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Three things to watch as Washington State welcomes the Oregon State Beavers

Cougs going for eight in a row over the Beavs.

NCAA Football: Washington State at California Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Coug fans. Can our Washington State Cougars make it two in a row? They’ll have to beat the Oregon State Beavers today to do so. This ain’t the Beavers of, oh, 2012? They won nine games that season and haven’t won more than seven since. In fact, the Beavs have mostly been under five wins since then with a few one- and two-win seasons mixed in.

But this is 2021, and Jonathan Smith is in his fourth season in charge of his alma mater. Smith has an impressive track record as an offensive coordinator, and we’re slowly seeing him prove it as a head man. The Beavers are currently atop the Pac-12 North, which is not a sentence I thought I’d type in 2021, but here we are.

On the home side of the field, the Cougs are coming off an inspiring defensive performance after a win at Cal. WSU really needed that win, and the same is true today: A win would go a long way toward climbing back to bowl eligibility. The schedule doesn’t do WSU any favors, so winning today is paramount.

WSU has a seven game winning streak over Oregon State. It sure would be nice to bump that to eight.

Three Things to Watch

  1. Trickery: Jonathan Smith is typically good for at least one trick play, or at least it seems that way. Will Smith surprise the Cougar defense and pull one out of his hat at an opportune time, and will it be a back breaker? It’s never a good feeling when you get burned by some razzle dazzle. Let’s hope WSU is ready.
  2. WSU’s run defense: Jesse highlighted the success the defense had last week at Cal. Oregon State will presumably look to run more than it passes. I mean, did you see last week’s stats? Captain obvious here: WSU will need to come up big in the run defense realm if they want to keep the Beavs out of the end zone and get the WSU offense back on the field. The Oregon State coaching staff is better than Cal’s, so don’t expect the same tentative offense WSU saw last week.
  3. Turnovers: Particularly on offense. Jayden de Laura has thrown interceptions in his last three games and telegraphed one last week at Cal. WSU can’t give up drives in this one. The Beavers will likely shorten the game with a run heavy offense.

WSU last won two games in a row when it beat Oregon State back in 2019 in that heart attack-inducing win to get to bowl eligibility. Now’s a good time to start a new winning streak.

Go Cougs.


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