Almost a month ago, our Washington State Cougars were coming off a bye week where they gained three spots in the AP Top 25 Poll and were sitting pretty at no. 13 in the nation. Since then, it’s been all downhill.
The Cougs lost a tough one at UCLA against a great defense (fine), then laid an egg at home against Arizona (can’t happen), then got walloped in Eugene against the Ducks (not unexpected), and then forgot how to tackle in a loss last week at Arizona State (also can’t happen).
In the words of Jim Halpert:
That talk of how WSU had three nationally ranked fall sports teams was a notch on our belt back in late September. Now, only volleyball is holding up its end of the bargain.
Our Cougs return home, though, to take on the Stanford Cardinal in what seems like another must-win game. The Cardinal are last in the Pac-12 at 1-5 in conference play and 2-6 overall. You know who else was last in the Pac-12 when we played them? Arizona State. So don’t think this one will be a cakewalk.
Sure, Stanford has a loss to FCS Sacramento State (one of the better FCS teams this season). They also gave Washington a scare last week and had a miraculous comeback to defeat Colorado a few weeks ago.
The Cardinal are also, shall we say, bad on defense:
- Total defense: no. 120 in the nation at 465 yards per game
- Passing defense: no. 133 (last!) in the nation at 322.5 yards per game
- Scoring defense: no. 129 in the nation at 37.5 points per game
(All stats courtesy of cfbstats.com)
Good news for the Cougs, right? Well, as we saw last week, poor stats on the other sideline don’t always translate to victories. At least this time it’s strength (the WSU offense) on weakness (the Stanford defense).
Under Troy Taylor, the Cardinal like to throw the ball more than we’re used to when playing Stanford. They’re no. 51 in the nation in passing offense at 251 yards a game. Not great, but not terrible, either. WSU will be without Chau Smith-Wade, so keep an eye on the WSU secondary in this one.
Stanford is no. 101 in the nation in rushing offense, and it’ll be up to the beleaguered WSU defense to make the Cardinal live up to that ranking.
The Cougs will be without running backs Nakia Watson and Dylan Paine, so expect to see Djouvensky Schlenbaker get more carries against Stanford’s rush defense that gives up about 142 yards a game (no. 64 nationally). The WSU running game (no. 127 in the nation) still hasn’t been good this season and it’s week 10. Yeesh.
The Cougs really need a win tonight. It’s might be cold and rainy in Pullman at kickoff. Let’s hope the game result is better than the weather. Watch the game at 6 p.m. PT on the Pac-12 Network and talk about it here.