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Players to watch in the Battle of the Palouse

Washington State v Washington Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

We finally made it. It’s Cougar Football Saturday! School’s in session or about to be across the country, and college football has returned to Pullman. Jake Dickert leads the Coug Raid against the Idaho Vandals and their new head coach Jason Eck as the Battle of the Palouse returns since the day after my wedding.

Get hyped:

In the past, I’ve made three bold predictions and focused on three things to watch. No longer will I be bound by three. It’s time to expand the analysis, for better or worse.

So this season I’ll focus on players to watch. Sometimes it’ll be as few as three, other times there may be 10 players on my mind. But before we get there, let’s review what you either missed or need to re-read as you prepare for the season opener:

OK, now that you’re all caught up, let’s see which players I’ll be watching tonight:

Cameron Ward

Can WSU’s new quarterback make a smooth transition to the Coug Raid? He has talented wide receivers, but the offensive line needs to keep him safe in the pocket.

The Entire Offensive Line

Specifically, Christian Hilborn and Ma’ake Fifita. Hilborn was in a battle for the left guard position and won. How much has he improved since the Sun Bowl? He’s still young—a redshirt freshman. And as Steven reminded us, that’s not an easy position for a youngster, so we’ll need to have some patience.

As for Fifita, how healthy is he? The team’s most precarious position unit is under the microscope tonight.

Fa’Avae Fa’Avae

What’s the o/u on how many times the Pac-12 Networks broadcasting crew mentions that Fa’Avae once played at WSU? The former Pullman native now resides across the border in Moscow, and the redshirt senior is a stalwart on the Idaho defense. How much motivation will he be playing with?

Sam Lockett III

Locket is in a battle for the free safety position with Jaden Hicks, but will Dickert and defensive coordinator Brain Ward trot him out to start, given that he’s a local boy (Spokane)? Plus, with him and Armani Marsh on the field at the same time, WSU will have two Gonzaga Prep grads in the secondary. Has that ever happened?

Jaden Hicks

How much will Hicks switch with Lockett? He has great size and this is the perfect game for the redshirt freshman to get his feet wet. Lockett is a rookie, too, though he has junior college experience. Both will be playing their first D-I game.

Ron Stone Jr.

Is he healthy? He was limited for most or all of preseason camp. We know what Stone can do, so it’s not like him missing team periods in practice was too worrisome, but how healthy is he? His snap count might tell us.

OK, what players are you looking at tonight?


Battle of the Palouse

'It's definitely going to be emotional': Washington State seventh-year receiver Renard Bell anticipating first game back after missing 2021 season | The Spokesman-Review
As he walked through the doors of Washington State’s football facility on the first morning of fall camp, Renard Bell felt an overwhelming rush of “happiness and joy,” which brought him to tears.

The pick: Why Washington State will beat Idaho | The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN – The new coaches add intrigue to this Battle of the Palouse, but the game probably won’t be remembered as an interesting one.

Two-minute drill: Keys to victory for Washington State and Idaho in the Battle of the Palouse | The Spokesman-Review
Don’t take your eyes off …

Battle of the Palouse: WSU vs Univ. of Idaho | History & Coaches Interviews |
Washington State University and the University of Idaho football teams face off in the 'Battle of the Palouse.' History & interviews with Jake Dickert and Jason Eck.

How will WSU football do in 2022? Here are game-by-game picks. | WSU Sports |
Despite a grueling early-season schedule, the Cougars have the talent to get back to a bowl game in 2022. Here are predictions for each game.

Fa’avae Squared finds his niche in Vandal Land | Sports |
Idaho’s football team has had its meeting Saturday at Washington State circled on the calendar since the schedule was released.

Border rivalry between WSU, Idaho by the numbers | Idaho College Sports Coverage |
Some say the first meeting actually happened in 1893, but the myth is that the Washington Aggies wanted to play rugby while Idaho wanted to play American football and nobody knows what really happened.

College Football

College football schedule, games 2022: What to watch in Week 1, TV channels, Saturday kickoff times -
A top-five showdown between Ohio State and Notre Dame highlights a massive weekend in college football.

College football picks, schedule: Predictions against the spread, odds for top 25 games Saturday in Week 1 -
A closer look at the top games for the first Saturday of the 2022 college football season.


Cougs tally a dozen aces in four-set win over Belmont - Washington State University Athletics
PULLMAN, Wash. - Katy Ryan (13-3-23, .435) and Laura Jansen (13-4-29, .310) tied with a team-high 13 kills and Karly Basham tied an all-time record with seven service aces as Washington State volleyball (4-1) won, 3-0 (25-7, 21-25, 25-12, 25-20), over Belmont (1-4) on Friday in Bohler Gym.