Head Coach Jake Dickert and his Washington State Cougars open their 2022 season against the Idaho Vandals. Yes, the Battle on the Palouse is back for the first time since 2016. The Cougars have won four of their last five season openers, but they had losses to FCS opponents Portland State (2015) and Eastern Washington (2016) prior to that stretch. The Cougs have won the last nine meetings.
The Vandals finished 4-7 last season and enter this one with a new Head Coach. Jason Eck takes over for Paul Petrino, who was the longest-tenured football coach in Vandals history. Washington State will be the first of two FBS schools Idaho will start the season against (Indiana being the other).
All Eyes on the Washington State Air Attack
After months of anticipation, Washington State fans will finally be able to see highly-touted transfer quarterback Cameron Ward play a meaningful game. There’s a lot of hype for this Incarnate Word transfer quarterback after he threw for 4,648 yards with 47 touchdowns and 10 interceptions at the FCS level last year.
Who's your national breakout player for 2022? The person most fans aren't aware of but you know will be a household name by December.
I'm going: Cameron Ward, QB, Washington State pic.twitter.com/maYLasnXmt
— Chris Hummer (@chris_hummer) August 26, 2022
Also, Ward will have a plethora of proven receiving options to throw to. De’Zhaun Stribling, Donovan Ollie, and Lincoln Victor will assume bigger roles with Calvin Jackson and Travell Harris moving on. Plus, seventh-year receiver Renard Bell returns after missing last season with an ACL tear. Also, transfers Zeriah Beason and Robert Ferrel will be worked in as well.
Running backs Nekia Watson and Jaylen Jenkins will get their touches on the ground. However, this matchup is set up for the passing attack to take center stage.
Cougs Defense Looks to Build Off Last Season’s Success
Washington State’s defense finished between 5th and 7th in yardage and points allowed categories last season. However, it ranked first in the Pac-12 in both redzone defense and takeaways. The Cougs have some solid returners, but they’ll need some new defensive playmakers to emerge.
The expectation is First Team All-Pac-12 defensive end Ron Stone, redshirt sophomore Brennan Jackson and an experienced defensive line will create havoc at the line of scrimmage. Meanwhile, All-Pac-12 nickel back Armani Marsh and 6-3 junior cornerback Derrick Langford will hope to keep the Vandals receivers covered.
The defense will also feature new players as well. Transfers Daiyan Henley (Nevada), Jordan Lee (Nevada), Cam Lampkin (Utah St), and Sam Lockett III (CC of San Fran) are names to keep an eye.
Prediction: Washington State 47, Idaho 13
Nothing against Idaho, but this is a game Washington State should win handily. The Vandals should have some scoring opportunities as the Cougars are working in some new defensive players. However, WSU’s offense will be difficult to stop. They have too many weapons for Idaho to cover and contain. The Cougs will be motivated to put forth a strong performance before heading on the road to face the Wisconsin Badgers next week.
How to Watch
Date: Saturday, September 3
Game Time: 6:30 PM PT
Venue: Martin Stadium, Pullman, Washington
TV Channel: Pac-12 Network
Record: Washington State (0-0), Idaho (0-0)
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