5 WSU keys to beating Stanford

THE COUGS and Cardinal square off in a matter of hours (ESPN, 6 p.m.) and this figures to be a very different matchup for Washington State than the ones that have come before it. Here are the five keys to a WSU victory, including a special one on … special teams.

Cougars (2-4) vs Cardinal (3-2)
AT A GLANCE
KICKOFF:
6:00 pm Pacific Time

WHERE:
Stanford Stadium (50,400)

TELEVISION:
ESPN

RADIO:
The Cougar Sports Radio Network covers much of the West. Click here for listings.

THE LINE:
Stanford by 17

LAST MEETING:
2013 WSU lost 55-17

THE SERIES:
Stanford leads 38-25-1

CF.C PREDICTION:
Cougs 21, Cardinal 20

WHEN WSU HAS THE BALL
1. Be patient and protect your defense.
Stanford's offense is struggling badly, but thrives off turnovers and field position. Trust your defense to hold its own, and don't risk putting them in a bad position. Quick throws to Vince Mayle (pictured above), who is particularly adept at picking up yards after that first hit, could make for the difference.

2. Expect frustration.
Stanford surrenders just 8.6 points per game. Scores won't come easy, and the front seven for the Cardinal won't make many mistakes. Connor Halliday needs to be comfortable with the fact that he won't throw for 500 yards this week and that punts and the field position game are critical to a W.

WHEN WSU IS ON DEFENSE
3. Fight for every yard.
Every yard and every point counts in this game. Stanford has a weak kicking game, and Kevin Hogan has been inconsistent in the red zone. The Cougars need to want this game more than does Stanford.

4. Make the most of Stanford mistakes
Stanford has fumbled the ball 14 times this season and Hogan has been careless at times when he is forced to make plays himself. Winning the turnover battle is a must.

WHEN WSU IS ON SPECIAL TEAMS
5. Start over.
WSU's special teams have been an unmitigated disaster but they don’t have to continue as such. Special teams coach Eric Russell is gone now, and so is the pressure and frustration that hung over him. Teams can use situations like this as a chance to rally around each other and start fresh. Play loose and have some fun.

Check back on CF.C after the game for our wall-to-wall coverage.


Cougfan Top Stories