Kicking off our Apple Cup analysis this week, this is the first in a series of posts of the players we think are most important to WSU's chances to beat UW in the game on Saturday.
#86 / Wide Receiver / Washington St. Cougars
Tulare Union H.S.
|Receiving||Kickoff Returns||Punt Returns|
Why Marquess Wilson? Simple: If the Cougs are going to win this one, they're likely going to need some big plays, and nobody's been better at delivering a big play than Wilson.
The Skinny: As we all know by now, the true freshman started off like gangbusters. But at 6-3 and 173 pounds -- and people who have seen him without his pads wonder if that's maybe even a little generous on the weight -- it was inevitable that he would wear down and hit a little bit of a wall as the season progressed given how often he was thrown to and how he commanded attention from opponents:
|9/4/2010||@ 16 Oklahoma St.||Turf||L 17-65||4||108||27||1|
|9/11/2010||Montana St.||Turf||W 23-22||3||39||13||0|
|9/18/2010||@ Southern Methodist||Turf||L 21-35||6||134||22.33||1|
|9/25/2010||Southern California||Turf||L 16-50||7||59||8.43||0|
|10/2/2010||@ UCLA||Grass||L 28-42||5||118||23.6||0|
|10/9/2010||1 Oregon||Turf||L 23-43||4||57||14.25||0|
|10/23/2010||@ 5 Stanford||Grass||L 28-38||6||150||25||1|
|10/30/2010||@ Arizona St.||Grass||L 0-42||5||89||17.8||0|
|11/13/2010||@ Oregon St.||Turf||W 31-14||1||33||33||1|
It didn't just show up in an inability to get open; it also showed up with some drops, which were virtually non-existent early in the season. With three weeks off to rest his tired body, it figures that a fresher Wilson can return to early season form.
The opportunity is there against Washington. WSU has averaged 7.4 yards per attempt this year, and Washington has given up 7.1. Wilson also has a three-inch height advantage over both UW corners, Quinton Richardson and Desmond Trufant.
This matters because the games Washington has lost has been the games the Huskies were poorest in pass defense. Their six losses? Six of their seven worst games in terms of opponents' yards per attempt and passing efficiency.
Final Assessment: Quick strike big plays against a vulnerable defense would have an enormous impact in a game that doesn't figure to be a shootout.