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It was hardly the debut that either coach wanted, but Brian Polian was a bit happier than Mike Leach last week as the Nevada Wolfpack moved to 1-0 with a win over Southern Utah and the Washington State Cougars began the season 0-1 with a loss to Rutgers. Nevada won 28-19, squandering most of the 547 yards they gained. Washington State wasted 532 passing yards in their 41-38 loss to Rutgers. Both teams are hoping for better this week.

Washington State vs. Nevada College Football Preview

Date/Time: Friday September 5, 10:30 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

College Football Betting Odds from WagerWeb

College Football Betting Favorite: Washington State -4

Total: 66.5

Neither team covered last week, as Nevada failed to cover a 24.5-point spread and Washington State lost as a favorite. Nevada dropped to 6-7 against the number under Polian. They were 2-0 ATS last season as a home underdog. Washington State is now 14-12 against the spread under Leach. They were 6-0 ATS on the road last season, though five of the six wins were as an underdog.

Washington State Cougars:

The Cougars had no problem throwing the ball around against Rutgers. Connor Halliday had a terrific game with a line of 40-of-56 for 532 yards, five touchdowns, and an interception. Offense wasn’t the problem last season, however, and it was the defense and special teams that let Washington State down. Rutgers picked up 496 yards and ran for over five yards per carry. Rutgers took advantage of a fumbled punt return to score the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Washington State continues to find ways to lose games. They only ran for six yards on 14 carries. The offense wasn’t the problem however, as the defense couldn’t stop Rutgers and the turnover was the last straw.

Nevada Wolfpack:

Nevada punted on six consecutive possessions to start the game before scoring touchdowns on four straight possessions. Nevada was 14-of-22 on third down and held the ball for nearly 41 minutes, yet they only managed 28 points. Cody Fajardo threw for 303 yards and added 68 more rushing yards. Jerico Richardson was Fajardo’s favorite target with 13 catches for 177 yards and a touchdown as the Wolfpack desperately need somebody to step up in the wide receiver corps. Defensively, the Wolfpack were gashed by a couple of big plays and the other score was an interception return for a touchdown. Southern Utah’s quarterbacks were held to 25-of-42 for just 224 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Nevada should be able to move the ball on Washington State, but the defense will be facing one of the premier passing attacks in the country.

Free Pick: Washington State -4

There’s a reason that such a horrible defensive team is a road favorite and that should be pretty telling for bettors. Both offenses should have a lot of success in this game and it could turn out to be a real shootout. There is a gap between the Pac-12 and Mountain West, however, and that’s also evident in the line. It’s a tough bet to hope that Washington State doesn’t shoot themselves in the foot, but it looks like the right side given the situation.

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