Washington State vs. Houston

Coug vs. Coog on Friday night at NRG. Holgo vs. Leach. Another chance for Houston take down a Power 5 program. A lot is on the line in Houston.. Here are three keys for the Coogs.

Unleash D’Eriq King

What if I told you a player responsible for over 200 yards of total offense and three scores a game was due? That’s the case for the Coogs’ D’Eriq King. King’s played fine, but his ceiling is so much higher. Through two games he’s completing less than 55% of his passes, a near ten-point drop from his previous two seasons. His yards per game passing are down substantially as well.

The slow start at Oklahoma was understandable but still disconcerting. The issues last week raised more red flags against FCS opponent Prairie View.

If Houston is going to challenge the AAC West and move this season in a positive direction, King is the catalyst, the straw that stirs the drink. Washington State provides King and his head coach an opportunity to get on track and get this dynamic offense off the ground.

Meet Anthony Gordon

Death, taxes, and a Mike Leach quarterback putting up video game numbers. Meet Anthony Gordon, the next in the Leach lineage. Through two games, albeit against New Mexico State and Northern Colorado, Gordon is completing 81% of his passes for 884 yards and nine scores.

The JUCO product sat behind Garnder Minshew and waited his turn. Well, his turn is here, and he’s making the most of it. The Cougs already have six completions of 30 or more yards and lead the NCAA in pass plays of ten or more yards. This offensive unit averages 594 yards through the air, and their top three receivers are seniors and an experienced offensive line.

Gordon is the trigger man, and he runs headlong into a Houston defense very much trying to find themselves. Finding yourself when you’re facing Oklahoma and Washington State in two of your first three is a difficult task.

Keeping Up

If you’re facing reality, Washington State is going to put up points. The Cougar secondary has issues, and to me, the most significant issues are lack of athleticism at safety and linebacker. Wazzou averages over 58 points a game, against inferior talent, but the track record is there. Prairie View went for over 380 yards on Saturday night, after Oklahoma’s near historic night in the opener. The Cougs will score.

Can Houston’s offense find the frenetic pace necessary to keep up?

To do so, Keith Corbin and Bryson Smith will need to provide help to Marquez Stevenson. Corbin caught four passes last week after he showed up on milk cartons for his performance against OU. Smith showed signs that he could be the next dynamic athlete from Tyler. His one catch is well off any dynamo pace. Terry Mark and Jeremy Singleton are largely MIA through two games as well.

Fans will forget those performances if Houston’s weapons turn up on Friday night. If they don’t, Washington State will run away Houston.

The Roundup…