(20) Washington St. @


Fri, Sep 13
6:15 PM Pacific
Rotation: 107
Odds: Houston -9.5, Total: 73.5

Game Analysis

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Note: This game was released to my subscribers as a Strong Opinion when the line was -9. I still rate the Cougars as a Strong Opinion at -10 or less.

Strong Opinion – Washington State (-9) 44   Houston  29

I had assumed Washington State’s offense would be even better this season, as this year’s graduate transfer quarterback Gage Gubrud has better credentials (65% completions in 3 years as a starter and two time FCS All-American at Eastern Washington) than last season’s breakout star Gardner Minshaw, who actually was worse than average/terrible at East Carolina before coming to Pullman. I was surprised when I found out that Gubrud lost out to senior Anthony Gordon for the Cougars’ starting quarterback position but then I thought that Gordon must be even better because Mike Leach has a long history of choosing the right quarterback to lead his Air Raid attack. So far, Gordon has not only been better than I thought Gubrud would be but he’s been as good or better than any quarterback that Leach has had a Wazzou. Gordon has completed 81% of his passes for 884 yards and 9 touchdowns against 1 interception while averaging a ridiculous 11.7 yards per pass play. Those numbers were posted against bad defensive teams New Mexico State and Northern Colorado, who would combine to allow 8.2 yppp to an average quarterback, but Houston’s pass defense isn’t good either, as the Cougars were 1.2 yppp worse than average against the pass last season and have been 1.7 yppp worse than average so far this season and allowed Jalen Hurts to complete 20 of 23 passes against them for 332 yards. I don’t think Washington State’s offense is as good as Oklahoma’s offense but Gordon should continue to complete a very high percentage of his passes in this game.

Houston has the offensive talent to score a good number of points too, as D’Eriq King was considered a dark horse candidate for the Heisman Trophy this season after leading the Cougars to 44 points per game and 6.6 yards per play last season (although against teams that would allow 6.0 yppl to an average attack). However, King hasn’t looked good throwing the ball in new coach Dana Holgorsen’s system, as he’s completed just 54.7% of his passes for just 4.6 yards per pass play in the first two games. Averaging only 5.2 yppp against Oklahoma rated as worse than average and managing just 3.7 yppp last week against a horrible Prairie View A&M defense is downright disgraceful. I still rate Houston’s pass attack as better than average and the rushing attack is very good thanks to King’s scrambling ability and some talented running backs, but it’s going to be tough to keep up with a Washington State team that is dialed in offensively and is better defensively than Houston as well.

Last year’s stats would have projected Washington State to win this game by 17 points and the Cougars are at least as good while Houston isn’t any better even if their offense doesn’t start living up to last year’s standards. I get Washington State by 15.3 points using half a home field edge for Houston for this game not being played in their home stadium (by 14 if I considered it a true home game). The fact that WSU has started off with two dominating victories (wins of 51 points and 42 points) is certainly not a bad thing, as teams that won their first two games by 35 points or more each are 50-25-2 ATS in game #3 as long as their opponent is not off a bye. I’ll consider Washington State a Strong Opinion at -10 points or less.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Washington St.
  • Houston


  • Run Plays 18.2 32.8
  • Run Yards 86.1 164.1
  • YPRP 5.1 5.5


  • Pass Comp 35.4 19.3
  • Pass Att 49.4 30.7
  • Comp % 71.6% 63.0%
  • Pass Yards 378.1 228.8
  • Sacks 1.1 2.8
  • Sack Yards 6.9 17.6
  • Sack % 2.2% 8.4%
  • Pass Plays 50.5 33.5
  • Net Pass Yards 371.2 211.1
  • YPPP 7.4 6.3


  • Total Plays 68.7 66.3
  • Total Yards 464.2 392.8
  • YPPL 6.8 5.9


  • Int 0.7 0.8
  • Int % 1.4% 2.5%
  • Fumbles 0.4 1.3
  • Turnovers 1.1 2.1
  • Points 49.3 16.0
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