Friday, September 9, 2011

Cougs ready to take down UNLV

By Outsider Steve

The Washington State Cougars couldn't have asked for a better way to start the season. At least in terms of scheduling anyway. After dropping 64 points in a route against Idaho State in the home opener, the Cougs welcome Bobby Houck and the UNLV Runnin Rebels to Pullman for a Saturday match up, and an opportunity to start the season of 2-0 for the first time since 2005. And why would anyone else besides Steve Kelley or Lee Corso think Cougars couldn't pull this off. The Cougs did exactly what they were supposed to do against an opponent like Idaho St. Move the ball consistenly, dominate on defense (the first team at least), and run up the score on a feeble opponent. UNLV on the other hand, had to travel to Wisconsin to kickoff the college football season in front of a national television audience. As you know, it didn't exactly work out the way UNLV had hoped for. Wisconsin easily rolled over UNLV 51-17 leaving Cougar fans wondering how many points the margin of victory will be this weekend. Let's take a look inside Saturday's match up between UNLV and Washington State.

WSU offense vs UNLV defense:

The Cougars were able to flash a three headed monster against Idaho St. Marshall Lobbestael was 14-19 for 230 yards, and 2 TD's with a 73.3 com%. Marquess Wilson had 4 receptions for 91 yards and a TD, while Marcus Mason, Ricky Galvin, Logwone Mitz, Carl Winston, and Leon Brooks combined on 33 carries for 280 yards and 4 TD's. The Cougs amassed a staggering 590 total yards, 301 of those yards through the air (8.6 yards per attempt), and 289 on the ground (8.0 per carry). UNLV's defense was exactly as billed vs Wisconsin; horrible. UNLV allowed 499 total yards to Wisconsin. 258 yards through the air (17.2 per attempt), and 241 yards on the ground (6.3 per rush). Not only were the Rebels unable to get after Russell Wilson, their defensive line was pushed down field on almost every play from scrimmage. Look for the Cougars offensive line to have a repeat performance, and Marshall Lobbestael to have a field day vs UNLV's secondary.

Advantage: WSU

UNLV offense vs WSU defense:

Yes the Cougars gave up 430 yards through the air vs Idaho St, and when compared to what Caleb Herring was able to do against Wisconsin, 18-27 for 146 yards and 2 TD's with a 66.7 com%, you would figure this would be the area where UNLV would do their most damage. But the Rebels we able to find their most consistent success on the ground. The combination of Bradley Randle, Tim Cornett, and QB Caleb Herring rushed for 146 yards on 38 carries. The Bad news for the Rebels is that Washington State was able to limit Idaho St. to only 23 yards rushing (0.9 per carry) on 25 attemps. If UNLV is to have any chance, it will have it will have to go to the passing game. The Cougs have the better talent along the defense front, and the speed at linebacker to stop UNLV's running game.

Advantage: WSU

As good as QB Caleb Herring could be against the Cougar secondary, I just don't see how UNLV will be able to keep the pace with Washington State's offense. The Rebels will be able to keep pace until halftime. Mainly because of the offense they do run, the pistol. They will be able to throw different looks and formations at the Cougars. Ultimately it is a gadget offense, and the Cougars have seen it, and will no how to adjust to it. The Cougs will pull away at the beginning of the third quarter and Marshall Lobbestael will be able to move the ball at will.

Prediction: 42-24 Washington State

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