The Washington State Cougars (3-2) are set to take on the Oregon State Beavers (2-3) Saturday afternoon at home in Pullman following the teams thrilling 45-38 road win in Eugene against the Ducks last weekend.
The main storyline for this game is, can the Beavers stop the Cougars Luke Falk and his passing game which ranks as #7 in the nation and the Cougars overall rank #8 for passing. In five games so far this season Falk has thrown for 1,964 yards and 15 touchdowns, including 505 yards and five touchdowns last week against the Oregon Ducks.
Along with just two interceptions in those five games and has an average passer rating of 147.8. While Falk by no means is a rushing quarterback, he will be looking to keep his three game streak alive with a rushing touchdown. The main concern for Falk will be can his offensive line keep him protected, something the struggled with against Oregon as Falk was sacked seven times including three straight times on one drive to lead to a three and out.
Oregon State has no one close to those numbers for the passing game as Seth Collins has 637 yards and five touchdowns so far this season, however Collins is mobile, leading the team in both yards and touchdowns on the ground, having rushed the ball for 362 yards and four touchdowns, something the Cougars defense will have to be careful to keep under control.
With the Beavers relying so much on one player to move the ball, both through the air and on the ground this should make it an easier day for the Cougars defense to keep the Beavers under control.
In Oregon State’s last game they took on Arizona and fell to the conference opponent 44-7 as Anu Solomon made his return for Arizona and threw for 276 yards on the Beavers defense, the ground game, also unstoppable as Arizona rushed for 368 yards on the Beavers.
The one thing going for Oregon State however is the lack of a home field advantage for the Cougars as they haven’t beat a Pac-12 opponent at Martins Stadium since November 2013 and also lost to the Portland State Vikings to start the season at home.
The focus for Washington State will be not falling to the level of its opponent, which team members have admitted has been a problem this season, case in point against Portland State, and continuing to play at its level of football.
For Washington State, last weekend they traveled to Eugene and took on the University of Oregon Ducks to where they pulled the ultimate upset on the Ducks downing them 45-38 in double overtime as the Ducks continue to be without starting quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. who surely would have had a huge impact on that game as Oregon was tied to just a rushing game that put over 400 yards on the Cougars defense.
However with Oregon State having to rely so much on its freshman quarterback Collins both on the ground and in the air, Washington State should remain on its high following last week and easily handle the Beavers at home and break that home losing streak against Pac-12 opponents. Falk will have a field day with the inexperienced defense that Oregon State is fielding this season and will be looking to enter the bowl conversation after Saturday’s game.