The Washington State Cougars started 2016 with a pair of losses, the second of which was to the Boise State Broncos, in Idaho. Today they’re looking to complete a turnaround on the Broncos’ return trip to Pullman.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT from Martin Stadium.
WSU — now ranked 20th by the Associated Press — opened the season last week with a comfortable 31-0 win over FCS Montana State, and now they take a step up in competition as they build toward Pac-12 play. Boise State also comes into the game 1-0 after defeating the Troy Trojans last week, 24-13.
The odds makers instilled the Cougs as 8.5-point favorites early in the week, but that line has since climbed all the way to 10 as the majority of the money has come in on WSU.
The WSU offense was efficient if uninspiring in the first game, combating the Bobcats’ extremely conservative defense with lots of throws to the Cougars’ talented running backs. James Williams racked up 163 receiving yards on 13 receptions. Our Brian Anderson likened it to “taking a Ferrari out for a spin and never leaving second gear. Sure you’re still driving it ... but not really. The offense has other, higher gears; just need to make sure we can shift into them.” Will the offense open up today against the Broncos?
Of course, this obsession with the offense ignores that the defense had its best day since Alex Grinch took over as defensive coordinator. The Cougars were absolutely stifling, flying around and making plays. The Boise State offense didn’t look in the first week like what fans have become accustomed to, either; Brett Rypien was ineffective and was replaced for large chunks of the game by grad transfer Montell Cozart, who is a dual threat.
In particular, the Broncos struggled with pass protection, giving up four sacks; you can bet Hercules Mata’afa and company are licking their chops at the prospect of getting after whoever is taking the snaps.
Here’s how you can follow along.
Game time: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV channel: ESPN
Stream: WatchESPN (log-in required)