No. 23 Washington St. seeks 3rd straight season-opening win

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              FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2018, file photo, Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon passes during NCAA college football practice, in Pullman, Wash. Gordon has big shoes to fill. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
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New Mexico State (3-9 last season) at No. 23 Washington State (11-2), Saturday at 10 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network).

Line: Washington State by 32.

Series Record: First meeting.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Washington State is looking to improve its 2-5 record in season openers under coach Mike Leach, and help set the stage for an unprecedented fifth consecutive bowl game appearance. New Mexico State, an FBS independent, is coming off a disappointing season and would like to show well against a Power 5 team.

KEY MATCHUP

Washington State QB Anthony Gordon has spent three seasons prowling the sidelines as a reserve behind Luke Falk and Gardner Minshew. He has been named the starter, and will get a chance to run the Air Raid against one of the nation’s weaker defenses.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New Mexico State: Linebacker Javahn Fergurson led the nation in tackles per game last year. RB Jason Huntley rushed for 505 yards.

Washington State: The Cougars have a deep corps of returning wide receivers, including Tay Martin and Dezmon Patmon, along with impressive sophomore RB Max Borghi, who scored 12 touchdowns last season.

FACTS & FIGURES

Washington State won a school record 11 games last season. … This is only the fourth time in its history that Washington State has been ranked in the preseason Top 25. … Leach is 49-40 as he enters his eighth season in Pullman, and is tied with Mike Price in taking the Cougars to five bowl games. … New Mexico State reached the Arizona Bowl two seasons ago, its first postseason berth in 57 years.