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Washington State Cougars Preview: UCLA Offense Should Matchup Favorably With Cougar Defense

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A look at the defense of the Washington State Cougars before the UCLA Bruins host them at the Rose Bowl tonight.

Peyton Pelleur is the leader of the Washington State defense.
Peyton Pelleur is the leader of the Washington State defense.
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, the Cougars will play a 3-3-5 scheme, but it's almost like the 4-2-5 employed by Cal. Typically, the Cougs will play 3 down linemen, a weak-side (Will) linebacker, a middle (Mike) linebacker, a Rush linebacker and five defensive backs.

That's pretty similar to what we saw from Arizona, which also employed a 3-3-5 scheme.

Let's look at the personnel.

Defensive Line

The Defensive Line is anchored by the 6'3", 307 lbs. nose tackle Robert Barber. Barber has the fewest tackles of any of the defensive linemen. At defensive tackle, the Cougars will have Destiny Vaeao who has 24 tackles this season and 2 sacks.

The star of the defensive line, though, is Darryl Paulo, a redshirt senior from Sacramento. Paulo leads the DL with 30 tackles, 10.5 TFLs, and 4.5 sacks.

Linebackers

The Rush linebacker for Wazzu is Ivan McClennan. McClennan is a redshirt senior from Hawthorne. He has 32 tackles this year including 6 TFLs and 4 sacks.

Peyton Pelluer plays middle linebacker and is the Cougars top guy on defense. He leads the team with 76 tackles including 8.5 TFLs. He is Mike Price's big run-stopper.

The Will linebacker is Jeremiah Allison, a true senior out of Dorsey High. He has 68 tackles so far this year and 4 TFLs and half a sack.

Secondary

The top Cougar in the secondary is junior free safety Shalom Luani. Luani has made 66 tackles and 3 interceptions. Nickelback Parker Henry is another top tackler for WSU. The fact that the Cougar nickelback has 59 tackles this year tells you how offten the Cougars play the nickel defense.

The strong safety should be Taylor Taliulu. The senior from Hawaii has 32 tackles on the year. The two cornerbacks will be Marcellus Pippins and Darrien Molton. Pippins has 2 interceptions and 36 tackles while Molton 1 interception and 23 tackles.

Overall, the WSU secondary is not the biggest one around. Three starters are less than 6 feet tall. That should allow Josh Rosen to take advantage of his big receivers.

You might be inclined to look for another big game from Josh Rosen as he should exploit the Cougar pass defense. But, UCLA should really look to pound the rock as Washington State is ranked 110 out of 127 in rushing defense but they are ranked 53rd in passing yards allowed at 211.7 yards per game.

Will this convince Mazzone to run the ball more? Probably not.

Go Bruins!!!