5 things you might not know about the Cougs

THE COUGARS ARE two wins away from going bowling with four games left -- everyone near and far agrees the Cougs are mightily improved over last year and the future looks bright under Mike Leach. There's still one thing that has continued to be bedevil Wazzu on offense though…

1. So many yards. Too few points to show for those yards.

After everything else is put out there on the table, the big issue for the Cougs on offense -- both last year and this year -- has remained the same. Comparing WSU to a select five with similar total offense yardage this season:

WSU: 3,452 yards, 30.9 ppg

LSU: 3,648 yards, 39.3 ppg
Oregon State: 3,611 yards, 44.1 ppg
Wisconsin: 3,595 yards, 39.9 ppg
Washington: 3,3313 yards, 33.6 ppg
Alabama: 3,223 yards, 40.7 ppg
(*Note: Numbers represent total ppg and include defensive touchdowns. WSU, for example, has three defensive scores. Take those out and the Cougs are averaging 28.25 ppg. But in taking an apples-to-apples approach, we're comparing the Cougs' total scoring to other teams' total scoring.)

And while you're thinking about that, think about this: Of the 25 teams in college football who have gained 3,325 yards or more in total offense, WSU's scoring average of 30.9 ppg is last among them.

(To be fair, No. 26, Western Kentucky is averaging 29.6 ppg with 3,313 yards of total offense.)

2. But here's why there's hope in looking ahead.... Yes, everyone agrees the Cougs have improved this season under Leach and there are myriad reasons to believe the improvement will continue. Keeping that firmly in mind, consider this: -- did you know that through eight games the Cougs have outscored their opponent 247-239?

Now, consider what would happen when the Cougars start scoring at a rate more befitting of all those yards. Does 4-4 become 6-2?

3. Quick, who was the leading tackler in the Oregon game? Time's up. Corner Daquawn Brown claimed the game high, and eight of his 10 tackles were solo stops. Brown has played in all eight games, but has started only four since supplanting Nolan Washington.

4. The media every week trumpets the lack of WSU running back rushing yards -- against the Ducks, WSU running backs had only seven touches. But what the media is not factoring into the equation is this: the Cougar who has touched the ball most apart from the QB and center is... running back Marcus Mason (74; 47 rushes, 27 receptions).

For comparison purposes, wideout Gabe Marks is No. 2, with 59 catches on the season after breaking a 47-year old program record with 13 grabs against Oregon.

Cougar running backs are averaging pretty good numbers. Mason is at 4.4 ypc, Teondray Caldwell is even better at 5.1 and Jeremiah Laufasa gains 4.8 yards every time he rushes the ball. The three WSU running backs are averaging a combined total of 13.8 rushes per game.

5. Does it feel like Rickey Galvin has had a quiet year? Because he leads the Cougs in all-purpose yards with 667 hashes (231 receiving yards, 436 yards on kickoff returns.) No. 2 is Marks (655), followed by Mason(455) and Caldwell (383).

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