1 Finish drives. As bad as Washington State’s offense might have looked at times last week against Brigham Young, the Cougars did come close to scoring a couple of times – before sacks, interceptions and penalties thwarted their chances. They need to eliminate the mental mistakes that led to those errors, and find a way to put points on the board when they cross the 50-yard line. Field goals might not be enough to beat an Eastern Washington team with a potent offense.
2 No blown coverages. Eastern’s receivers are tall, athletic and experienced, so it figures that they’re going to get their catches. But the Cougars can’t afford the same kind of blown coverages that led to three easy BYU touchdowns last week. EWU might be an FCS team, but it runs its offense effectively and has an experienced quarterback, Kyle Padron, who won’t be afraid of a Pac-12 defense.
3 Use the sellout crowd. The Cougars need to get in the end zone early, then use the crowd noise to bolster their defensive efforts. Sure, EWU isn’t an easily intimidated team. But if the Eagles are trailing early and faced with a stadium full of crimson-clad spectators in full throat, it won’t make things easier on them. Plus, Pullman hasn’t seen a crowd like that in years. WSU players could use the energy.
4 Get the ball to Wilson. He made two spectacular catches last week, both wiped out by penalties. But they can’t flag all of his grabs, and against an Eagles team that struggled to defend the pass last season, the Cougars would do well to establish Marquess Wilson early and often. His speed and athleticism could have the Eagles’ defense overmatched all game.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.