Originally Published: Sep 2, 2010 7:41 PM CDT
OSUs Mike Gundy and Washington States Paul Wulff have at least one thing in common: They each are the head coach at their alma mater.
Beyond that, the similarities are hard to find. At least those with regards to their programs.
Gundy has led the Cowboys to a school-record four straight bowl games. Wulff has won three games total in two seasons as head coach.
To be fair to Wulff, his program has been decimated by injuries and roster turnover. Of the 113 players on the Cougars roster, only 17 have been in the program for more than three seasons.
The Cougars claimed only a 30-27 win over SMU last season and went 0-9 in Pac-10 play. In fact their closest loss was a 27-14 setback at the hands of Arizona State.
Washington State finished last in nearly every measurable offensive and defensive category in its conference in 2009. They averaged 12 points per game on offense while surrendering 38 defensively.
So what do the Cougars look like as they come into Stillwater Saturday?
On defense, linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis led Washington State in tackles last season with 84 and is a preseason 3rd team All Conference pick. Sophomore defensive end Travis Long is also preseason 3rd team All Pac-10.
Strong Safety Chima Nwachukwu is a four-year starter for the Cougars, but beyond that things are not good in the secondary.
STAT OF NOTE: Of the 8 players listed on the Washington State two-deep in the secondary (thats 4 cornerbacks and 4 safeties), Nwachukwu is the only senior. The others are 2 sophomores and 5 freshman. That doesnt bode well against OSUs new passing attack.
On offense, senior running back James Montgomery is a great story. After the SMU game last season Montgomery went to the hospital with swelling in his leg. Doctors performed emergency surgery after diagnosing him with acute compartment syndrome. Montgomery has rehabbed for nearly an entire year and endured a surgery on his opposite knee, but stands to start Saturday.
At quarterback sohomore Jeff Tuel won a battle with Marshall Lobbestael for the starting job. Tuel completed 59 percent of his passes for 789 yards with 6 touchdowns and 5 interceptions last season.
If Montgomery is not full strength, wide receiver Jared Karstetter is the Cougars biggest offensive playmaker. Hes a big target at 6-4 and 208 pounds and caught 6 touchdowns last season.
The offensive line is anchored by senior Micah Hannam who has started every game of his college career (37).
Prediction 45-14 Cowboys.