Looking ahead to UNLV

ISN'T IT GREAT to look at the national stats and see Washington State's name plastered all over the place? No. 3 in scoring. No. 5 in sacks and total offense. Six categories in the top 10.

Sure it was Idaho State. You think Arizona State is apologizing for playing UC Davis? Or Arizona for Northern Arizona? Or Oregon State for playing Sacramento State.

About the Beavers… uh, never mind.

Point is, Cougar fans, you deserve a little feel good. It's been a long, tough road the past few years. So soak it up, even if WSU has to refigure itself a little this week with Marshall Lobbestael at quarterback instead of Jeff Tuel.

Washington State is 1-0. Why not 2-0 with Nevada-Las Vegas coming to Pullman this Saturday? I am a big proponent of overlooking season openers in favor of second and third games to get a read on teams, but it's hard to look past the Rebels' 51-17 debacle at Wisconsin.

UNLV was so bad, it got drilled by 34 points, rushed for 147 yards and didn't commit a single turnover. Wisconsin didn't need any help rolling up 499 yards and a 37-3 halftime lead.

Not sure Bobby Hauck's former school – Montana – would have played that poorly in Madison.

What has to give Washington State fans hope that a 2-0 record is imminent has to do with the Rebels' porous defense. UNLV was one of the Mountain West's worst defensive teams in 2010, and last Thursday's season debut showed no indication of improvement.

"I'll keep saying it, someday – hopefully, this coming Saturday – we've got to play good defense here if we want to be a good football team," Hauck told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Does that sounds like a coach who has a lick of confidence in his defense?

By the way, you can check out Hauck's thoughts on the Washington State game later this week in the Review-Journal, as he writes a weekly column for that newspaper. Can you imagine Paul Wulff sharing the column stump with John Blanchette at the Spokane Spokesman-Review?

While UNLV had some moments on offense against Wisconsin, most of it didn't take place until the game was out of hand. Here's another area that ought to bode well for the Cougars: for a large chunk of the game against Wisconsin, UNLV played three freshmen along the offensive line, as well as a sophomore quarterback and two sophomore running backs.

Nevada-Las Vegas is a series the Cougars absolutely own. Washington State is 4-0 all-time against the Rebels, having won all four games by double digits. The average score is 37-16. The last time WSU and UNLV played was 1991, a 40-13 Cougar romp.

NOTABLE NOTE:
The first time Washington State played UNLV was 1978, the year when the Pac-8 added Arizona and Arizona State and became the Pac-10. This year, the Pac-10 has evolved into the Pac-12 with the addition of Colorado and Utah.

Read Nick Daschel's occasional Pac-12 ramblings at twitter.com/nickdaschel

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