Washington State looking for a 2-0 start

  • By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS Associated Press
  • Friday, September 9, 2011 8:44pm
  • Sports

SPOKANE — Washington State romped to an easy victory in its season opener against Idaho State but lost starting quarterback Jeff Tuel to a fractured collarbone.

Former starter Marshall Lobbestael will lead the WSU attack against UNLV on Saturday in Pullman a week after directing the Cougars

in their 64-21 pounding of Idaho State.

“Marshall just really took charge,” coach Paul Wulff said. “We moved the ball and scored touchdowns.”

Washington State (1-0) is a two-touchdown favorite to maintain the momentum gained from its first season-opening win since 2005.

UNLV (0-1) is coming off a 51-17 loss at No. 8 Wisconsin and is trying to rebuild under second-year coach Bobby Hauck.

Wulff doesn’t expect his offense to change much with fifth-year senior Lobbestael under center. He’s played in 20 games, starting seven, in his WSU career. He completed 14 of 19 passes for 230 yards last week, with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

“Marshall is no chopped liver,” Wulff said. “It’s not like we are relying on a guy with no experience.

Helping him will be a revitalized running attack behind Rickey Galvin (64 yards, two touchdowns last week) and freshman Marcus Mason (88 yards) that piled up 289 yards, most since 2006, against the outmanned Bengals of the FCS.

“We have enough weapons to offer a balanced attack,” Wulff said. “We’ll be able to move the ball and score points.”

Of course, UNLV figures to offer a sterner test for WSU’s offensive line.

Wulff is worried about the Rebels’ running attack, which gained 146 yards against Wisconsin behind Bradley Randle and Tim Cornett yards.

New quarterback Caleb Herring is also a double threat.

“The quarterback can run it,” Wulff said. “We’ve got to play good defense and be where we are supposed to be.”

Herring threw for 146 yards and two touchdowns against Wisconsin, and also ran for 29 yards.

“He did a nice job getting his first start in front of 80,000 fans on the road,” said Hauck. “He didn’t make big errors.”

Despite the lopsided score, Hauck thought his offense putting up 292 yards was cause for hope.

“They can look at themselves in the mirror and say `I can do this,”‘ Hauck said.

“The running game showed some promise,” he said. “We moved the ball down the field.”

Defense was a different matter.

“When you give up 500 yards and 50 points, you can’t be fired up about anything,” he said.

Hauck and Wulff produced some epic battles when Hauck was the coach at Montana and Wulff was at Eastern Washington in the Big Sky Conference. Hauck has a 4-1 lead in their personal series.

“We had some really good games and very highly, highly competitive,” Wulff said. “There are a lot of good memories.”

This is the first meeting between the two programs since 1991, and WSU has won all four previous games. The Cougars will return the visit next season.

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