College football on Friday night will see a matchup between the Washington State Cougars take on the UNLV Runnin' Rebels. The game is scheduled for a 9:00 pm EST start time and it will be televised nationally on ESPN. Currently the odds for the game have the Cougars favored by 8 points.
UNLV has struggled to an 0-2 start on the season and many considered their first two games to be the easiest on the entire schedule. The Rebs dropped a triple overtime game to Minnesota and fell last week to FCS team Northern Arizona. Neither were good. But, it's Friday night with a national audience on ESPN and magic certainly happens in Vegas. Washington State is 1-1 overall on the season but was blown out by BYU a couple of week ago. Last week against FCS foe Eastern Washington the Cougars were out-gained by more than 100 yards but were able to win the game 24-20. I thought Mike Leach clubs put up a lot of points and yards? It's obviously going to take some time.
Tonight's game is going to be a lot closer than people think. Washington State has their PAC-12 opener next week with Colorado (also bad team) so tonight's game could be very important to them. UNLV has dropped both of their games at home (awful) but there seems to be something special around this game.
Both teams are giving up around 25 points per game and both have lost the turnover battle in their first two games. There's a revenge spot here for the Runnin' Rebs as Wazzou won this game last year 59-7 at home. Washington State rolled up 470+ yards through the air and tossed for 7 touchdowns. There's no way that happens tonight as the Cougars are still struggling to learn how to run Leach's offense effectively. They're averaging just 15 points per game to date.
To make that even worse, starting quarterback Jeff Tuel is doubtful to play in tonight's game. He messed up his knee last week and could miss the entire game. Add to that Washington State can't run the football (ranked 120th in country at 51.5 yards per game) and you have a mess on your hands.
UNLV's defense was atrocious last season, giving up more than 40 points per game (third worst in the country) and are just 3-20 in the school's last 23 games overall. Against the number they're 8-15 in those same 23 games.
However, it's Vegas on a Friday night with a Washington State team that is struggling to figure things out and get it going. The Runnin' Rebs are circling the wagons for this game tonight with a national television audience against a team they can probably hang with and beat. We're scooping up the points here with the home team.
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