The Washington State Cougars football team opens up the season late Saturday afternoon against the Eastern Washington Eagles. Yes, the Eagles are an FCS team, but they are not your typical FCS team. In recent years they have beaten Oregon State when they opened up the season ranked number 25 in 2011 and went into Oregon last year to open up the season and gave the Ducks a game, even with their ex quarterback Vernon Adams playing for Oregon. They should have another potent offense with quarterback Jordan West coming back along with top two receivers Cooper Kupp and Kendrick Bourne. Kupp had over 1,600 yards and Bourne was just shy of 1,000 yards a season ago. I expect them to be able to come into Martin Stadium and be able to move the ball on the Cougars.
Washington State should be able to put up their fair share of numbers this year as well, with quarterback Luke Falk being in his second full season as the starter and returning well known receivers Gabe Marks and River Cracraft, who have been very steady producers in coach Mike Leach’s offense since they have been on campus. They also bring back running back Gerard Wicks. It is important that the running backs be able to catch the ball out of the backfield and be able to pass protect in the air raid offense, so it’s good they are bringing back some experience at the position. When it comes to the Cougars defense one thing to look for will be how they will handle the Eagles passing attack. As mentioned above, the Eagles are very experienced and pretty talented at quarterback and receiver. Cooper Kupp and Kendrick Bourne could more than likely be power five players. The Cougars are going to be breaking in three new starters in the secondary as well, including true freshman Jalen Thompson at the Strong Safety position.
This should be an interesting test for Washington State because this is not a weak FCS team at all. They have a fair number of players that could play division one football and are usually competing for the FCS National Championship. It isn’t a marquee program to open the season with like so many other teams around college football are, but it will give the cougars some unique looks that could help them as the season goes along. A lot of points should be put up Saturday afternoon at Martin Stadium.