Preview: Portland State at Washington State
Washington State will try to right the ship against Portland State on Saturday in its first game in Pullman.
What’s maddening for the Cougars is that they’ve lost in two completely different fashions. The offense was great against Rutgers, with Connor Halliday throwing for 532 yards and five touchdowns. But the defense couldn’t stop anyone in the 41-38 loss.
Last week, Washington State’s offense lagged in a 24-13 loss to Nevada with Halliday throwing two interceptions.
Washington State’s defense has allowed at least 200 yards rushing in both games. That’s especially disconcerting for the Cougars because the D-line, with all upperclassmen, was supposed to be a strength to help offset a young secondary.
Portland State built an early 17-0 lead over D-II Western Oregon, but had to hold on late in a 45-38 victory. Skyview grad Kieran McDonagh threw for two touchdowns, including a 48-yarder as the first half expired. Paris Penn came in to jump-start the offense in the fourth quarter, providing a 48-yard TD pass and 36-yard TD rush.
The Vikings have shown they can hang with a Pac-12 opponent, as they led 14-13 over Oregon State at halftime during Week 1.
Portland State at Washington State
When: 5 p.m. Saturday at Martin Stadium, Seattle
TV, radio: Pac-12 Network, AM-1330
Records: Portland State (1-1), WSU (0-2)
Key to game: Passing for nearly 400 yards doesn’t mean much if you only score 13 points. WSU couldn’t finish drives against Nevada, then compounded its woes with 10 penalties, two turnovers and two missed field goals. Portland State allows nearly 470 yards per game, so WSU should move the ball. But it’s anyone’s ball game if the Cougars make as many mistakes as last week.
Quotable: “Our offense played reasonable last week and the defense relaxes all day. The defense plays well this week and the offense will get a play or two, then relax. Nobody can beat anybody on one side of the ball.” WSU coach Mike Leach on last week’s loss to Nevada.
Prediction: Washington 35-21