Washington State Cougars 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook
Washington State Cougars 2016 Preview
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The Washington State Cougars were 9-4 last season and will look to build off of one of the better seasons that they have had in recent years.
Overview: Mike Leach and the Washington State Cougars will look to have another good offensive team this year. Washington State will be tested early in the season when they travel to Boise State for their second game of the season. Now let’s look at how the Cougars stack up in all three phases of the game.
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Offense: The Washington State offense had a very good season in 2015 and will be returning their star quarterback, Luke Falk, this season. Washington State averaged 31.5 points per game with 80.5 rushing yards per game and 389.2 passing yards per game in 2015. Luke Falk threw for 4,561 yards and 38 touchdowns last season for Washington State. Washington State does not use the run game that often, but they are returning their leading rusher, Gerard Wicks, who had 610 yards and 3 touchdowns last season. The Cougars are also returning their star wide receiver, Gabe Marks, who had 1,192 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2015. Washington State’s offensive key is protecting Luke Falk, who missed a few games with injuries last year.
Defense: Alex Grinch and the Washington State defense took a big step forward in 2015 and will look to continue their improvements in 2016. Last season, the Washington State defense gave up 27.7 points per game with 193.3 rushing yards and 223.5 passing yards per game. Washington State returns their leading tackler at linebacker, Peyton Pelluer, who had 101 tackles and 1 interception last season. Shalom Luani helps lead the secondary, after totaling 90 tackles and 4 interceptions in 2015. Hercules Mata’afa returns on the defensive line after having 7 sacks and 11 tackles for loss last season. The biggest key for Washington State on defense will be filling the holes on the defensive line.
Special Teams: Erik Powell is expected to be the kicker this season, after going 20-26 last season. Zach Charme should be the punter, after averaging 39.6 yards per punt in 2015. Tavares Martin Jr. is expected to be the kick returner for the Cougars again this year.
Outlook: Washington State should be geared up for another solid year in the PAC-12. I like the Washington State offense and think Luke Falk will put up very good numbers this year, if kept healthy. Washington State does play in a very tough division, but should be competitive once again this season.
Sept. 3 – Eastern Washington
Sept. 10 – at Boise State
Sept. 17 – Idaho
Oct. 1 – Oregon
Oct. 8 – at Stanford
Oct. 15 – UCLA
Oct. 22 – at Arizona State
Oct. 29– at Oregon State
Nov. 5 – Arizona
Nov. 12 – California
Nov. 19 – at Colorado
Nov. 25 – Washington