Week 3 of the College football season was a big week for the Pac-12 as 4 of Pac-12 teams faced teams from the Big-10. The Pac-12 Claimed 3 of the 4 games with Cal finding themselves outmatched against a very good Ohio State team.
While most of the Pac-12 took a huge step up in competition facing much more difficult teams in week , the Washington State Cougars finally took a step back to polish a few things up after starting the year with two of their toughest road games all year. The Cougs finally got the air-raid in full flight against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds. Connor Halliday got himself going with 5 TD tosses and only 1 INT, the Cougs went on to win the game 48-10.
This week the Cougars face off in the Battle of the Palouse against Idaho at Martin Stadium. The Cougars and Vandals havent played each other since the 2007 season. Idaho has started the year 0-3 most recently dropping a game in the 2nd half to a very good NIU team at home in Moscow. Lets take a look at this match up.
What Idaho Brings:
Idaho is a young team starting a freshman quarterback who can throw the ball pretty well. The Vandals offense looks like they’re starting to figure things out. Last week they put up good numbers but suffered with turning the ball over which led to them ultimately losing in the 4th quarter.
The challenge with facing a team like Idaho is momentum can carry the team a long way. If things go right for the Vandals early, the young players can rise up and be close all game. As we know well at Washington State, when you have a young team and a new coach you can find yourself in games you didn’t expect to be in i.e. Oregon State 2010, Arizona State 2011, UW 2012, Stanford 2012, even if you got blown out every week before.
Idaho will be fired up for this game and anything that goes their way will be a huge boost for them. Idaho also runs a little bit of option and the Cougs have had problems defending that so Idaho might attack that way early and often.
So what are the Cougar trends this week:
Defense needs to play like they have been. Fast and diciplined football. If our front line continues to get pressure on the quarterback and take the run game away, they will force a lot of turnovers to the nations leading secondary for yards allowed per game.
The offense needs to just keep the momentum going from last week. There are a lot of mismatches in the Idaho secondary for the Cougs to take advantage of, all we need to do is just play our game.
Lastly, from a mental standpoint we can’t be peeking into week 5 vs Stanford. The Cougars have proven they are capable of being mentally tough and haven’t wavered yet this year. Washington State needs to just focus and take down this Idaho team then next week we’ll focus on Stanford.