Similar to Aikman, who was the first selection of the 1989 NFL draft by Dallas, the Cougars (3-2 overall, 1-1 Pac-12) must contain another elite signal-caller to have any prospect of an upset during the homecoming game, which will be televised on Versus. Junior Andrew Luck, who has completed 106 of 145 passes for 1,383 yards, 14 touchdowns and two interceptions this season, is the consensus top pro prospect in next April's draft.
Wulff raved about Luck's accuracy and it's not hard to see why. The junior has completed 73 percent of his passes.
"He gets them into the right plays. He's also a threat with his feet," said Wulff.
But the Cardinal's offense, which has allowed just two sacks, is more than just Luck. Wulff said the collective unit might be the best in college football. Junior Stepfan Taylor, who rushed for 1,137 yards last year, already has 459 yards and five touchdowns on 84 carries this season.
"They run the ball so effectively," Wulff said. "They've probably got three NFL players on that offensive line.
"The best thing we can do is slow the run down. When we're defending the pass, we're going to have to make plays in the secondary."
Wulff was dismissive that his players could experience an awe factor when facing Luck, whose offense averages 46.2 points per game, which is seventh among 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams. He noted that most of the unit returns from last year's 38-28 loss at Stanford.
But how do the Cougars contain one of the game's most prolific offenses?
"You line up and play hard football," Wulff said. "We have to execute at a high level."
The latter was not the case Saturday when WSU's defense surrendered a 58-yard completion to wide receiver Nelson Rosario that set up the go-ahead touchdown in a 28-25 loss at UCLA.
"It concerns you," said Wulff, referring to explosive plays allowed in the fourth quarter. "They were big plays. That's something we've got to grow from. We can't give up the big play."
The Cardinal (5-0, 3-0) also rank 24th (32:19 minutes) in time of possession. While many coaches and analysts feel that statistic is overrated, Wulff said it helps keep Stanford's defense fresh. The Cardinal allow just 302.4 yards per game, which ranks 19th nationally.
"They're sound," Wulff said. "They take coaching very well. They go out and execute. They're a veteran football team."
WULFF SAID SENIOR quarterback Marshall Lobbestael, who has completed 118 of 182 passes for 1,570 yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions, is probable to start against Stanford. He reiterated that junior Jeff Tuel, who suffered a broken left clavicle Sept. 3 against Idaho State, will not ascend to No. 1 on the depth chart until he is healthy and displays that he is a better option than Lobbestael. Tuel is scheduled for an X-ray Wednesday to see how his collarbone is healing.
"The X-ray has got to be good and he's got to feel good," said Wulff, adding that redshirting Tuel remains a possibility. "We're hoping it's soon, but we don't know when that will be. I think he has a little soreness here and there. I think a lot of it is muscle related because he was in a sling for two weeks."
"There's nothing really broken," he said. "I don't think you do anything different. I think it comes down to players executing concepts and plays."
The result, he said, was losing a game they should have won.
"I thought in a lot of ways we dominated the football game," Wulff said. "We just lost on the scoreboard. We played hard and tackled well. You win that game 95 out of 100 times.
"We're playing good, physical football."
"Some of the offensive linemen we're bringing in here have great talent," Wulff said. "I would be shocked if there ever was this much talent and potential on the offensive line."
"We believe in our quarterbacks to get rid of the ball on time," he said.