2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Washington State Offense
At some point it might be nice if the passing game came up with more big plays. It’s the whole point of the attack to dink, dunk, and keep the chains moving, but averaging 10.2 yards per pass isn’t anything special.
That’s what Mike Leach is going for, but it’s possible to generate more pop – the 2014 passing game was able to push it a bit – and the pieces are there to generate more yards after the catch, and even more big things downfield. The Cougars are 7-1 over the last four years when they average more than 11 yards per catch.
Biggest Key To The Washington State Defense
Hold up when teams start to power away. It was a really, really good run defense overall, but it allowed two rushing touchdowns or more in six of the 13 games and were gashed by the teams on the slate that could bring the thump.
There aren’t a whole lot of tough running offenses on the slate to face – Utah, Stanford and Washington are the only ones who qualify – but the smallish front line has to find a good rotation and overcome the lack of raw bulk by continuing to get into the backfield.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Gage Gubrud, Sr.
He has yet to win the job because he has yet to get fully healthy. He’s just getting past an ankle injury – he wasn’t able to do too much in spring ball – and he has to fight off senior Anthony Gordon for the job, but the Eastern Washington transfer was a machine at the FCS level.
All he did was throw for close to 10,000 yards and 87 scores, and now it’s his job to pull a Gardner Minshew and keep the Wazzu offense cranking. If it’s not him, it’ll be Gordon, but no matter who it is, replacing Mr. Mustache – Minshew hit 71% of his passes for 4,779 yards and 38 scores – isn’t going to be easy.
Key Game To The Washington State Season
at Utah, Sept. 28
November 3rd, 2012 was the last time Utah State able to beat Washington State, losing four straight in the series including a 28-24 battle last season. This will be the first road game of the year for the Cougars after starting out with four straight at home.
This also begins a stretch of four road games in five dates starting at the end of September on throw to mid-November. A win over the defending South champ won’t guarantee anything, but with a week off to follow, it would be a nice way to go into the break.
– Washington State Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Washington State Fun Stats
– 4th Quarter Scoring: Washington State 151 – Opponents 46
– 4th Down Conversions: Opponents 15-of-21 (71%) – Washington State 18-of-26 (69%)
– Time of Possession: Washington State 32:14 – Opponents 27:46