Preview: Washington State at Utah

79Oregon Washington St Football

One week after giving No. 2-ranked Oregon all it could handle, Washington State hits to road to face undefeated Utah.

This we know about Washington State — Connor Halliday will provide enough passing offense to keep the Cougars in every game.

Halliday remains the nation’s leader in passing yardage — His 1,901 yards is 301 better than the next closest QB (West Virginia’s Clint Trickett). He has thrown for more than 400 yards in three of four games this season.

What we don’t know about Washington State is what effect the defense will have. When the Cougars make in impact at the line of scrimmage, as they did against Oregon, they can be dangerous against anybody.

Last week, Washington State tallied 11 tackles-for-loss and sacked Heisman contender Marcus Mariota seven times. Compare that to WSU’s early-season losses to Rutgers and Nevada, when the Cougs allowed more than 200 yards rushing each game and a total of one sack and eight tackles for loss.

In Utah, WSU faces a dangerous quarterback in Travis Wilson. The junior has completed more than 65 percent of his passes and has thrown seven touchdowns without an interception. Wilson’s football career was considered over after he was found to have an intracranial arterial condition last season. But he was given medical clearance to play last spring.

Wilson left last week’s 26-10 win against Michigan after taking a scary hit where he flipped and landed on his head, but is fit to play Saturday.

Of note, two WSU all-time records are within Halliday’s striking distance Saturday. He needs 28 completions to break Alex Brink’s career record of 848. He needs three TD passes to break Brink’s record of 76.

Washington State at Utah

When: 5 p.m. Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City

TV, radio: Pac-12 Network, AM-1330

Records: Washington State (1-3, 0-1), Utah (3-0, 0-0)

Key to game: Can WSU’s defensive front force rushed passes and contain Utah QB Travis Wilson, who is surprisingly mobile for 6-foot-7.

Quotable: “We certainly don’t want him to do what happened on Saturday. We had a long discussion about that. Be more judicious on when to leave your feet and when not to leave your feet.”– Utah coach Kyle Whittingham on QB Travis Wilson getting upended against Michigan.

Prediction: Utah 31-30

Micah Rice

Micah Rice

Columbian Sports Editor Micah Rice is the author of Tailgate Talk: College football from a Clark County perspective.

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