PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 8: Wide receiver Marquess Wilson #86 of the Washington State Cougars carries the ball against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on October 8, 2011 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Mike Leach and WSU will travel to Provo to take on BYU to begin the 2012 season. Follow @SBNationCFB
The Mike Leach era will officially be underway at Washington State on Thursday as his Cougars will take on the other Cougars from BYU to open the season.
Washington State will travel to Provo, kicking things off under the lights and on national television. Leach returns to the sideline after not coaching during the last two seasons. Like any Leach-coached team, WSU will throw the ball a lot, with more than a few of those passes directed to potential All-American wide receiver Marquess Wilson. The Cougars are looking to improve on their 2011 season in which they went 4-8.
Fresh off a 10-3 season, BYU is hoping to start its 2012 season strong. The Cougars have won at least 10 games in five of the last six seasons and have made a bowl game in all seven seasons since Bronco Mendenhall took over as head coach. BYU is led offensively by senior quarterback Riley Nelson. Nelson threw for more than 1,700 yards last season, including 19 touchdowns.
This game figures to be a battle of two strengths. WSU should be a strong offensive team under Leach, but it will be up against a stout defense that ranked 14th nationally in 2011 in yards allowed per game.
Game time, TV channel: 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
Point spread: BYU favored by 13.5 points
For news, discussion and more: For more on BYU football, visit BYU blog Vanquish The Foe. For more on Wazzu football, visit Washington State blog Coug Center, plus Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes and SB Nation Seattle.
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