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5 keys for No. 23 Cougs vs. Colorado

THE COUGS return to Martin Stadium on Saturday as conquering heroes but Senior Day will be no cake walk. If Washington State wants to keep its national ranking, they need to avoid playing down to their opponent, a growing Colorado team that would love to knock off a ranked team as proof of their rebuild. Here are the five keys to a Wazzu win.

WHEN WSU HAS THE BALL

1. Knock Colorado out early.
Colorado has played 11 straight games, just lost their starting quarterback and blew a big lead against USC last week.  They were eliminated from bowl consideration with the loss to 'SC and are emotionally vulnerable.  WSU needs to squash all hope early -- or gear up for a very long night.

2. Keep possession.
If the Buffs get the ball, they will do anything they can not to give it back -- they want to shorten this game considerably. In that regard, expect CU to do everything possible to try and generate sacks of and interceptions off Luke Falk.

WHEN WSU IS ON DEFENSE

3. Pressure Apsay.
The freshman quarterback looked pretty good coming off the bench early, but not when under pressure.  He was sacked 6 times and did not show composure when blitzed. He's also had an entire week to think about how he's now "the man." WSU needs to take advantage.

4. Contain Nelson Spruce.
The wide receiver has been Colorado's only dependable offensive weapon.  They get him the ball as much as possible, but important to note he is Apsay's primary safety valve.

5. Keep the great kick coverage going.
UCLA was the most complete display of special teams WSU has enjoyed in years.  Years, I say! The returners were bottled up soundly and Eric Mele's crew even unleashed a perfectly executed (and schemed) blocked punt, plus a fumble recovery.  Every game seems to turn on a huge special teams play.  If that's the case again Saturday, the Cougs can either cause it, or try to recover from it.

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m./ESPN 2
Matt Moore's Prediction: WSU 38, Colorado 20

Check back with CF.C after the game for  our wall-to-wall coverage and during the game for lively message board conversation.


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