Houston Cougars vs. Washington State Cougars Game Preview

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Joe Broback

Joe is a writer covering the NFL, NBA, NHL and college football. He also currently writes for SB Nation’s Underdog Dynasty, covering the American Athletic Conference since 2016. Joe enjoys collecting shoes, playing sports, and anything fitness related.
Joe Broback
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Last time the Houston Cougars played in NRG Stadium, Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners walked away with a loss. Now, a win for the Cougars would be an even bigger upset for multiple reasons. It hasn’t been the season many Houston Cougars fans thought it might be, but were just two games into the season. They face a Washington State team that’s off to an explosive start offensively, but also one that can be beat. Houston must do a few things to be successful, and this game will be closer than many realize.

How to watch: ESPN
Start time: 8:15pm CT
Line: Washington State -9.5
Location: NRG Stadium (Houston, TX)


Houston Cougars keys to the game

  • Start fast
  • Force turnovers
  • Let King dominate

Washington State Cougars keys to the game

  • Trust Leach’s system
  • Jump out early
  • Limit turnovers

Houston Cougars players to watch

QB D’Eriq King (408 total yards, 6 TD)
WR Marquez Stevenson (118 yards, 1 TD)
NB Grant Stuard (22 tackles, 2.0 TFL)
CB Damarion Williams (4 tackles, 1 PD)

Washington State Cougars players to watch

QB Anthony Gordon (884 yards passing, 9 TD – 1 INT)
WR Brandon Arconado (14 catches, 193 yards, 1 TD)
WR Easop Winston (164 yards rec., 3 TD)
S Jahad Woods (16 tackles, 1 FF)

Why the Houston Cougars win

We saw what the Houston Cougars offense can do against a Power 5 team. They can win this game in a shootout with the talent on the roster. It all starts with the quarterback. D’Eriq King hasn’t produced like he should through the first two games, but he will figure things out. We’re still waiting for his breakout game in 2019, and this could be it. If King has a monster performance, Houston’s in business. They’re the underdog, and they can hit Washington State in the mouth right off the bat and pull off the upset.

Why Washington State wins

Mike Leach’s system continues to run smoothly, even with a new quarterback. Anthony Gordon won the quarterback competition in the offseason and hasn’t looked back. He faces a Houston secondary still looking for answers, and a Cougars pass rush that has yet to establish itself. With Washington State’s quick passing game, they shouldn’t find too much resistance moving the ball. They just have to be smart. Gordon’s ability to keep the ball safe will go a long way in determining this game. If they don’t turn the ball over, they’ll win with ease. However, if they start committing turnovers, Houston will be ready to pounce on the upset opportunity.

Prediction

Houston’s offense is more than capable of keeping up with Washington State. It’s just a matter of showing it. D’Eriq King hasn’t been himself to start the year, but the Housotn Cougars still expect him to take off. WASHINGTON STATE 42 HOUSTON 35

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