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Originally published August 30, 2013 at 8:43 PM | Page modified August 30, 2013 at 8:55 PM

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Auburn vs. Washington State, a quick preview

The game starts at 4 p.m.

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4 p.m. at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium

ESPNU TV, 770 AM radio

Kindred spirits? Both teams come in off 3-9 seasons, though hardly amid similar circumstances. WSU had an edgy first year under Mike Leach, while an Auburn team not without talent underachieved, leading to Gene Chizik’s firing and the hiring of Gus Malzahn.

The storm’s eye: A battle in the center of the field will affect the outcome. Auburn center Reese Dismukes is Phil Steele’s No. 13 draftable center (for 2014), while WSU nose tackle Junior Gauta is a disruptive force who could have a big season.

Weather concerns: This week, Leach discounted the possible impact of the sultry Southern weather, noting much of WSU’s August temperatures have been higher. But Alabama humidity could be something else entirely. Saturday’s high is expected to be mid-80s, with isolated thunderstorms, cooling to the 70s during the game.

Health and welfare: Auburn defensive end Dee Ford is out, while WSU has come through August in good shape, with backup OT Jacob Seydel a question mark with a sprained ankle. Two Cougars backups, CB Rahmel Dockery and DE Logan Mayes, left the team, and Auburn safety Demetruce McNeal was booted.

The forecast: Auburn 27, WSU 23. Cougars make it interesting, but this is a tall challenge.

WSU players to watch
Pos.PlayerKey 2012 stat
QBConnor Halliday 5-13 TD-Int ratio
RBTeon. Caldwell 4.8 yards per carry
WRBrett Bartolone 53 grabs as frosh
WRGabe Marks 49 catches
TEDom Williams 143 yds Apple Cup
Auburn players to watch
Pos.PlayerKey 2012 stat
QBNick Marshall20 INTs in JC
RBTre Mason 1,002 yards
WREmory Blake50 catches
WRQuan Bray 14 catches
TEC.J. Uzomah 19.4 yds per catch

Bud Withers, The Seattle Times

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