1 No more explosives. That’s been a popular buzzword for WSU coaches this season, especially in reference to the Cougars’ defense. They allowed too many big plays last week and had trouble closing out UNLV because of it. To prevent a weak Colorado team from hanging around, The Cougars need to keep plays in front of them, communicate properly in the secondary and eliminate the mental errors that have led to long scoring plays thus far.
2 Feed off CU’s frustration. The Buffaloes are coming off an embarrassing 69-14 loss to Fresno State, and coach Jon Embree said they’ve used 18 first-time players this season. Mental toughness is hard to come by for any young team, especially one that has been losing in humiliating fashion. Anything WSU can do to get Colorado to hang its head early will be a plus. Last week, the Buffaloes allowed 35 points in the first quarter.
3 Make the Buffs pass. Colorado hasn’t run the ball well this season, and it hasn’t thrown the ball well, either. But the Buffaloes prefer to establish the run, and doing so today will be the surest way for them to keep up. Washington State limited UNLV to 109 yards on 33 carries last week, essentially taking standout running back Tim Cornett out of the game. The Cougars need to have a similar approach this week, then make the plays in the secondary on third-and-long, something they struggled with last week.
4 Finish. They couldn’t do it against Eastern Washington. They didn’t do it well against UNLV, either. But to really feel good about themselves heading into next week’s showdown against Oregon, the Cougars need to not only win, but win in a convincing fashion and remove all doubt well before the final minutes. They’ve had chances to do that the past two weeks. They can prove they’re becoming the consistent team Leach desires by taking care of business this week.