Washington State (2-5) will be picked to lose by substantial margins in at least three of their remaining five games. The Cougars are 24.5-point underdogs at Stanford Saturday.
GAME: Washington State (2-5 overall, 0-4 Pac-12) at Stanford (5-2 overall, 3-1 Pac-12 ) WHEN: Saturday, 3:15 p.m.. PT, Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, CA. MEETING: 63rd (Stanford leads 36-25-1). COACHES: Mike Leach, WSU; David Shaw, Stanford. RANKINGS: Stanford 17 BCS, 19 AP, 19 USA Today; WSU not ranked. LINE: Stanford by 24 1/2. TV: Pac-12 Networks. RADIO: ESPN 710 and IMG College Sports Network.
Senior Jeff Tuel figures to receive his third start of the season at quarterback Saturday when Washington State, still winless in the Pac-12, travels to Stanford. Tuel is listed atop the WSU depth chart ahead of Connor Halliday, yanked out of WSU’s 31-17 loss to California two weeks ago after throwing two quick interceptions.
Tuel took the majority of snaps with WSU’s first team offense this week and says he is finally getting more comfortable checking in and out of plays at the line of scrimmage.
“Throughout the season, I’ve learned that he (head coach Mike Leach) is giving me the keys to the car,” Tuel said. “You’ve got to check out of things and get us into a better play. Just because (Leach calls it) doesn’t mean we should run it. If I see something that I like better that’s going to work for us, then check out of it. That’s what I’ve started to do. I did it against Oregon State and I did it a bunch against Cal and it worked out for us.”
Not much else has worked out for the Cougars. The Twitter-averse Leach hasn’t had a win since Sept. 14 at UNLV and is still seeking his first Pac-12 victory.
The Cougars need four more wins to become bowl eligible, but will be picked to lose at least three games remaining on their schedule — Stanford, UCLA and Arizona State. WSU plays the Cardinal and Sun Devils on the road.
Washington State’s most glaring weakness is its inability to run the ball. The Cougars rank last in the conference at 40.6 yards per game. The failure compromises their passing attack.
“It’s real important,” Tuel said this week. “We’ve got to have a running game. In this league, it’s tough to throw it every single down and be as successful as you want, because guys will start to figure you out.”
After seven games, including five defeats and another likely Saturday at Stanford (at least according to the oddsmakers), some might argue that the Cougars have already been solved.
If, as expected, Washington State loses, the Cougars will have to win out against Utah, UCLA, Arizona State and Washington to finish 6-6 and become bowl eligible.
SERIES: Dates to Sept. 3, 1936, when Washington State won 14-13. The series has been dominated by Stanford, which leads 36-25-1 overall. Stanford has won the past four meetings and six of the past eight, and is 19-15 when hosting the Cougars.
WSU HEAD COACH: Mike Leach (87-46 overall, 2-5 WSU): Hired Nov. 30, 2011 to replace Paul Wulff, who went 9-40 in four seasons, Leach in 10 seasons at Texas Tech (2000-09) earned 10 bowl bids. The Susanville, CA., native, who was raised in Cody, WY., recorded a school-record 84 victories. Leach’s offenses led the nation in passing six times and three times accumulated the most total yards. In 2009, the Red Raiders finished second in passing offense and fourth in total offense, both marks tops among BCS conference schools. Prior to Texas Tech, Leach spent one season as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma (1999). That year, the Sooners set six Big 12 and 17 school records.
WSU STATS / NOTES
COUGARS OFFENSIVE LEADERS
COUGARS DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Bucannon 60, Monroe 46, Long 38|
|Sacks||Long 7.5, Monroe 3.0, Mayes 2.5, Hoffart, 2.0|
|Interceptions||Bucannon 4, Coen 2, 3 tied with 1|
|Passes Defensed||Simmons 4, Bucanno, Long, Coen, Wash., 3|
|Forced Fumbles||Monroe 2, six players with 1|
|Fumbles Recovered||Monroe, Locker 1|
Pac-12 Standings / North
|Oregon||7-0||4-0||Saturday vs. Colorado, 12 p.m., Pac-12|
|Oregon St.||6-0||4-0||Saturday at UW, 7:15 p.m., Pac-12|
|Stanford||5-2||3-1||Saturday vs. WSU, 3:15 p.m., Pac-12|
|California||3-5||2-3||Saturday at Utah, 6:45 p.m., Pac-12|
|Washington||3-4||1-1||Saturday vs. OSU, 7:15 p.m., Pac-12|
|WSU||2-5||0-4||Saturday at Stanford, 3:15 p.m., Pac-12|
Pac-12 Standings / South
|USC||6-1||4-1||Saturday at ASU, 12:30 p.m., ABC|
|ASU||5-2||3-1||Saturday vs. UCLA, 12 p.m., FX|
|UCLA||5-2||2-2||Saturday at ASU, 12 p.m., FX|
|Arizona||4-3||1-3||Saturday vs. USC, 12:30 p.m., ABC|
|Colorado||1-6||1-3||Saturday at Oregon, 12 p.m., Pac-12|
|Utah||2-5||0-4||Saturday vs. Cal, 6:45 p.m., Pac-12|
STANFORD NOTES: Stanford has wins over San Jose State (20-17), Duke (50-13), USC (21-14), Arizona (54-48) and Cal (21-3), and losses to Washington (17-13) and Notre Dame (20-13) . . . Stanford ranks 6th in Pac-12 scoring offense (27.4), 4th in scoring defense (18.3), 8th in total offense (381.7), 4th in total defense (347.7), 6th in rushing offense (167.6), 1st in rushing defense (77.0), 9th in pass offense (214.1), 8th in pass defense (270.7) and 9th in pass efficiency (119.6) . . . RB Stepfan Taylor averages 120.9 rushing yards per game, No.3 in the Pac-12. He has six touchdowns . . . Josh Nunes averages 212.0 passing yards per game, 7th in the conference . . . The Stanford roster includes five players with ties to the state of Washington: OG Joshua Garnett (Puyallup High), DE Charlie Hopkins (Gonzaga Prep), FB Geoff Meinken (Lynnwood High), WR Michael Rector (Bellarmine Prep) and LB Sam Shober (Archbishop Murphy).
STANFORD HEAD COACH: After serving as Stanford’s offensive coordinator from 2007-10, David Shaw was hired Jan. 13, 2011, becoming the 34th head coach in Stanford history. A 1994 Stanford graduate, he is the fifth alum to hold the position, joining Charles Fickert (1901), Carl Clemans (1902), Chuck Taylor (1951-57) and Paul Wiggin (1980-83). In Shaw’s first season in 2011, the Cardinal was 11-2 and made its second consecutive BCS Bowl appearance, falling to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl. Stanford won its first nine games of the season to extend its winning streak to 17 before falling to No. 6 Oregon. Prior to Stanford, Shaw coached with the Baltimore Ravens and Oakland Raiders in the NFL. He began his coaching career at Western Washington (1996-97).
COMING UP: The Cougars travel to Utah Nov. 3 f0r a game with the Utes and will return to Martin Stadium Nov. 10 to host UCLA.
Washington State 2012 Schedule/Results
|Date||Opponent||WSU Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|9/8/12||vs. E. Wash||—||—||W||24-20||1-1|