NCAA

Rutgers vs Washington State Preview

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Washington State FootballSEATTLE, Wash. – The Rutgers Scarlet Knights out of the Big 10 finished 2013 at 6-7 following a New Era Pinstripe Bowl 29-16 loss to Notre Dame and will open the 2014 season at the Pac 12’s Washington State Cougars who finished 6-7 and are coming off a 48-45 bowl loss of their own to Colorado State in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.

The balanced offense for the Scarlet Knights should remain on the same track that averaged 27 points a game last season. Senior Gary Nova returns at quarterback while leading rusher, junior Paul James, and leading receiver, junior tight end Tyler Kroft, are coming back as well.

Leading tackler sophomore linebacker Steven Longa returns off a 123 tackle, 7.5 for loss season. Linebacker Kevin Snyder contributed 96 tackles last season and will help shore up the defense that returns every starter and looks to improve on the 30 points allowed per game last season.

The pass-happy Cougar offense will again be led by senior quarterback Connor Halliday who threw for 4,597 yards and 34 touchdowns last season. He will be missing his top two receivers from a year ago, but he will have 178 catches for 2,290 yards back in his receiving corps. Washington State lost its leading rusher and top two receivers from last season on offense.

The Cougars’ defense has a lot of room for improvement after allowing 32 points a game in 2013. They will return key players at each level of defense with tackle Xavier Cooper coming off a 13.5 tackles for loss season, Darryl Monroe at mike linebacker after 94 tackles a season ago, and Taylor Taliulu returning at safety.

Keys for Rutgers Win

Nova must continue to produce with consistency and take care of the football on offense. Waters’-led experienced secondary must stop a potent pass offense.

Keys For Washington State Win

Halliday must put up points in bunches with his talented and experience receiving corps. Monroe and Cooper must contain the Scarlet Knights’ rushing attack.

Key Injuries :

None

Favorite:

Latest Line, Washington State -7.5

Conclusion:

This game could get really exciting if the Cougars get their offense going. Expect Rutgers to try to control the clock on offense to limit Washington State’s possessions.

About Mark West

Mark West grew up playing and loving baseball. In college, he found an interest in writing and reporting on sports. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Radio and Television Broadcasting with a News emphasis and a minor in Political Science. Mark began writing a few years ago informally about politics and sports on various blogs, but has focused primarily on baseball writing for the last two years. He loves Arkansas State Red Wolves baseball and writes about the games and the players for the Red Wolves and the Sun Belt Conference. Mark is a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, giving him official votes in the Dick Howser Trophy, Regional Players of the Year, and NCBWA All-America voting.

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