WSU ready for encore in scoring defense?

WASHINGTON STATE made the fourth-biggest improvement nationally in scoring defense among Power 5 schools last year, ESPN reported this week. Headed into fall camp, the question is if the Cougs are ready for an encore in 2016.

WSU allowed 27.7 ppg last season after surrendering 38.6 ppg in 2014.  The 10.9 ppg difference, as seen in the ESPN graphic above, was surpassed only by Colorado (11.5); Vanderbilt (12.3); and North Carolina (14.5).

It’s obviously a huge improvement.  It was also the best scoring defense by Washington State in a decade.

The last time the Cougar D allowed fewer points per game was in 2006, when WSU allowed 23.1 ppg.

But the guess here is Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch and Co. won’t see it as any more than a foundation to build upon when fall camp kicks off in just over two weeks.

As much as Washington State improved in the statistical category, the Cougs’ 27.7 ppg allowed in 2015 slotted them 74th out of 127 teams in the FBS, and No. 7 in the Pac-12.

Improvement in both the FBS and in the Pac-12 is certainly doable for the Cougs in 2016.

Five times last season Wazzu allowed 34 points or more to the opponent. If WSU would have allowed one fewer touchdown and extra point in those five games, the Cougs would have ranked in the top 50 nationally in scoring defense, and No. 4 in the Pac-12.

Washington State’s fall camp kicks off in Lewiston on Aug. 6.

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