Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#107 Washington State -10 vs.
#108 Houston 74.5
Friday, September 13, 2019 at 9:15pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

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#107 Washington State University
#108 University of Houston
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It’s a primetime clash on the college football gridiron when the Pac-12 travels to the Lone Star State to face the AAC in week 3 action. The #20 Washington State Cougars are on the road as they make the trip to face the Houston Cougars Friday night. Washington State comes in off a 59-17 home wipeout of Northern Colorado Saturday night in their last contest. Houston rolled to a 37-17 home win over Prairie View A&M Saturday to get in the win column. In the all-time series between the schools, Washington State owns a 2-1 lead, including a 24-22 win in the last meeting, which came in the Aloha Bowl on December 25, 1988.

Washington State Cougars Seek 3-0 Start

You know that when Mike Leach is running the show, that the Air Raid is in full force. Washington State rolled over an overmatched team for the second straight week to start the year as they have a 117-24 scoring advantage after trouncing Northern Colorado. The Cougars were tied at seven with just under six minutes to play in the first quarter before outscoring the Bears 17-3 the rest of the half to take a 24-10 lead: they didn’t look back the rest of the way. Washington State racked up a 594-355 advantage in total offense, picked up 25 first downs while allowing 21 and forced four turnovers while committing only one. That more than made up for a 36:01 to 23:59 mauling in time of possession in the contest.

The Cougars pile up 494 yards through the air per contest and 112 yards per game on the ground this season. Washington State is fifth in the FBS in scoring offense with 58.5 points per contest while ranking 24th in scoring defense as they allow 12 points per game. Anthony Gordon has completed 60 of 74 passes for 884 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception this season. Gage Gubrud is 10 of 13 for 89 yards plus a score while Trey Tinsley is two of four for 15 yards and a touchdown this season. Max Borghi leads the team with 17 carries for 162 yards plus three scores on the ground this season. Deon McIntosh (five carries, 53 yards, TD) and Clay Markoff (eight carries, 24 yards) are next in line. Brandon Arcanado leads the team with 14 receptions for 193 yards and a score this season. Dezmon Patmon (11 catches, 175 yards, TD) and Easop Winston Jr. (11 grabs, 164 yards, three TD) are other solid targets in the passing game. Blake Mazza has hit all 15 extra points and four of four field-goal tries this season with a long of 50 on the year.

Houston coach Dana Holgorsen is a disciple of Leach when they were at Texas Tech. But Leach expects a little more running in his scheme.

“He’s tightened it up a little, more into a run game,” Leach said. “Some of that perhaps to fit his quarterback, he’s had a couple running quarterbacks. So he runs it more you know, so tighter sets, runs it more, still throws it, you still see some stuff that’s similar.”

Houston Cougars Look for Second Straight Win

Houston bounced back from a season-opening defeat at the hands of #4 Oklahoma as they cruised past Prairie View A&M. The Cougars now try for a second straight win as they host a ranked foe in this one. Houston bolted to a 24-3 lead after the opening quarter and extended their edge to 34-3 at the half before easing off the throttle after intermission. The Cougars had a 380-318 advantage in total offense, picked up 20 first downs while allowing 16 and controlled the clock by a 31:59 to 28:01 margin. Houston did turn the ball over twice while forcing just one takeaway, which could be troublesome here if that reoccurs.

The Cougars have put up an average of just 155.5 yards per game through the air and 238.5 yards per contest on the ground this season. Houston is 55th in the FBS in scoring offense by averaging 34 points per contest: they stand 111th in scoring defense by giving up 33 points per game. D’Eriq King is 29 of 53 for 306 yards with three touchdowns and an interception on the year. He is second on the team on the ground with 21 carries for 102 yards and three scores. Logan Holgorsen completed his lone pass for five yards. Kyle Porter is the leading ground gainer for the Cougars with 33 carries for 160 yards and a score. Chandler Smith (13 carries, 99 yards) and Mulbah Car (eight carries, 76 yards, TD) have been effective in their work this season. Marquez Stevenson leads the team with 10 catches for 105 yards and a score while Keith Corbin (five catches, 90 yards, TD) and Jeremy Singleton (five receptions, 33 yards) are next in line. Dalton Witherspoon has booted all eight extra-point attempts and four of four field-goal tries with a long of 46.

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Houston is going to have their work cut out for them trying to stop the Air Raid offense in this one. The Cougars were unable to contain Jalen Hurts and Oklahoma in their season opener and this is going to be another tough task. Washington State knows how to move the ball as they slice and dice their way through opposing defenses. It doesn’t matter who is under center as we’ve seen over the past few years: the system works. Houston is going to have to find a way to control the clock and keep Washington State off the field. Even that might be enough: look for Washington State to pick up the win on the road in this contest.

Prediction: Washington State Cougars -8

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We’ve seen the damage that Washington State can do to opposing defenses in the first couple games of the season. Even a veteran secondary with potential future pros can have a hard time defending what the Air Raid can do when it’s run effectively. Washington State has racked up 117 points and over 1,200 yards of offense in the first two games of the season. Houston had their struggles against Oklahoma, which is about as close as you’re going to find to the Washington State type of system. King has to be better than he’s been in the first two weeks for Houston to have a chance: can they find a way to steal the thunder of Leach’s team here?

The over is 4-0 in Washington State’s last four in September, 5-1 in their last 6 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game and 4-1 in their last 5 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points. Houston has seen the over go 4-0 in their last 4 games following a straight up win, 3-0-1 in their last 4 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game and 6-0 in their last 6 games on fieldturf. This one is an offensive bonanza where defense is optional: look for this one to go over the number.

Prediction: Over 76
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.