What to watch for when No. 22 Washington State hosts Northern Colorado, plus prediction

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No. 22 Washington State (1-0) vs. Northern Colorado (0-1)

2 p.m. Saturday, Martin Stadium

TV: Pac-12 Networks.


WSU key players

QB Anthony Gordon: 29 of 35, 420 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INT

RB Max Borghi: 128 yards rushing (10.8 avg. per carry), 1 TD

WR Dezmon Patmon: 7 receptions, 103 yards, 1 TD

CB Marcus Strong: 8 tackles, 1 INT

Northern Colorado key players

QB Jacob Knipp: 26 of 44, 177 passing yards, 1 TD, 2 INT

RB Milo Hall: 20 rushes, 77 yards

WR Willie Fairman, 10 receptions, 53 yards

S Jerone Jackson, 12 tackles

Stay healthy

It’s hard to imagine this being a competitive game, and other than not allowing the unthinkable to happen, the Cougars’ biggest goal should be to get out of this game without any injuries. A much bigger test awaits six days later when WSU plays at Houston in a nationally televised game on ESPN.

End it quickly

Northern Colorado was fairly competitive in a 35-18 loss at San Jose State in its season opener, but the Bears are not used to success, with a record of 5-17 since the start of the 2017 season.  The Cougars need to take control early, otherwise the Bears might begin to build some confidence.

Play everyone

This could be the best chance all season for the Cougars to play everyone. With freshmen able to play in four games without losing a chance to redshirt, every healthy player should be ready for action.

Hanson’s prediction

Have to believe WSU coach Mike Leach will try to not embarrass the overmatched Bears, which should keep WSU below 70 points. Prediction: Cougars 58, Northern Colorado 10.