Mouser of Monroe on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, at Monroe High School in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Swarming Monroe defense keys win over Terrace in Wesco 3A South showdown

The Bearcats slow down the Hawks’ potent ground game, and quarterback Blake Springer tosses three TDs in a 35-10 victory.

Arlington players lift the Stilly Cup in the air after beating Stanwood on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Arlington reclaims Stilly Cup after short hiatus, routs Stanwood 42-7

Leyton Martin registers 277 yards, 4 TDs as Eagles notch fifth straight game with at least six TDs.

Most Read