Good morning Coug fans. Our Washington State Cougars are in Corvallis today prepping for tonight’s matchup with the Oregon State Beavers. I’ve never not had fun in that city. Granted, I’ve only been once and it was 2014 when Luke Falk made his first of many career starts as WSU surprised most observers with a win. I recommend pre- or post-gaming at The Peacock.
Anyway, back to tonight’s game. In case you missed it, WSU is wearing all whites, which they’ve done so at every game in Corvallis since that 2014 victory. Somebody in the program is definitely keeping score and believes in that good luck. The last time the Beavers beat WSU, the Football Operations Building was still under construction and Connor Halliday was WSU’s quarterback. Connor Halliday is now in his 30’s.
Oregon State comes in after surviving Stanford. WSU beat themselves last week at USC and are idle next week. A win heading into the bye week and the deserved few days off will make for some nice feelings. A loss heading into a bye week before meeting Utah at home on a Thursday is not ideal.
Here are the players I think will play a big role in determining everyone’s mood heading into the week off:
Three Players to Watch
Nakia Watson is out injured, so step right up, true freshman Jaylen Jenkins! Jenkins got off to a rough start when he fumbled early against Idaho, but since then he’s played quite well. He had 130 yards last week against USC on 13 carries. You don’t need to be a math whiz to know that’s a 10 yards per carry average. Jenkins and WSU is up against a decent, but not great, rushing defense.
The WSU Defensive Line
Here’s this note from Colton Clark of The Spokesman-Review:
The Beavers lean on a many-headed rushing attack, led by veteran Deshaun Fenwick (331 yards, four touchdowns on 73 carries). Two other tailbacks have produced more than 200 rushing yards apiece this season. The team ranks 44th nationally with 181 rushing yards per game. WSU boasts the nation’s No. 26 rushing defense (110 yards per game). Containing OSU’s ground game is the key for the Cougs.
Gotta stop the run.
Gulbranson is the OSU backup QB, and he’s expected to start. He got them past Stanford, but if WSU can pressure him enough—Oregon State has thrown 10 interceptions this season, worst in the Pac-12—the Cougs will be golden. Forcing OSU into passing downs is essential, especially with the capable RBs on the OSU sideline.
The WSU Offensive Line
Remember, Grant Stephens is out for the first half because of his targeting ejection last week. WSU will likely start Fa’alili Fa’amoe, who is one year removed from playing on the defensive line. The Beavs have just six sacks this season. However, WSU has given up a conference-worst 20 sacks. How much of that is on the o-line depends on your outlook. Whatever. Keep Cam Ward upright and in the pocket, and open lanes for Jenkins.
No shenanigans, fellas.
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PULLMAN – Washington State linebacker Daiyan Henley landed on the watch list Wednesday for one of the nation’s most prestigious postseason honors: the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented annually to the top defender in college football.
Washington State and Oregon State, well-matched teams with identical records, clash in crucial midseason Pac-12 game | The Spokesman-Review
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Washington State Cougars aren’t downplaying the significance of this midseason Pac-12 matchup.
Two-minute drill: Keys to victory for Washington State against Oregon State | The Spokesman-Review
Don’t take your eyes off …
The pick: Why Washington State will beat Oregon State | The Spokesman-Review
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A redshirt freshman might make his second career start at quarterback for Oregon State against Washington State’s veteran defense.
Comeback falls short, Cougars drop road match at Colorado - Washington State University Athletics
BOULDER, Colo. — Pia Timmer had 12 kills and Magda Jehlarova added 10 kills to go along with four blocks as Washington State fell at Colorado.