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BYU football: Game under way — Cougars host Washington State tonight at 8:15

Published: Sunday, Aug. 30 2015 3:53 a.m. MDT

Elder Ronald Rasband cheers on the BYU team  prior to the game against Washington State in Provo  Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Elder Ronald Rasband cheers on the BYU team prior to the game against Washington State in Provo Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Washington St. (0-0) at BYU (0-0)

Matchup

Preview

Thursday, 8:15 p.m.; LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,470); Natural grass, Provo

TV: ESPN

Radio: 1160AM, 102.7FM

Weather: Temperatures in the 80s at kickoff, partly cloudy, 20 percent chance of precipitation.

The stakes

For Washington State ... the Cougars are kicking off the Mike Leach era, and they would like nothing more than to win their first game on national television — at Leach's alma mater.

 BYU fans watch fireworks  before the game  against Washington State in Provo  Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) BYU fans watch fireworks before the game against Washington State in Provo Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

For BYU ... the homestanding Cougars want to make a big splash in their season-opener to set the tone for their second year as an independent.

The trends

For Washington State ... the last time the Cougars won a road game in the season-opener was 2004 at New Mexico.

For BYU ... the Cougars have won five consecutive season-openers, dating back to 2007.

The edge

For Washington State ... the Cougars manage to consistently move the ball against BYU's defense and force turnovers.

For BYU ... the Cougar offense rushes for 150 yards or more and the BYU defense is able to put consistent pressure on the quarterback.

 BYU players take the field against Washington State in Provo  Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) BYU players take the field against Washington State in Provo Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Jordan Johnson, BYU: Making his first career start, the sophomore cornerback is expected to match up often with Washington State's star receiver, Marquess Wilson, who has two 1,000-yard seasons on his resume.

Key matchup

BYU quarterback Riley Nelson vs. Washington State's defense: The senior QB should be able to take advantage of weaknesses in the WSU defense. Nelson is focusing on avoiding turnovers and completing a high percentage of his passes.

Injury report

Washington State: none.

BYU: DL Ian Dulan (sore back) and backup Zac Stout (Achilles) will be sidelined.

Related coverage:

 Brigham Young Cougars tight end Kaneakua Friel (82) celebrates his touchdown against Washington State in Provo  Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars tight end Kaneakua Friel (82) celebrates his touchdown against Washington State in Provo Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

BYU vs. WSU from a WSU insider perspective

BYU Cougars vs. Washington State Cougars: The matchups

Cougars host their own late night show vs. Washington State

Coaches hope team can follow Riley Nelson's example

Younger brother Tim Leach to welcome Mike Leach to BYU

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