Washington State Cougars (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) vs. UNLV Rebels (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS)
College Football Week 3
Date/Time: September 14, 2012. 9:00 p.m. EST.
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium
by Wilson, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WSU -11.5/UNLV +11.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
The Las Vegas strip will be inundated with cougars this weekno, Im not
referring to those kinds of cougars but rather the die-hard Washington
State Cougar fans. WSU will line up against the UNLV Rebels
on Friday night. The game will be covered by ESPN nationally. If youre
looking for an upset this game has all the criteria: WSU has won the last
three contests versus UNLV dating back to 1986, and they won each of those
games by three or more touchdowns; also, the Cougs are getting national
hype because of new Head Coach Mike Leach and his reputation for scoring
a lot of points on the offensive side of the ball, and the final criteria
for an upsetnational television. Can UNLV send the Coug fans sobbing back
to their video poker machines and free drinks?
Washington State is still learning how to operate under the direction of their new coach and last Saturday they seemed to be figuring it early as QB Jeff Tuel tossed two touchdown passes to receiver Isaiah Meyers as the Cougs took an early lead. However, they struggled to slow down their opponent EWU (Eastern Washington University) who answered with a TD pass of their own. The Cougs definitely have some areas to work on and this week in Vegas will be a great chance to iron out the wrinkles especially with putting other teams away, and not turning the ball over which is what happened to them against EWUinstead of going ahead 31-14 they fumbled on the goal line and left the door open for EWU to ultimately have a shot to win on a Hail Mary that, thankfully for the Cougs was incomplete.
Perhaps the key motivator for the WSU Cougars football team last week was a 60-yard field goal by kicker Andrew Furney as time expired in the half to give the Cougs a 24-14 halftime lead. It was the second longest FG in Cougars history; only behind Jason Hansons 62 yarder against UNLV in 1991. Furney has a history of inconsistency but man did he show what hes capable of doing! He may be a game-winner if he can continue build that kind of confidence and continue to split the sticks.
Offensively the Cougars look to score a lot of points hence Mike Leachs reputation which he built when he was at Texas Tech. QB Jeff Tuel can frustrate defenses but he can also take too long to make decisions and sometimes (more it seems than not) he forces passes which is very dangerous for a Cougar team that is not stellar on defense. Tuel will obviously look to cleanup his game and be more effective in and out of the pocket but he has to stop trying to make too much happen too soon; this will determine the Cougars flow offensively.
Meanwhile, UNLV is coming off of their second straight loss of the season at the hands of NAU (Northern Arizona University) which is technically a level below UNLV but it only proves the dire situation that exists for the Rebels programit barely exists. You know you have issues when players are posting on Facebook their apologies and frustrations for losing games. There is an obvious leadership and coaching issue in Vegas. UNLV has a 4-23 record in the last two years and it doesnt look like they will get much better anytime soon. Bad nights like these make you rethink your future. Live and learn tho, as said by UNLV cornerback Sidney Hodge via Facebook (Mark Anderson, Las Vegas Review- Journal). Head Coach Bobby Haucks future is uncertain and this week and literally every game after will do or die for the struggling coach. It easy to blame the head guy but it comes with the title.
Washington State should take care of business this week in Sin City but anything can happenmaybe the Rebels have something under their gear but I doubt it. The Cougars will only get stronger with coach Leach patrolling the sidelines. I see the Cougars scoring the most points thus far this season, probably early and often. The spread is currently -11.5 WSU which is generous for the home town squad.
Wilson’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Go Cougs! WSU wins on the field and in the casinos! Cougs 38, UNLV 10. Luck to ya.
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