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OPEN GAME THREAD: Stanford vs. WSU

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Game coverage from around SBN: Found here.

Time: 3 p.m. PDT

The place: Martin Stadium - Pullman, Wash.

TV: FSN Northwest, FCS Pacific (available on most Comcast digital packages, DirecTV and Dish Network if out of the Northwest area)

Radio: Find your local station here.

The line: Stanford by 16.5.

Last meeting: I do not recall these two teams meeting in 2008. Do you?

When the Cougs have the ball ...

WSU STAN
Pos. Name (# = Redshirt) Pos. Name
X Jeshua Anderson (6-2, 188, Jr.) DE Thomas Keiser (6-5, 257, So.)
F Gino Simone (5-11, 174, Fr.) DT Matt Masifilo (6-3, 285, So.)
LT Steven Ayers (6-4, 315, #So.)
NT Ekom Udofia (6-2, 315, Sr.)
LG Zack Williams (6-4, 293, #Jr.) DE Erik Lorig (6-4, 275, Sr.)
C Kenny Alfred (6-2, 300, #Sr.) SLB Will Powers (6-4, 240, Sr.)
RG B.J. Guerra (6-3, 311, #So.) MLB Clinton Snyder (6-4, 240, Sr.)
RT Micah Hannam (6-4, 284, #Jr.) WLB Chike Amajoyi (6-0, 235, Jr.)
TE Tony Thompson (6-2, 241, #Sr.) LC Richard Sherman (6-3, 190, Sr.)
Z Jared Karstetter (6-4, 203, So.) FS
Bo McNally (6-0, 210, Sr.)
QB Kevin Lopina (6-3, 241, #Sr.) SS Delano Howell (5-11, 198, So.)
RB Dwight Tardy (5-10, 208, #Sr.) RC Corey Gatewood (5-11, 188, Jr.)

When Stanford has the ball ...

STAN WSU
Pos. Name Pos. Name (# = Redshirt)
WR Ryan Whalen (6-2, 205, Jr.)
LE Travis Long (6-4, 247, Fr.)
LT Jonathan Martin (6-6, 291, RS-Fr.)
DT Bernard Wolfgramm (6-3, 288, #Jr.)
LG Chris Marinelli (6-7, 300, Sr.)
DT Josh Luapo (6-0, 321, #Jr.)
C Chase Beeler (6-3, 285, Jr.) RE Kevin Kooyman (6-6, 260, Sr.)
RG David DeCastro (6-5, 310, RS-Fr.)
SAM Andy Mattingly (6-4, 255, Sr.)
RT Matt Kopa (6-6, 305, Sr.)
MIKE Louis Bland (5-10, 202, So.)
TE Jim Dray (6-5, 255, Sr.) WILL Jason Stripling (5-11, 225, #Sr.)
WR Chris Owusu (6-2, 201, So.) LCB Brandon Jones (5-9, 178, #Jr.)
QB Andrew Luck (6-4, 235, RS-Fr.)
SS Xavier Hicks, Jr. (6-0, 211, #Sr.)
FB Owen Marecic (6-1, 244, Jr.) FS LeAndre Daniels (6-1, 203, #Fr.)
TB Toby Gerhart (6-1, 235, Sr.) RCB Chima Nwachukwu (5-11, 201, Jr.)

Special Teams ...

WSU STAN
Pos. Name (# = Redshirt) Pos. Name
K Nico Grasu (6-0, 221, Jr.) K Nate Whitaker (5-9, 185, Jr.)
P Reid Forrest (6-2, 193, #Jr.) P David Green (6-1, 205, So.)

Keys to the Game:

1. Limit big runs by Gerhart. I had intended on writing a lengthy post yesterday about how the Cougs can possibly go about stopping Toby Gerhart, and the reality is that they're not going to. He's going to get plenty of yards. He just is So, to me, the question isn't whether they can stop him, but whether they can limit him -- or at least limit the huge runs.

It's going to take a special effort from the front seven. And it might not be doable, a tempting thought after watching this.


Pretty intimidating. Here's a guy who's not only big, but fast -- and shifty. What's most impressive to me is his vision -- his ability to make one plant, cut and go. Where smaller guys often will use three to five steps to dance before picking a hole, Gerhart is expert at one-step cutbacks.

But the video also shows that if it is doable, here's what it's going to take: Assignment sound football, both physically and mentally. Physically, it means the defensive line at least holding its own at the line of scrimmage, not getting pushed way out of gap assignments. Mentally, it means linebackers refusing to overpursue and shutting down the cutback lanes that Gerhart loves so much. It's the bend-but-don't-break strategy that worked so well in the Apple Cup as the Huskies racked up 224 rushing yards and 14 rushing first downs, but only 13 points. Obviously, these are not the 2008 Huskies, but the strategy is sound.

If we can do that, all that's left to do is wrap up when they get there. Hard to do, but at least this gives them a chance, and will more than likely limit the backbreaking runs.

2. Pass the ball. Stanford's weakest unit is its secondary. Passing isn't likely to be our strength this season, but it probably needs to be today. Either Lopina or Marshall Lobbestael must be effective through the air for our offense to have a chance to put some points on the board.

3. Win the turnover battle. This sounds very generic, but I believe it will be huge. Too often last year, turnovers -- especially early in the game -- led to the team getting in big holes early. If we do the same today, and Stanford is able to be content to just grind it out on the ground while mixing in some playaction pass, it spells blowout. But if we can take care of the ball while possibly getting a couple of takeaways, I like our chances to (at the very least) keep it close.

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