On paper, Saturday's home opener should be an easy win for Mike Leach and his team, if the Cougars can keep the Spartans in check and avoid a lull.
Washington State (1-0) vs. San Jose St. (0-1)
When: Saturday, Sept. 8, 8 p.m. PDT
Where: Martin Stadium
TV/Radio: Pac-12 Networks/770 AM
Line: Washington State by 33 1/2
WSU players to watch
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QB Gardner Minshew — 37 of 58 for 319 yds., 3 TDs
WR Tay Martin — 5 rec., 73 yds.
RB James Williams — 135 total yards, 2 TDs
LB Dominick Silvels — 6 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack
San Jose State players to watch
RB Tyler Nevens — 82 yds, 2 TD
QB Aaron Montel –13 of 19, 254 yds, 2 TDs
WR Bailey Gaither — 6 rec., 137 yds, 2 TDs
LB Ethan Aguayo – 12 tackles
Keys to the game
Don’t get overconfident
On paper, this should be an easy victory for the Cougars, which is why WSU is a five-touchdown favorite. It won by three touchdowns at Wyoming, and San Jose State lost its opener at home to UC Davis, an FCS school. The Spartans are 0-13 against Pac-12 schools since beating Stanford in 2006. But none of those stats mean anything once the game starts, and if WSU comes in expecting it to be easy, it could turn into a much-closer game than anticipated.
Avoid a lull
The Cougars were outscored 14-3 in the second quarter against Wyoming and fell behind at halftime. They need to jump on San Jose State early and not let up. If WSU can do that, it should give a lot of players a chance to play in the second half.
Keep the Spartans in check
San Jose State had 506 yards against UC Davis and scored 38 points. The problem was the defense allowed 589 yards and 44 points. Hard to imagine WSU being shut down on offense, but can the Cougar defense contain the Spartans, who played three different quarterbacks in the opener?
The point spread seems a bit high, but the Cougars should roll in their home opener.
Washington State 55, San Jose State 27