Washington State hopes to keep momentum alive against SMU

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Washington State (1-1) at Southern Methodist (1-1) Time: 12:30 p.m. PDT at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. TV: CBS College Sports (Comcast Ch. 412, DirecTV Ch. 613). Radio: 850 AM, 1300 AM, 1380 AM. Line: SMU by 23.

The setup: The Cougars try to extend momentum from the comeback victory last week over Montana State against the only team they defeated last season.

What to expect: WSU faces some unfamiliarity on both sides of the ball, as the Mustangs run a 3-4 defense that could be troublesome in its versatility, while SMU’s run-and-shoot offense is one nobody runs in the Pac-10. To date, the Mustangs have shown a willingness to run (64 times) almost as frequently as they throw (72).

Notes: Two Cougars, MLB Hallston Higgins and S Chima Nwachukwu, are products of Texas … freshman LB Eric Oertel likely will be brought out of his redshirt year for WSU and play special teams … JC transfer Wade Jacobson reclaimed the starting LG spot this week.

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Key matchup: WSU linebackers, who haven’t played especially well, must successfully read SMU QB Kyle Padron and his backs. Padron, who didn’t start the game last year for the Mustangs, has run for 84 yards and completed 56 percent of his throws.

Injuries: WSU — RB Rickey Galvin (forearm), RB Jared Byers (knee), out; S Chima Nwachukwu (neck), WR Kristoff Williams (toe), questionable. SMU — CB Sterling Moore (knee), questionable; OG Bryce Tennison (ankle), questionable.

Upset brewing? — The crowd won’t be a factor; the Mustangs drew just 16,612 for Alabama-Birmingham last week. But the heat — it’s expected to be 94 degrees Saturday — might. Either way, it’s a huge uphill struggle for WSU.

Prediction: SMU 42, WSU 24.

Bud Withers

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