Washington St Cougars
2010 Record: 2-10
2010 Against the Spread: 7-5
2010 over/under: 7-5
Returning Starters: 15 (7 offense, 8 defense)
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The Washington St Cougars are arguably the worst team in the 6 BCS conferences. Last year under coach Paul Wulff the Cougars were 2-10 with the wins coming over Montana St and an upset of Oregon St. This season the Cougars return 15 starters and will improve. However, in the tough Pac 12 they still have miles to go to even be competitive. Wulff has won only 5 games in three season as Washington St coach, including going 2-25 in conference. His job is on the line if the Cougs don’t improve drastically.
Here is a look at Washington St’s offense, defense, special teams and schedule.
The Cougars showed signs of life last year especially in the last three games that included 2 narrow losses to Cal and Washington in the Apple Cup, and the 31-14 upset at Oregon St. That said, the offense was among the worst in the country, not surprisingly for a 2-10 team. They averaged 330.8 yards a game which was 93rd in the country. The Passing game was actually decent ranking #42 in the country with 239.2 yards a game. However, the rushing game was 4th from the bottom out of 120 teams with only 91.7 yards a game. The Cougars scored only 19.6 points a game last year which also ranked in the triple digits.
Junior Jeff Tuel is a three year starter at quarterback. Tuel completed 59.8% of his passes for 2,780 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He was the team’s third leading rusher with 135 carries for 199 yards and 1 touchdown. Those numbers might not seem that great but you have to remember Tuel was running for his life most of the time. He was sacked an incredible 51 times last year which is more than 4 times a game. Tuel lost 255 rushing yards to sacks. If the line plays better, and Tuel improves his decision making he could be one of the top quarterbacks in the conference. Senior Marshall Lobbestael is the back-up in case something happens to Tuel.
As bad as the line was at pass protection, they were even worse at run blocking. Senior Logwone Mitz takes over as the feature back for James Montgomery. Mitz had 74 carries, 263 yards, and 4 touchdowns last season as the back-up. Redshirt freshman Rickey Galvin was supposed to see significant carries last year but he broke his arm in the season opener and missed the rest of the season. He is healthy and might even supplant Mitz as the top rusher. Junior Carl Winston could get a lot of carries as well, though he only had 28 carries for 90 yards last season.
The Cougars return their top two receivers. Sophomore Marquess Wilson had 55 catches, 1,006 yards, and 6 touchdowns last season. Jared Karstetter was the possession receiver with 62 catches, 658 yards, and 7 touchdowns. Senior Isiah Barton and junior Gino Simone will compete to be third receiver. Junior Andrei Lintz will be the tight end.
The line returns 3 starters and 8 veterans in the rotation. However, the line was horrendous last year ranking 119th in sacks allowed and 117th in rushing yards. The line isn’t expected to get much better this year which means the offense will struggle again. No matter how talented Tuel is, it is hard to throw when you are getting crushed and/or lying flat on your back.
Again, with a 2-10 record it isn’t surprising that the defense was among the worst in the country. Washington St allowed 467.6 yards a game which was third from the bottom in college football. Washington St gave up 245.2 yards passing, and 222.3 rushing yards a game, both were in the triple digits in the country. They allowed 35.8 points a game. They return 8 starters from that unit.
Washington St’s defense looks to improve led by DE Travis Long and LB Alex Hoffman-Ellis. The Cougars will be better just becuase some of the kids have had another year to mature, but how much better is the question.
Sophomore Andrew Furney and junior Alex Gauper are competing for the placekicker job. Furney has a leg up (no pun intended) in the competition after hitting 3 of 5 field goals last year.
Senior Dan Wagner takes over as the punter. He has been with the program for 5 years and made several punts in his career but has never been the full time punter.
It isn’t clear who will return kicks and punts as of this writing.
With home games against Idaho St and UNLV to start the season, Washington St should equal their win total from last year. They then travel to San Diego St, a tough but winnable game for the Cougars, against a team that went to a bowl game last year. In conference, WSU has home games against Stanford, Oregon St (played in Seattle, but considered a home game for the Cougars), Arizona St and Utah. They have road games against Colorado, UCLA, Oregon, Cal, and Washington. If Washington St wins the San Diego St game, and shocks a couple of conference foes like Colorado, UCLA, Cal, or Oregon St, they could win 5 games, but anything more than that would be a stretch.
The Cougars weren’t bad against the spread going 7-5 including 3-3 at home and 4-2 on the road. This was mainly because they were double digit underdogs in almost every game last season and got a lot of backdoor covers. The over under was 7-5 as well including 3-3 at home and 4-2 on the road.
Game to Play Washington St
September 10, The Cougars host UNLV. The Rebels are coming off a 2-11 season of their own, and if Washington St can’t beat that team then they won’t win another game all season. Of course, you might have to lay double digits which is a little scary with a team as bad as Washington St. The Rebels are even worse though.
Game to Bet against Washington St
The Cougars will be better but they will still suffer lots of blowout losses. October 22, Washington St and Oregon St play in Seattle. Last year, the Cougars upset the Beavers 31-14 in Corvallis, a loss that kept Oregon St out of a bowl game. I like the Beavers to get revenge in the rematch.
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