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First look: Washington State at Wyoming

Wyoming running back Nico Evans (22) scores a touchdown against New Mexico State during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Las Cruces, N.M., Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. (Andres Leighton / AP)

What is it? Washington State (0-0) opens the season on the road for the first time since 2013, visiting Mountain West opponent Wyoming (1-0).

Where is it? War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.

When is it? The game will kick off at 12:30 p.m. PDT.

Where can I watch it? CBS Sports Network will carry the live broadcast.

Who is favored? The Cougars opened as 3-point favorites, but are 2-point favorites as of Monday.

Why WSU will win: Both programs are introducing new starting quarterbacks this season, but Washington State’s – it’s almost certainly Gardner Minshew – has a distinct edge in the experience department. The East Carolina grad transfer has been a college football player since 2014 and he’s played in 16 FBS games, as opposed to Wyoming redshirt freshman Tyler Vander Waal, who’s first college snaps came in Saturday’s opener against New Mexico State. That should make Minshew better suited to handle the game’s ebbs and flows. The Cowboys aren’t untalented at the skill positions, but the Cougars probably have an advantage there, too, especially at wide receiver, where Mike Leach might have his deepest bunch yet.

Why Wyoming will win: Because Wyoming’s defensive line is better than Washington State’s offensive line and because the Cowboys’ offensive line is (probably) better than the Cougars’ defensive line. Even with four experienced vets – three of which were on all-conference lists – WSU’s offensive front struggled to find cohesion at times last year. This will be the first test for the reconfigured O-line and don’t be surprised if it endures some early growing pains against a Wyoming defensive front that could be one of the best the Cougars see this season. If the home team can win the battle in the trenches, the rest might come easy.

What happened last time? The Cowboys were in year No. 2 of the Craig Bohl regime when they visited the Cougars in 2015. Wyoming punched in two first-quarter touchdowns to take a 14-7 lead, but that was the last the Cowboys would see of the end zone. Luke Falk threw touchdown passes to Dom Williams in the second and fourth quarter, and Keith Harrington –then the No. 1 tailback on WSU’s depth chart – rushed for a 36-yard touchdown in the second quarter, part of a 68-yard afternoon for the redshirt freshman. Wyoming safety Andrew Wingard, now up to 369 career tackles, was playing in just his third collegiate game.