No. 19 Washington State Cougars (8-2 SU, 6-4 ATS) vs. Utah Utes (5-4 SU, 6-2-1 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Saturday, November 11, 5:30PM EST
Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT.
by Wilson, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WSU -1/UT +1
Over/Under Total: 52
The Washington State football team accomplished something they have never done before this seasonthey went undefeated at home. The Cougs beat then No. 18 Stanford, 24-21 last weekend at Martin Stadium to wrap up a perfect 7-0 home record. It was a defensive battle at times but the Cougars offense managed to get it done with the on again-off again WSU QB Luke Falk. Meanwhile, the Utah Utes hammered the UCLA Bruins last week 48-17 as Utes QB Tyler Huntley threw four touchdown passes to go along with his 327 yards passing on the day. Washington States only losses this season are on the road and it wont be easy this weekend in Utah. The Utes are rejuvenated after snapping a four game losing streak and now are just one win away from becoming bowl eligible. WSU is the early favorite at -1 but this game might as well be a PICK especially given the Cougs road record. The Cougars likely need to win this week and Thanksgiving weekend in Seattle versus N0. 9 University of Washington to have a shot at the PAC 12 Title game. There is a lot on the line for both of these programs which should make for an exciting PAC 12 matchup.
Both of these teams have potential to put up big numbers. It will be interesting to see how Utah handles WSUs air raid offense as well as the Cougs running attack which has opened up their offense even more. The QB matchup will be a good one as both QBs can get the ball out quickly and accurately if they are on their game. However, Falk has shown that he can struggle on the road (total meltdown at California and he got benched at Arizona). For Washington State to be successful, Falk has to show up not only physically but mentally too. He is the driving force for the Cougars offense. When Falk is on, the Cougs are one of the most dynamic teams to watch in the country but if he is offit is a disaster for the team and the fans.
WSU averages 33 points per game to Utahs 29. Utah allows 23 points per game while the Cougs give up 22. The passing game obviously favors WSU (Falk just broke the record for all-time passing yardage for the PAC 12) at 381 yards per contest to the Utes 255. The running game advantage swings back towards the Utes as they accumulate 160 yards per game to WSUs 85 yards on the ground per game. Both squads have similar numbers on defense with just 30 yards separating the pass and rush respectively. In fact, this game may come down to which defense gets more stops and turnovers. WSU is 3-2 in their last five games while Utah is 1-4 but the one win came last week in a huge beat down of UCLA so the momentum for the Utes will be solid, but the Cougs also knocked off No. 18 Stanford so the question will be if WSU can get the win on the road?
Players to watch who could be game changers are WSU QB, Luke Falk, WSU RB, Jamal Morrow, WSU WR Tavares Martin Jr. Players to watch for Utah are QB Tyler Huntley, RB Zack Moss (Moss is related to NFL legend Randy Moss), and WR Darren Carrington II. All of these guys can make prime time plays. With the Vegas line opening at WSU -1 and the total as of this writing at 52 it will one to keep an eye on this weekend. The Cougars have put up some big numbers this season but this game will be more likely to favor a low scoring affair. The defense on both sides should make it difficult to move the ball down field. WSU will take advantage of Utah losing their starting free safety Marquise Blair who left the game last week not to returnthis may open the door for Falk to target the backup, Corrion Ballard. I like WSU to cover on the road.
I like the Cougs on the road in Salt Lake City.
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