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Seen & Heard on Planet Coug

CHALK UP ANOTHER reason why the Cougars are ranked in the top 25 and tied for second in the Pac-12: health. Yes, Joe Dahl went down after the Stanford game, River Cracraft was in a boot on the sideline and Isaac Dotson missed a bunch of games, but on the whole the health of the 2015 Cougars has been incredible.

With two weeks left in the regular season, consider this:

Seven players on offense (Gunnar Eklund, Riley Sorenson, Eduardo Middleton, Cole Madison, Dom Williams, Gabe Marks and Luke Falk) have started every game, Cracraft started all but the last one, Dahl has missed the last two and the rotation of Jamal Morrow, Gerard Wicks and Keith Harrington hasn't missed a beat at running back.

Seven players on defense (Destiny Vaeao, Robert Barber, Darryl Paulo, Jeremiah Allison, Taylor Taliulu and Shalom Luani) have started every game, Marcellus Pippins started all but the opener, Darrien Molton has started all but two, and the tag team of Kache Palacio and Ivan McLennan at rush linebacker hasn't missed a snap.

That's basically 20 out of 22 positions with little or no shake ups. Add in the specialists at kicker, punter and long snapper and it's 23 out of 25.

In a conference as tough and balanced as the Pac-12, stability like that cannot be underestimated.

Eklund, by the way, won WSU’s weekly Bone Award as outstanding o-lineman for his work in the win over UCLA. It’s his second of the season.

COUGAR RUSH LINEBACKERS Palacio and McLennan, who seem to enjoy competing with one another on and off the field and at just about anything, are dueling for the season sack title -- but two d-linemen are threatening to crash the party.

Palacio leads the Cougs with 5.0 sacks, McLennan is right behind with 4.0 quarterback takedowns.

But Paulo is second on the team, with 4.5 sacks.  All three are seniors. And they might want to keep an eye on the young gun.

Second-year freshman Hercules Mata'afa hasn't started a game this season but has still tallied 4.0 sacks.

WASHINGTON STATE middle linebacker Peyton Pelluer is fourth in the Pac-12 in total tackles, with 84.

That projects to 109 over a 13-game season.  Another linebacker, WIL Jeremiah Allison, is second on the Cougs behind Pelluer with 73 stops. WSU rookie safety sensation Shalom Luani (a third-year junior) is third with 70 tackles.

WSU HAS DECREASED the number of rushing attempts the past two games vs. what they were doing earlier in the season. (The WSU staff has said ASU and UCLA lent themselves best to the Cougar passing attack). But even with only 11 combined RB carries in each of the past two games, WSU's running back numbers jump off the page when compared to last year.

Wicks, Morrow and Harrington have a combined 151 carries for 899 ground yards with three games remaining (6.0 ypc).   Last season, WSU had 170 carries for 673 hashes (4.0 ypc).  

If their averages hold through the bowl game, Earth, Wind and Fire would tote the rock to the tune of 1,169 yards on 196 carries this season.

Wicks leads the way on the ground with 82 touches for 434 yards. Harrington is fourth on the team in catches, with 39 grabs.  (Wicks is fifth with 31). Morrow leads the running back group at 9.2 yards per reception.  Harrington has four total TDs, Morrow and Wicks each have three.

WSU IS OUTSCORING the opponent in the first and second quarters this season, they're being outscored in the third frame and they're dead even in the fourth quarter.

WSU has outscored the opposition 69-57 in the first quarter. The second quarter has been when WSU finds their rhythm - they're nearly doubling up their opponents by the score of 122-64.

In the third quarter, opponents are outscoring WSU 75-52.  The fourth quarter has seen a lot of points and is all tied up at 95-95. WSU holds the overtime edge at 14-7.  On the season, WSU is outscoring opponents 352-298.


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