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November 20, 2012
Five to Watch: Washington State
Washington is the heavy favorite over Washington State this weekend but it's the Apple Cup and neither team will look past the other.
The Cougars don't do many things well collectively but there are a few players the Huskies will want to zero in on heading into Friday's game.
5. QB Jeff Tuel
With Connor Halliday likely out of Friday's game, the senior will take over behind center.
Tuel's completion rate of 63.8-percent is far better than Halliday's of 52.2, but he hasn't found the end-zone as much.
Against Arizona State, Tuel was just 8/16 for 67 yards and a pick. The previous week the Cougars put up 36 points but Tuel didn't have any touchdown passes in that one, either. Halliday was responsible for their success.
Tuel has the experience but he hasn't put it together under Leach.
4. LB Travis Long
Long's status is up in the air and that's a bad thing for the Cougars. He has 9 1/2 sacks on the season, which ranks near the top of the Pac-12, and no other Cougar defender has more than three sacks.
If Washington State has any hope of consistently pressuring Keith Price then they need Long to be healthy.
The Cougars have already said his backup, Logan Mayes, will be seeing more time.
3. S Deone Bucannon
The junior safety has four picks on the year and he leads the Washington State defense with 95 tackles (59 solo). Generally it's a bad thing when your safety is your leading tackler. Still, Bucannon has been a bright spot for the most part this year.
Last year against the Huskies he had nine tackles and blocked a field goal attempt, so Steve Sarkisian knows all about him.
2. LB Cyrus Coen
Coen probably makes more big plays than anyone else on this Cougar defense. Of his 55 tackles, 12 have come behind the line of scrimmage. He's also got three sacks and has picked off three passes, which ranks second on the team.
The sophomore from Hawaii cut his teeth on special teams as a freshman last year, and though his 6-foot, 215-pound frame isn't going to intimidate anyone he does have a knack for making plays.
1. WR Brett Bartolone
There aren't many play makers on this roster, frankly, but Bartolone has emerged as a steady, reliable receiver.
At 5-foot-10 and 179-pounds he's not going to be a match-up problems in the traditional sense, but in recent weeks he's been averaging about four grabs for 30-40 yards. He's got four touchdowns on the season, so if the Washington State quarterbacks somehow find a rhythm there's a good chance he will be in the mix.