Washington State gets rare opportunity in primetime hosting No. 19 Wisconsin

No. 19 Wisconsin (1-0) at Washington State (1-0), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)

Line: Wisconsin by 6½, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Wisconsin leads 2-1.


Luke Fickell’s first full season at Wisconsin gets an early test heading into what’s expected to be an amped environment at Washington State. The Badgers are the first Power Five non-conference opponent to visit Pullman since 1998 when Illinois made the trip West. Coupled with the Cougars looking impressive in their season-opening win over Colorado State and the collapse of the Pac-12 that’s left Washington State on the outside, this is not a normal home opener. For their part, the Badgers are very good and overwhelmed Buffalo in the season opener. And there’s a bit of revenge after Washington State’s upset win in Madison last year.


Wisconsin’s run game vs. Washington State’s defensive front. While Wisconsin is supposed to be more of an “Air Raid” offense moving forward, its run game is still elite. The combo of Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi combined for 298 yards rushing and four touchdowns in the opener against Buffalo. Washington State limited Colorado State to 37 yards rushing and less than 2 yards per carry in the opener.


Wisconsin: QB Tanner Mordecai. The Badgers didn’t need their new quarterback to throw the ball all over the field in the opening win against Buffalo. Mordecai was 24 of 31 for 189 yards and a touchdown, but also threw two interceptions in his debut. The Badgers could get away with shaky play in the opener because of their run game. They may not be able to against the Cougars.

Washington State: QB Cameron Ward. After the season opener, Ward leads the country in total offense per game. Ward threw for 451 yards, added another 40 yards rushing and had four total touchdowns in the opener. His favorite target was WR Lincoln Victor, who had 11 catches for 168 yards.


Wisconsin has played just two true non-conference road games in the past 10 years – 2019 at South Florida and 2017 at BYU. ... Washington State beat Illinois 20-13 in the 1998 season opener in Pullman. Prior to that game, the last time the Cougars hosted a Big Ten team in a “home game” was 1974 when it lost to No. 1 Ohio State in a game played at Husky Stadium in Seattle. ... It will be Washington State’s first home game televised on ABC since the 2004 Apple Cup vs. Washington. ... Washington State will honor former coach Mike Leach during Saturday’s game. Leach passed away last December. He coached Washington State from 2012-19.


AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll