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WSU's O-line is the key to victory or defeat against Utah

If Washington State is going to beat Utah, its offensive line must step up.

Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Washington State has been struggling with its consistency this season, and the Cougars appear to be on their way to spending the postseason at home.

But this week, they find themselves playing a game in which they're expected to win, as they travel to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Utes.

For WSU to win, the outcome of the game will fall on the shoulders of the offensive line, writes Coug Center.

"That brings us to the weak link, the offensive line. Keith Jackson was fond of call them the "big uglies" and WSU certainly lived up to that nickname against Stanford. I didn't expect them to have their best performance against Chase Thomas and his gang of point allowing haters but I certainly didn't expect them to allow Jeff Tuel to be sacked 10 times. Tack on an additional five tackles for a loss and this performance might be the worst we've seen in a long time. It seems like an obvious statement but I'm going to make it anyway: for any offense to function, the line must, at the very least, protect the quarterback. Right now, the offensive line isn't even capable of doing that. Forget protecting well enough to run the ball, the quarterback can't even stay on his feet."

The unit will certainly have its hands full with Utes' nose tackle Star Lotulelei, a projected first-round NFL draft pick.