The Washington St. Cougars managed a pretty solid 2-1 record through the month of September and actually legitimately blowing out their opponents. However, the true tests begin in October as conference play kicks off. The Colorado Buffaloes should be a solid enough first test for their talents.
WSU run offense against the Colorado run defense
Nothing too much to see here. Up to this point, the Cougars have an average run offense, putting up 4.65 yards per rush (good for 40th in the nation). The Cougars also have a solid speed option at Rickey Galvin, who's put up an impressive 8.39 yards per attempt. Their numbers have been similar on first down, setting up at least doable 2nd and 3rd down situations that don't put Washington State in obvious passing mode. The much-maligned WSU offensive line has up to this point not given up many negative plays either, with only 16 tackles for loss allowed on the season.
Up to this point, the Buffs have an average run defense. They give up about 4.24 yards per rushing attempt on first down, then get blown up on 3rd down (6.17 yards per rush attempt). But they do have a penchant for getting in the backfield, with already 25 TFL in four games. You figure that neither side will have too much of a remarkable game unless the other side of the offense-defense battle gets lopsided.
WSU pass offense against the Colorado pass defense
And it very well could get lopsided. Washington State's been putting up 380 yards per game (4th in the country) and completing 61% of their passes with Marshall Lobbestael, and has been fairly solid in finding their receivers all over the field. However, the performance of Lobbestael has declined quarter-by-quarter, from awesome in the first (82.6% completion rate, 3 TDs), to solid in the second (61.5% completion rate, 5 TDs) and third (57.1% completion rate, 3 TDs), to uh-oh in the fourth (44% completion rate, 2 TDs, his only two INTs).
Colorado, by contrast, has been very good at shutting the opposition down in the first quarter, before eventually letting up in the second quarter and particularly the start of the second half. The Buffaloes will need to keep WSU in check early to maximize their chances of victory. For the Cougs, Washington State needs to get that lead early and hang on before their quarterback goes in the tank.