The big question ahead of the NCAA week 5 Washington State at Utah free pick is how Kyle Whittingham’s team responds after a loss. The Utes fell 23-30 on the road at USC last week as -3.5 favorites. Washington State meanwhile comes into this game 3-1, but with a bevy of issues after giving up 67 points in a loss to UCLA in week 4. WSU can score, but can they stop anybody to cover the +5 spread?
Washington State Offense Dangerous Here
Usually when your offense racks up 720 yards of offense and puts 63 points on the board it’s a blowout win but that wasn’t the case for the Cougars last week. WSU fell 63-67 to the Bruins in week four at home and as -18 favorites. The defeat was the first of the year for Mike Leach’s team however and the Air Raid Offense seems to be clicking.
The Cougars will have a test in the NCAA week 5 Washington State at Utah free pick vs. a utes defense that had allowed just 29 points in the three games prior to the USC loss. WSU has the #1 passing attack in the country however and can get the upset behind QB Anthony Gordon. The Senior had 9 (!) TD passes last week vs. UCLA and has thrown for at least 420 yards in all four Cougars games.
The total for Saturday night’s game is 56.5 – is there any way the Washington State defense can stop Utah to keep the final score on the ‘under’ side? Bruins QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson was 25/38 for 507 yards and 5 TD vs. WSU last week. The Cougars also allowed Houston to run the ball 39 times for 239 yards in their only road game this season which came in week three.
Utah Playing Angry After a Loss
The Utes may have fell 23-30 last week in Los Angeles but it’s a little premature to call the #19 team in the country’s season over with. After all, the loss had a lot of ‘weirdness’ to it. First off Utah actually outgained the Trojans 457 to 381 which includes 247 to a lowly 13 on the ground. USC rode the momentum of backup QB Matt Fink (replaced concussed Kedon Slovis on 1st drive) going 21/30 for 351 and 3 TD as Utah did not have any film on him.
Of course there is no such thing as a ‘good loss’ in college football but Utah needs to focus on being the team that started off the season 3-0, outscoring opponents by an average of 32 – 9. Then again, the only real impressive win on the Utah resume is a 30-12 win at BYU in the opener as -5 favorites. Utah was a 23 and a 36.5 favorite in wins over Northern Illinois and Idaho State respectively.
The Utes on paper should be able to both run and pass on the WSU defense. Senior Tyler Huntley has 5 TD and 0 INT the last 3 games. Zack Moss had 373 yards rushing through the first 3 games of the season but was injured vs. USC and is doubtful in the NCAA week 5 Washington State at USC free pick. Devin Brumfeld had 10 carries for 63 yards last week but the loss of Moss will definitely be felt, especially with Huntley also battling a foot injury. Utah does have the #17 defense in the country though, which includes the nation’s 2nd best pass defense.
NCAA Week 5 Washington State at Utah Free Pick
It’s hard to go to Utah and get a win on a Saturday night and the Utes would be a solid play in this one – if Moss and Huntley were 100%. Washington State looked atrociously bad last week allowing 67 points to UCLA though. On the flip side Utah looked better than their final score indicated, especially having to play without their star RB. Even so, 5 points seems like too many in this one especially considering WSU won this matchup last year (28-24) in Pullman behind 445 passing yards.
Free Pick: Washington State Cougars +5