Washington State Cougars vs Auburn Tigers: 5 Keys To WSU Victory


Oct. 13, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars fans tailgate before a game against the California Golden Bears at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

When Washington State and Auburn face off this weekend in Auburn there are a few things that the Cougars need to do to secure a victory and start the season off strong. Both Washington State and Auburn struggled last year each finishing 3-9 so both teams would like to come out and start the season with a W.

Running game

The Cougars averaged a disappointing 29.1 yards on the ground last season. If they are able to turn that around and run the ball, the passing game will excel while being able to run the ball if needed.

Connor Halliday

Connor Halliday is finally getting the nod to be the starting QB without having the possibility of having Jeff Tuel on his heels. Halliday needs to get out to a good start, keep the turnover number down (preferably at 0), and take the lead on this young team. Halliday has the opportunity to quiet all the critics down early in the season and with a great receiving core he has all the tools to do so.

Young Players

The Cougars have a young team this year and a good start to their careers would be a huge thing for them. Especially against an SEC team that won the national championship just a few years ago. On the offensive side of the ball the cougars have 6 true freshman or redshirt freshman on the 2-deep roster that was released earlier in the week. Five of the ten offensive lineman have yet to see the playing field as a Cougar. On the defensive side of the ball the Cougars have 3 freshman on the roster. The young players need to have a good game to gain their confidence.


The Cougar defense gave up some big time plays last year and let some mediocre teams have their way with them. Auburn will be starting a JC transfer quarterback who has yet to see playing time on a division-1 field. If the Cougars can get off to a good start and get into Nick Marshall’s head early they will be able to control the defensive side of the ball.


This is a big one. The first game of the season means more than just opening day. If the Cougars can get a win under their belt  going into USC in week two they will be able to hold their heads high and start off the season with a good feeling. A win this weekend will also give the Cougar fans something to look forward to and could start to bring in those fans who jumped ship last year. The young players need to have a good game and get the first game jitters out of the way and prove to themselves that they can help out a struggling team as much as possible.