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OPEN GAME THREAD: WSU vs. No. 25 Notre Dame

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via i839.photobucket.com (thanks spencer peaty!)

Game coverage from around SBN: Here

Time: 4:30 p.m. PDT

The place: The Alamodome (San Antonio, Texas)

TV: NBC

Radio: Find your local station here. You can also listen to it via streaming for a fee at wsucougars.com.

The line: Notre Dame minus-27.5 (Fun fact! The Cougs have covered in four of their past five games.)

When the Cougs have the ball ...

WSU ND
Pos. Name (# = Redshirt) Pos. Name
X Jeffrey Solomon (6-0, 195, #Jr.) DE Kapron Lewis-Moore (6-4 270 So.)
F Gino Simone (5-11, 174, Fr.) DT
Ethan Johnson (6-4 280 So.)
LT Alex Reitnouer (6-5, 253, Fr.) NT
Ian Williams (6-2 295 Jr.)
LG Zack Williams (6-4, 293, #Jr.) DE
John Ryan (6-5 255 Sr.)
C Kenny Alfred (6-2, 300, #Sr.) SLB Darius Fleming (6-1 240 So.)
RG B.J. Guerra (6-3, 318, #So.) MLB Brian Smith (6-3 240 Jr.)
RT Micah Hannam (6-4, 284, #Jr.) WLB Manti Te’o (6-2 244 Fr.)
TE Tony Thompson (6-2, 241, #Sr.) CB Gary Gray (5-11 190 Jr.)
Z Jared Karstetter (6-4, 203, So.) S
Kyle McCarthy (6-1 210 Sr.)
QB Jeff Tuel (6-3, 207, Fr.) S
Sergio Brown (6-2 205 Sr.)
RB Logwone Mitz (6-1, 229, #So.) CB Robert Blanton (6-1 185 So.)

When Notre Dame has the ball ...

ND WSU
Pos. Name Pos. Name (# = Redshirt)
X
Golden Tate (5-11 195 Jr.)
LE Casey Hamlett (6-3, 250, Jr.)
LT Paul Duncan (6-7 315 Sr.) DT Bernard Wolfgramm (6-3, 291, #Jr.)
LG Chris Stewart (6-5 330 Sr.) DT Dan Spitz (6-6, 268, #Fr.)
C Eric Olsen (6-4 305 Sr.) RE Travis Long (6-4, 247, Fr.)
RG Trevor Robinson (6-5 305 So.) SAM Andy Mattingly (6-4, 255, Sr.)
RT Same Young (6-8 320 Sr.) MIKE Alex Hoffman-Ellis (6-1, 233, #So.)
TE Kyle Rudolph (6-6 260 So.) WILL Jason Stripling (5-11, 225, #Sr.)
Z Duval Kamara (6-5 219 Jr.) LCB Brandon Jones (5-9, 178, #Jr.)
QB Jimmy Clausen (6-3 223 Jr.) SS Xavier Hicks, Jr. (6-0, 211, #Sr.)
FB James Aldridge (6-0 225 Sr.) FS Chima Nwachukwu (5-11, 201, Jr.)
TB
Armando Allen (5-10 200 Jr.) RCB Terrance Hayward (6-1, 186, #Fr.)

Special Teams ...

WSU ND
Pos. Name (# = Redshirt) Pos. Name
K Nico Grasu (6-0, 221, Jr.) K Nick Tausch (6-0 190 Fr.)
P Reid Forrest (6-2, 193, #Jr.) P
Ben Turk (5-11 193 Fr.)

Keys to the Game Competing

1. Tackle. The most fundamental aspect of football took a vacation on the Cougs last week. The baffling thing is that this is one area where the Cougs have been particularly sound since early in the Hawaii game. Notre Dame possesses a lot of the same explosiveness as Cal, although more in the passing game than in the running attack. The most obvious contributor to that is Tate, who is as good a college receiver as there is in the country. Washington showed what happens when you don't make sure to tackle him. The Cougs will give up some completions, but they can't afford the big play because of not wrapping up.

2. Step up in special teams. Again, this hadn't been an issue since week one, but it cropped up last week. If this team is going to stay competitive, it's going to need to be better in this phase. But you know what would be really nice? A big special teams play. Maybe a reverse on a kickoff return? An unexpected onside kick? Any kind of big play here would go a long way towards the Cougars potentially being able to do the unthinkable.

3. Protect Tuel. Notre Dame's defense is statistically worse than the one that Tuel lit up for 354 yards last week. They blitz a ton, and consequently will give up some big plays. Tuel has shown that he and Johnny Forzani can connect for some big plays; if the offensive line can do a better job -- which it ought to be able to do after getting some more talent back this week -- then there should be some plays to be had.