Washington State is coming off the worst weekend they've ever had under Mike Leach. Team spirit is dead and they seem to lack confidence after being shocked by Portland State.
So what do I see in Washington State?
Although no one on the team is near the talent level of Leonte Carroo, the Wazzu receiving corps is very deep. Any players can step in and make catches, which allows them to spread the field more. Will Rutgers have enough defensive backs to keep up?
The Cougars O-Line has proven to be one of the better pass blocking lines out there. I won't give credit to the overall offensive line, however. They do a great job of protecting their QB (except from the Kemoko Dragon) and are very experienced. They will be a good test for the stout RU D-Line.
It is clear that Wazzu's offensive line is one dimensional. They struggled to establish a formidable running game against Portland State and probably don't even practice run blocking. Their offense is all about the pass, but if they dare to run, they must do it at their own risk.
Rutgers' greatest strength may in fact be Washington State's weakness. I watched some
highlights lowlights from their previous game and saw a mentally weak team. It was arm tackle after arm tackle and no emotion or energy at all. The team never seemed to be in the game and no one showed a drive to win, except for starting QB Luke Falk, who nearly suffered a serious injury in doing so.
Anything else not related to passing the ball (sorry Wazzu fans)
How Rutgers wins
Paul James, 6-yard carry. Josh Hicks, 6-yard carry. Robert Martin, 6-yard carry. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Washington State should not be able to stop the three-headed monster (any nickname suggestion, btw?). All Rutgers needs to do is pound the rock and throw in the occasional bomb to Carroo and they should have no problem with this game.
How Washington State wins
If Washington State wantd to win, it will run a lot deeper than just exposing the young secondary, which I will admit is inevitable. They will need to dominate the trenches. Rutgers has proven that they can play catch up with Wazzu, and this time it is the Cougars making the trip from coast to coast. Washington State must stop the run on defense and keep Luke Falk untouched in order to be successful. Washington State players and coaches are going to have to motivate each other to move on from last week and focus their attention on the pissed off Scarlet Knights.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of what the betting lines say, this is Rutgers' game to lose. Even Washington State fans aren't expecting much. Rutgers should continue their mean streak and dominate the trenches en route to a victory over the Cougars. If Rutgers fails to gain 200 rushing yards, I will be disappointed. If they reach 300 rushing yards, I won't be surprised. Gotta roll with the RU rushing attack on Saturday.
Here's to a great game! GO RU!