Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Washington State Cougars: First Look

The top-ranked Trojans return to the Coliseum this Saturday to take on the Washington State Cougars in what will be the conference opener for both teams. The game will once again be featured on ABC Primetime at 5pm PT. USC comes in at (2-0) following a very impressive 49-31 win at Nebraska, while Wazzu stands at (2-1) after beating USC's first opponent Idaho 45-28 this past weekend. This was the second straight win for the Cougars, who lost at 7th ranked Wisconsin 42-21 in the opener, and then beat San Diego State 45-17 in week #2. Coach Bill Doba has a very good QB in Senior Alex Brink, who's back for his 4th year as the starter. Brink is one of the best kept secrets of the Pac-10 and almost led the Cougars to an upset of the Trojans last year in Pullman, WA. Odds makers list the Trojans as 25 point favorites this Saturday, probably because the Trojans are playing at home, but if last year's game (a 28-22 win for the Trojans) showed us anything, it's that Bill Doba's teams always compete hard. I don't expect the Trojans to struggle, but the Cougars have what it takes to keep this game close.

Washington State returns 12 starters (7 offense, 5 defense) to a team that started (6-3) last year. The Cougars sputtered down the stretch, finishing (6-6) and missing out on the post-season. Wazzu did play well on the road last season, winning 36-10 at Stanford, 13-6 at Oregon State, and 37-15 at fucla, but they haven't fared too well on their last two trips to the Coliseum. In 2003, the Cougars came in ranked #6 in the polls only to be defeated 43-16, then were destroyed 55-13 in 2005. What enables to compete though, is their high scoring offense that relies heavily on Brink. They run a very effective, wide-open passing attack which helped rank their offense 25th overall last season. The defense, however, lost their defensive coordinator Robb Akey, who left to become the head coach at Idaho, and returns only 5 starters to a unit that ranked 81st last season. Tomorrow night we will have an in-depth look at Washington State's offense, followed by the defense on Thursday...

Fight On! Beat the Cougars!!

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