Washington State (2-0) at San Diego State (2-0)
Whoa, daddy. We knew Washington State had a solid shot to beat UNLV last week.
But 59-7? Who saw that coming?
Through two weeks, the Cougars have looked as impressive as any Northwest team in the Pac-12, averaging 61.5 points and 601 offensive yards. How will they fare with the stakes raised for their first road game of the season this week?
Washington State Cougars (2-0) @ San Diego State Aztecs (2-0)
Saturday, September 17, 6:30 p.m. ET
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Favorite: San Diego State -5.5
For the second straight week, quarterback Jeff Tuel’s absence had little impact on WSU’s offense. With Tuel out nursing a broken collarbone, Marshall Lobbestael stepped in and dazzled once again.
Lobbestael was 24 of 32 for 361 passing yards and five touchdowns. He helped the Cougars storm to a 35-0 halftime lead. Lobbestael hit top wideout Marques Wilson five times for 102 yards and a score but three other WSU players caught at least four passes.
Rookie running back Rick Galvin stole the show with a 48-yard touchdown run less than three minutes into the game.
The 600-plus-yard effort was impressive but Washington State’s defense was just as good, holding UNLV to 158 total yards, including just 60 through the air.
Can the Cougars keep the outstanding effort going on the road against San Diego State? The challenge is certainly greater. The Aztecs see themselves as darkhorse contenders in the Mountain West.
But Washington State just might be an awkward matchup for San Diego State. The Aztecs didn’t get a real test in Week 1 against Cal Poly.
Last week, Army attempted four passes. It’s not that the Black Knights ran for 400-plus yards that should have San Diego State worried; it’s that the team’s pass defense is so largely untested.
Week 3 could be make or break for Washington State’s expectations of Lobbestael. If he handles San Diego State on the road like he did UNLV at home, the Pac-12 should be put on notice that there’s a new gunslinger in town. If not, the Cougars will go back to the drawing board.
Either way, they have to be thrilled with 2011 so far, as they’ve already equalled last season’s win total.