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Previewing WSU with CougCenter

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

1 - After some rough years at WSU, what’s it like to now be one of the league leaders?

CougCenter: It feels really good, particularly considering where the program was before Mike Leach was hired. We hit depths that few Power 5 programs plumb, and it’s pretty cool to not just come back from that, but to have it be sustained for a few seasons now.

2 - Luke Falk has been benched a few times this year, what’s up with that?

CougCenter: There have been some times this year that he’s not been very good, and Leach isn’t afraid to bench anyone, including his record-setting fifth-year senior quarterback. Falk has this thing where if he starts a game poorly, he often has a hard time getting out of that funk. I don’t expect him to get benched again.

3 - Wazzu being an Air Raid team loves to chuck it around, but tell us about the improved WSU rush attack.

CougCenter: It’s actually not been as good this year, mostly because the offensive line has been a bit of a work in progress. But that unit has gotten better as the season has gone along, leading to the Cougs rushing for 117 yards against Stanford and 209 yards against Colorado. Jamal Morrow is the guy to watch out for; he’ll beat you running and catching.

4 - Talk about WSU’s improved defense. Last time we played, the Cougars were really trying to figure things out on that side of the ball.

CougCenter: They’re undersized but very fast and aggressive. As Stanford found out, it’s incredibly hard to block what you can’t touch; the Cougs stunt and slant so much, they are often past their counterparts before they can even really move their feet. That’s how Bryce Love is able to get loose for a 52-yard TD when they get out of position with their aggression, but he gets just 17 yards on the other 15 carries. Watch out for Hercules Mata’afa. Not only does he have the coolest name on the field, there’s a pretty good chance he ends up as the Pac-12 defensive player of the year.

5. If WSU wins the game, it's probably going to happen like this:

CougCenter: WSU is able to keep Utah’s offense behind the chains all day, freeing up Mata’afa, Nnamdi Oguayo and Daniel Ekuale have numerous sack parties at the expense of Utah’s porous pass protection. Luke Falk shows out in his home state by being decisive and purposeful with the ball, methodically slicing up the Utes through the air. The running backs gash the defense a few times, and Erik Powell hits some field goals.