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Cougs need to take advantage of softer upcoming schedule

Despite what you’ve seen lately, there’s still a decent chance at a bowl game.

Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Good morning, Coug fans. It’s the second Saturday in a row without Cougar football, though the lingering feelings of the most recent loss might make this Saturday a little more dreary for some. WSU finds itself on a three-game losing streak and has lost four of its last five. But the last five games were the team’s toughest stretch of football this season. Going 2-3 in those games was probably the safest bet. That the Cougs went 1-4 is really disappointing, but the season’s not lost.....yet.

Sure, WSU needs to figure out its offense. When Cam Ward completes 87 percent of his passes against Utah, you’d think WSU played just fine on offense. But the surface-level stats only tell a sliver of the story. As The Spokesman-Review’s Colton Clark explained today:

Twenty of Ward’s passes, counting incompletions, traveled 5 yards or less. Eleven of his completions were caught behind the line of scrimmage. Five of those receptions would have been more beneficial for the Cougars had they been incompletions – the Utes swarmed WSU receivers on those plays, recording five of their 10 tackles for loss on the night.

(Emphasis is mine)

Yikes. That needs to change heading into he final four weeks.

WSU’s next four games are in order:

There are winnable games here.

Stanford, Arizona and Arizona State and 9th, 10th and 11th, respectively, in the conference for total defense. Arizona is 5th in total offense (the Cats have seemed to surge a bit lately in that category), Stanford is 8th, and Arizona State is 11th, just behind WSU, in total offense. Yes, those are surface-level stats, but it gives you a good starting point when you try and figure out WSU’s chances.

Washington is the outlier here, as the Huskies are knocking on the door of the AP Top 25.

The Cougs need two wins in its final two to qualify for a bowl. More wins obviously equals a better bowl game, but just getting to the postseason would be a success based on what we’ve seen lately. With a patchwork offensive line, a depleted running back corps, and the absence of Renard Bell, WSU is doing all it can to survive on offense. Get Ward some time to throw downfield and this might be a brand new ball club.

WSU can either wallow in its recent struggles, or take advantage of the softer portion of its schedule and turn things around.


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