Best Washington State Offensive Player
OT Andre Dillard, Sr.
With the right 6-5, 305-pound size, the right frame, and good enough feet to be solid in pass protection, he’s been great at left tackle over the last two seasons and with 29 career starts under his belt. It’s a reloading line for a reloading offense, but the two-time All-Pac-12 performer should be the bright spot early on.
2. WR Renard Bell, Soph.
3. C Frederick Mauigoa, Jr.
4. WR Kyle Sweet, Sr.
5. QB Gardner Minshew, Sr.
Best Washington State Defensive Player
S Jalen Thompson, Jr.
While he was helped out in a big way by the pressure applied from the defensive front, the 6-0, 185-pound Thompson was a key playmaker on his own, too, following up a 51-tackle freshman year with 73 stops, four picks, and six broken up passes in an All-Pac-12 season. On a defense in need of experienced producers, he’ll once again be one of the stars.
2. LB Jahad Woods, Soph.
3. LB Justus Rogers, Soph.
4. DE Nnamdi Oguayo, Jr.
5. S Hunter Dale, Sr.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Gardner Minshew, Sr.
For the good of the program as a whole, it would actually be better if the Cougars went with a younger quarterback option to develop – Cammon Cooper, your table is ready – but to try to get through a rebuilding year overall, the hope will be for Minshew to bridge the gap.
The grad transfer from East Carolina originally appeared to be ready to try his hand at Alabama, but wisely chose Wazzu instead. He throws a whole lot of picks, but he’s also a good fit for the offense. When he’s on, he’s a yardage machine. As long as he can keep the mistakes to a minimum, the Cougar air show keeps on going.
Key Game To The Washington State Season
Oregon, Oct. 20
Assuming the Cougars aren’t going to be the Cougars of last season, they should still managed to be 3-0 before going into the Pac-12 opener at USC. That’ll be rough, but they should be able to fight against Utah at home and on the road at Oregon State before getting a week off. That’s when the team needs to be hitting its stride. Beat Oregon, or else with a trip to Stanford to follow, the pressure will be on in November.
2017 Washington State Fun Stats
– 1st Half Scoring: 1st Quarter 68 – 2nd Quarter 117
– Time of Possession: Washington State 32:25 – Opponents 27:35
– 3rd Down Conversions: Washington State 43% – Opponents 28%