Wyoming ground game vs Washington State's passing
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Which Washington State football team will show up against Wyoming on Saturday: The plodding squad that lost to Portland State of the FCS in the season opener or the one that rallied to beat Rutgers on the road last weekend?
Coach Mike Leach might be concerned, given the Cougars have won more games on the road than at home during his four seasons in Pullman.
''It's a big question because we keep the routine pretty close,'' Leach said of the home record. ''It's a good question. If you figure it out, tell me.''
It wasn't hard to figure out why Washington State beat Rutgers 37-34 last weekend. The Cougars (1-1) played crisper and faster and didn't panic when they fell behind late in the game. Against Portland State, they slogged to a 24-17 loss in heavy rain.
''We might have been sloppy at times, but we weren't hesitant,'' Leach said of the Rutgers game. ''Week 1 we were hesitant, just constantly pressing and our tempo was slow as can be. Week 2 we played fast, weren't hesitant.''
That was especially true of quarterback Luke Falk, who was chosen Pac-12 player of the week after throwing for 478 yards and four touchdowns.
Falk drove the Cougars 90 yards for a game-winning touchdown in the closing seconds.
''I thought the biggest thing is he was calm and composed and held the huddle together with his presence and expected to move the ball and win,'' Leach said.
Leach said Wyoming (0-2) plays hard, despite opening the season with losses at home to North Dakota and Eastern Michigan.
''They're a very young group, so they're going to get better and better, but they play hard and I guess they've had some struggles with some quarterbacks getting knocked around,'' Leach said.
Leach is impressed with Wyoming coach Craig Bohl's so-called Tampa 2 defense.
''In my mind, Tampa is a lot of times a sit-and-wait-for-something-to-happen defense, and then react to it,'' Leach said. ''They're a little more aggressive than that, and I think they do a good job.''
Bohl is worried about his defense, which missed tackles and gave up big plays against Eastern Michigan.
''We are playing an excellent offense and it's going to spread us out,'' Bohl said.
Quarterback Cameron Coffman returns to the starting lineup after missing the Eastern Michigan game with a sprained knee. He will be joined in the backfield by Brian Hill and Shaun Wick. Hill rushed for 242 yards last week against EMU, while Wick added 76 yards.
The Cowboys rushed for 430 yards last Saturday, despite losing 48-29.
''A positive thing was our ability to run the football,'' Bohl said. ''We can't be that one-dimensional. We need to throw the ball more.''
Last week, the Cowboy defense was led by linebacker Lucas Wacha and safety Andrew Wingard. Wacha had 10 tackles, including one tackle for a loss. Wingard had 12 tackles.
Five things to watch in Saturday's game:
FALK ON THE RUN: Falk ran more against Rutgers and chose not to slide as often to avoid hits. ''He needs to be smart,'' Leach said.
CRY ME A RIVER: Receiver River Cracraft caught the game-winning touchdown pass against Rutgers with 13 seconds left, and has emerged as a clutch target. ''The biggest thing is, if a guy does the same thing the same way, the same effort, all the time then he becomes a guy you can rely on,'' Leach said.
HOME STATE: Leach grew up in Cody, Wyoming, in the northwest corner of the state, 360 miles from Laramie in the opposite corner. He went to college at BYU.
THE SERIES: Washington State leads the all-time series 3-2, but the teams last played in 1990. Both Wyoming's wins have come in Pullman.
YOUNG COWBOYS: Wyoming has played 23 freshmen this season, ranking second in the nation behind Clemson. The Cowboys have only eight seniors on their roster.