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October 17, 2013

DSA Inside Edge: Washington State

The Oregon Ducks (6-0, 3-0) return to Autzen Stadium for the first time in a month this Saturday to take on the Washington State Cougars (4-3, 2-2) in an important Pac-12 conference game for both teams.

Oregon, ranked No. 2 in the polls, were supposed to face their first real test of the 2032 season last weekend in Seattle. On many levels, they did just that and passed with flying colors. For the first time in 2013, Marcus Mariota took a fourth quarter snap.

What was once a close seven point contest ended in another blowout win with the Ducks taking the 45-24 decision over the Huskies

The Cougars, meanwhile, are licking their wounds after a tough 52-24 loss to Pac-12 North contender Oregon State. The Cougars had their chances leading the Beavers heading into the fourth quarter before a 35 point fourth quarter onslaught buried the Cougars.

A porous pass defense and a slew of turnovers in that fourth quarter spelled doom for a Washington State team that was favored and looking to get their fifth win of the season.

GAME DAY CENTRAL
Depth Chart: Oregon vs. Washington State
Players to Watch
Key Storyline
Five Questions about Washington State
First Look Rewind: Washington State


Despite an injury on the opening kick of the Cal game to running back De'Anthony Thomas, the Ducks have been able to weather the storm of three consecutive games without his presence in the game plan.

In his stead, Byron Marshall has reeled off three consecutive 100 yard performances including 106 yards against the Huskies last Saturday.

This week, we continue our Inside Edge series to cover both sides of the ball in one article. We show the starting lineups for both teams and discuss our thoughts as to which team has the edge at each match-up.

Both teams will bring an explosive offense to Autzen Statdium for this tough match-up. The Cougars, who have lost six consecutive games to Northwest rival Oregon look to be improved on defense, though, having held opponents to a Pac-12 conference best 141.7 rushing yards per game this season.

What the Cougars have done is grown in their understanding of Mike Leach's Air Raid offense to the tune of 347 passing yards per game.

What do the match-ups look like for this game? Take a look at the latest edition of DSA Inside Edge.






WHEN OREGON HAS THE BALL
Oregon QB's/WR's/TE's
Analysis
Heading into the Colorado game, many had vaulted Marcus Mariota to the top of their Heisman charts believing he was now the front runner for the prestigious award. While he had been mentioned quite a bit prior, his virtuoso performance against the Huskies secured his name in the minds of just about everyone including Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian. Against the previouslt third ranked passing defense in the nation, Mariota completed 24 of 31 passes for 366 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also accounted for 88 more rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. For the season, Mariota has accounted for just over 287 passing yards per game while only playing into the fourth quarter one time. He has 1724 passing yards with 17 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He has also rushed for 426 yards and 8 more touchdowns.

The wide receiver group had another strong outing with Bralon Addison notching his second consecutive 150 plus yard game with 8 for 157 yards and 2 more touchdowns. For the season, he has 27 catches for 502 yards and a team leading 6 touchdown receptions. Josh Huff has been the leader of the group all season and he had another 100 yard performance against the Huskies. For the season Huff leads the team with 27 receptions for 552 yards and 5 touchdowns. Huff pulled his own Willis Reed impersonation coming back after a scary looking foot injury to snare a 65 yard bomb from Mariota. Oregon gets strong play from senior Daryle Hawkins (9-132-2) and Keanon Lowe (9-116-2) as well. More importantly, every Duck wide receiver is a strong blocker on the edge helping out the running game.

The tight end position took a depth hit with the decision of Colt Lyerla to leave the team to pursue a professional career. From an output standpoint, there was not much of a drop off as he had accounted for just 2 catches and 26 yards on the season. The bulk of the work will now fall on Johnny Mundt, the fabulous freshman who had a break out performance against Tennessee and leads Oregon tight ends with 10 catches for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns. Two weeks ago saw the return of Pharoah Brown to the team after injury kept him from playing in the first four games. His presence should be even more important this week. In his early action, Brown has 2 catches for 42 yards and has been instrumental with his blocking in the run game.

Oregon is deep and talented at all of the receiver positions with one of the best quarterbacks in the nation distributing the ball while making very few poor decisions as evidenced by zero interceptions through the first three games.
Washington State DB's
Analysis
Don't let the past fool you, the starters for the Washington State secondary have been playing fabulous ball this season. This may not show with the defense giving up over 258 passing yards per game, but with the Washington State offensive philosophy of throwing the ball on almost every down, they tend to invite other teams to follow suit.

Deone Bucannon is having an all conference caliber season from his strong safety position. He is fabulous in run support and leads the team with 64 tackles through seven games. He has also played center field for the Cougars in exceptional fashion and is tied for the team lead with 4 interceptions on the season. At the other safety spot Taylor Taliulu has also proven to be effective in run support and is a strong tackler with 40 of his own through seven games.

At the corners, the Cougars start a true freshman at one side with Daqwuan Brown. Brown is the leading pass defended for the Cougars with 4 passes broken up. He has also recorded 35 tackles and 1 interception on the season. The other starter, Damante Horton is tied for the team lead in interceptions with 4 of his own to go along with28 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss.

Depth is an issue for the Cougars in the defensive backfield. There are only three reserves who have seen any action and only one to see extensive action. That one is former starter Nolan Washington who has recorded 19 tackles and broken up 2 passes through seven games. Backup free safety Casey Locker has seen action in all seven games, but mostly on special teams and has just 5 total tackles on the season. Anthony Carpenter has played in 5 games and recorded 8 tackles on the season.

Against the Ducks, who throw the ball as well as they have in quite some time this season, and who run the ball as well as anyone in the nation, depth is always key to playing with the team for four quarters. Rarely has a team been able to match their depth with Oregon's speed and tempo. This does not look to be a very good match-up for the Cougars. Despite two defensive backs with 8 total interceptions, the group has a total of just 9 passes brokwn up through seven games.






DSA EDGE:

Oregon RB's
Analysis
Oregon boasts one of the most dynamic players in the nation at this position. After traveling with the team and dressing in full uniform last Saturday, De'Anthony Thomas has not carried the ball since the September 14th game against Tennessee. He has been seen at practice without a walking boot this week and is listed as the co-starter, but his status is still up in the air. Will this be the week he returns? Probably not. If he does play, it will be solely on offense. Thomas is one of the most dynamic players in the nation; a threat to score every time he touches the ball. It only takes a small crease and Thomas can turn that into a touchdown.

Despite the loss of Thomas' service for the past three games, the Ducks have hardly missed a beat in the rushing attack. The Ducks also boast one of the deepest running back rotations in the Pac-12 conference. Byron Marshall, a sophomore who stepped in and with 358 yards in the last three games, has the frame to carry the ball plenty in a game and has shown a burst and explosion this year that was missing at times last season. For the season, Marshall leads the Ducks with 554 yards on 90 carries for a very solid 6.2 yards per carry. Marshall has 6 rushing touchdowns. Thomas Tyner has also proven a very capable back having carried the ball 47 times for 261 yards and 5 rushing touchdowns. The Husky game marks the first time in his brief Oregon career where he did not score a touchdown. Tyner proved to be a very effective receiver out of the backfield against the Huskies and is a big threat in the open field. For the season, Tyner has 5 catches for 56 yards after his 2 catches on Saturday.

Of course, the other running threat is Marcus Mariota who has been explosive as a runner this season. The team went into their game against Colorado leading the nation in rushing and, despite exceeding their average on the season, fell to number three in the nation but still average 324 yards per game and 6.8 yards per carry.

Washington State LB's
Analysis
The Cougars depth chart reads like they are a 3-4 defense, but they really run a 4-3 defense with four defensive linemen in excess of 285 pounds. Despite the beef in the middle, the Cougars are capable of stringing plays out with a fast linebacker corps. Their two outside linebackers (Sagote, Coen) are not very big at 218 pounds and 215 pounds respectively. Coen leads the cougars with 6.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks on the season. He is also tied for second on the Cougar defense with 45 total tackles. He is very good at making reads and getting to the ball carrier. Likewise, Sagote is a strong tackler who is not called on to rush the passer. He has recorded 40 tackles this season.

In the middle of the defense is Darryl Monroe, who, at 235 pounds, is the biggest linebacker on the team. Monroe has also notched 45 tackles on the season tying him with Coen for No. 2 in tackles. Monroe is just a sophomore and looks like he has improved over a season ago. His backup, Jared Byers (6-0, 218) has played well in reserve with 18 tackles. Byers has plenty of experience at Washington State with 40 career appearances, but has been mostly a reserve during his career and has 62 total career tackles.

The rest of the depth for the Cougars at the linebacker position is limited in experience with Tana Pritchard (6-3. 220) a sophomore that has played well with 23 tackles and 2 tackles for loss in seven games. The only other backup to see action is senior Eric Oertel (6-1, 208) who has 7 tackles in five appearances this season.

The speed of the Cougar linebacker corps should help in some of the run support. The Cougars will likely be very aggressive looking to stop the run. They will struggle with coverage and depth issues, though, as Oregon has proven capable of quick passes to both their wide outs and their tight ends this season. The swing passes to Tyner last week also create match-up problems and keep the linebackers occupied every time he flares wide on a passing play.


DSA EDGE:

Oregon OL
Analysis
The Duck offensive line, despite their lack of size against larger opponents have more than held their own. There have been struggles with inside protection. While the Ducks lead the conference in fewest sacks allowed allowing just five sacks through the first six games, a lot of that can be attributed to the athleticism of Marcus Mariota and the rush heavy attack used by the Ducks in their first two games.

On the ground, Oregon averages 324 yards per game and 6.8 yards per carry. As always, the Duck rushing attack is one of the best in the nation. The line is anchored by third year starter Hroniss Grasu at center along with incumbent starters at both tackle positions. Grasu struggled with high snaps in the first half of the Washington game, but appeared to have cleared up that situation in the second half as the snaps were crisper and on point with a considerably higher frequency rate.

While there were some inside protection issues earlier in the season, with a few exceptions ,that has become better as the season has progressed. Like any unit where several people work in connection where communication is critical to success, there are still some breakdowns; some missed blocks; but they are fewer and further between at the halfway point of the season.

One other area for concern is discipline. The Ducks are one of the more penalized teams in the Pac-12 and much of that stems from discipline issues along the offense line. Despite several false starts last week against Washington, the offensive line played fairly clean for most of the game. Jake Fisher has been very aggressive this year and has picked up several personal foul penalties along the way. That is an area to watch, but as long as they are for reasons like last Saturday where he simply continued blocking until he heard the whistle. The concern will be minimal.

Oregon has a strong two deep with experience all along the line. While the guards were new as starters entering 2013, both Hamani Stevens and Mana Greig had plenty of experience on the field as Oregon employs the use of heavy rotation along the offensive line.

This week will prove a little different for Oregon. While this will not be the most physically imposing defensive line the Ducks will see in 2013 with the starters along the line averaging 6-3 and 295 pounds. The Cougars do bring in a smaller "rush" defensive end in passing situations.

Washington State DL
Analysis
The interior of the Washington State defense will be somewhat larger than the Ducks saw last week. With the average size at 6-3 and 295 pounds along the starting four, the Cougars are a load up front. And it's not just beef, these linemen make plays. Starting nose tackle Ioane Gauta leads the starters with 27 total tackles while also collecting 6 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Xavier Cooper has 7 tackles for loss as part of his 20 total tackles.

Though Listed as a starter on the depth chart, Destiny Vaeao has played in just five games so far this season with just 8 tackles, but he has turned three of those into tackles for loss. Kalafitoni Pole, listed as the other defensive tackle has played in all seven games and has 10 tackles.

Though listed as a backup, Kache Palacio (6-2, 225) is the leading tackler of the defensive line group with 28 total tackles. He has also notched 3.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. The sophomore has appeared in the last 19 games for the Cougars.

Once again, however, depth may be an issue for the Cougars. Darryl Paulo (6-2, 262), a sophomore, has appeared in six games this season with six total tackles. He is undersized in the middle which will be an issue against the offense of the Ducks. No other reserve has seen game action outside of special teams and mop up duty.

With the kind of tempo and speed the Ducks offense runs, getting the defensive line moving side to side chasing down sweeps and quick passes will quickly tire out the very large starting defensive line. Without the kind of depth needed to rotate players, the middle of the Cougar defense will soften up very early for the high octane Oregon offense. This defensive line has had some success getting pressure to quarterbacks, but the Ducks lead the conference having allowed just 5 sacks through six games.

















DSA EDGE:





WHEN WASHINGTON STATE HAS THE BALL
Oregon DB's
Analysis
Oregon, boasts one of the best cornerback tandems in the nation and possibly the best defensive backfield in the nation. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Terrance Mitchell have played very well through the first six games and figure to provide stellar coverage all season long. While there have been a few lapses in coverage, the Duck defensive backfield was masterful against the Huskies a week ago virtually shutting down one of the hottest quarterbacks in the nation.

Heading into this match-up with the Cougars, the ducks lead the Pac-12 and are third in the nation in pass efficiency defense. Oregon is allowing just 5.1 yards per pass attempt. More impressively, despite blowing out virtually everyone in front of them this season and facing a lot of passes, Oregon has allowed just 4 passing touchdowns against 7 interceptions this season. Terrance Mitchell has 3 of Oregon's interceptions.

As is the case at multiple positions for Oregon, the Ducks do not lose much when going to the bench for additional defensive backs. Oregon has exceptional depth in the defensive backfield with former starter Troy Hill and speedster Dior Mathis seeing plenty of action at corner back.

The safety position saw a lot of injuries in 2012, but that has made the position stronger in 2013 as the starters, Jackson and Patterson, are backed by by Erik Dargan and Reggie Daniels. There is very little drop off when the reserves enter the game for the Ducks.

Colorado has one of the best receivers in the conference in Paul Richardson and Nelson Spruce is very good as well, but there is not a lot of depth at the position leaving Oregon capable of single coverage on the outside which creates a lot of opportunity for the safeties to make plays.

Despite some early miscues in coverage against Colorado a couple of weeks , the Ducks completely shut down the offensive for the Buffaloes giving up just 56 total yards. The Duck secondary held starter Connor Wood to just 3 of 16 passing for 20 yards in the second half. That is the kind of dominant defensive effort rarely seen in a conference. Last week, in a tight contest entering the fourth quarter, the Ducks completely shut down the Washington offense allowing just 20 total yards in the fourth quarter.









Washington State QB's/WR's/TE's
Analysis
Washington State will throw the ball; a lot. Connor Halliday has played well in spurts and threw for 521 yards against Cal two weeks ago, so he definitely has the capacity for big games. Coming into this match-up, Halliday is averaging 320.1 passing yards per game completing 63.4 percent of his passes. He has thrown 339 passes and completed 215 for 2241 yards with 14 touchdowns.

The issue for Halliday is that he has also thrown 13 interceptions and has not always made good decisions on the field. That inconsistency cost the Cougars a week ago as they entered the fourth quarter with a 7 point lead only to see it evaporate as the Beavers scored 35 straight points.

Leading receiver Gabe marks is not going to be mistaken for Paul Richardson as a deep threat. Nor will be mistaken for some of the big physical receivers the Ducks have faced, but he is the teams leading receiver with 46 receptions for 412 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Receiver is the one position where Washington State has developed very good depth. The second leading receiver, Kristoff Williams (6-2, 216) is listed as the second string receiver. Nonetheless, he has come on to catch 26 passes for 254 yards this season. As a while, the receivers average just 10.3 yards per catch.

Dom Williams leads all Cougar receivers with a 19.8 per catch average having hauled in 16 passes for 317 yards and 3 touchdowns. The other deep threat is junior college transfer Vince Mayle (6-3, 240) who has 14 catches for 238 yards and leads the team with 5 touchdown receptions. He is a load and will be difficult to cover.

The difficult part in defending the Cougars comes in who to cover as they have had 10 receivers catch at least one pass in their previous two games. To be fair, that has come at the expense two of the worst passing defenses in the conference with Oregon State (9th, 260.7 yards per game) and Cal (12th, 321.8) over the last two weeks.

Running back Marcus Mason is a threat out of the backfield with 19 catches for 192 yards and a 68 yard touchdown reception.

When it comes to sheer numbers, this Washington State receiver group is very good and will put up some receptions and some passing yards in this game. The question will center around Halliday's consistency. He is wildly inconsistent and prone to costly turnovers. He played well for a half in Seattle against the Ducks last season and three quarters against Oregon State last weekend. What will he play like this weekend? Experience dictates that he will make mistakes that cost the Cougars in the form of turnovers.


DSA EDGE:

Oregon LB's
Analysis
The Duck linebackers came into 2013 season as the biggest question mark on this team replacing three super star type players in Kiko Alonso, Dion Jordan and Michael Clay. Derrick Malone has filled Clays shows more than admirably and leads the team with 52 tackles through the first six games. Malone has 2 tackles for loss as well. Tony Washington has been the best pass rusher for the Ducks while also ranking third on the team with 29 total tackles with 7 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. To put it mildly, while in the game, he has terrorized opposing offenses. His numbers are more impressive given how little game time he sees in the second half of games.

Boseko Lokombo has been steady as well at his outside linebacker spot all season long. Without needing the spectacular, he has provided leadership and attitude that have helped the younger players develop. Lokombo is mixed in with a large group of players with 25 total tackles. Rodney Hardrick has improved in his run support, and showed much improvement in his pass coverage with an athletic interception against Virginia. He has followed that up with even stronger play the last three weeks. For the season, hardrick has notched 22 total tackles.

Backups Tyson Coleman, Joe Walker, Rahim Cassell and freshman Torrodney Prevot have seen plenty of action through the first three games which should provide quality depth for this game. Prevot has been especially impressive during his time on the field and is seeing earlier playing time each week.
Washington State RB's
Analysis
Aside from catching passes out of the backfield, in the Mike Leach offense a running back is such by name only. Marcus Mason leads the Cougars with 43 carries this season for 193 yards and 1 touchdown. Jeremiah Laufasa (5-8, 198) is a more effective red zone rusher with 30 carries fir 145 yards but he has recorded 6 of the teams 8 rushing touchdowns.

Mason is the better receiver out of the backfield with his 19 receptions for 192 yards whikle Laufasa has just 5 catches for 23 yards through seven games.

In addition to the two running backs, Teondray Caldwell has also carried the ball 30 times on the season for 163 yards and one touchdown. Caldwell has caught 174 passes out of the backfield with just 57 receiving yards.

Though the Cougars do not carry the ball much, when they do so, the are mildly effective as the running backs average 4.9 yards per carry.













DSA EDGE:

Oregon DL
Analysis
The Oregon defensive line has looked very dominant through the first six games of the season; especially the starting unit which has been one of the best defensive lines in the conference. Despite the massive size by the Tennessee offensive line, the Duck defensive line, especially the first unit, was unblockable most of the game and it proved costly to the Volunteers as the Duck defensive line was able to contain the running game and force the Volunteers to throw the ball into one of the best defensive backfields around.

Against a less stellar and banged up California offensive line allowed the Oregon defensive line penetration and disruption. The Oregon line showed what they can do against a smaller less athletic offense.

Against the Huskies, Keliikipi had perhaps his best game in a Duck uniform with 4 tackles including 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.

Deforrest Buckner got the start against the Huskies and responded with 5 tackles of his own. On the season, Buckner has made his impact felt with 15 total tackles and 1.5 sacks.

The combination of Armstead, Kelikiipi and Hart have been extremely active in both the run and pass defense. The height of Armstead and Hart proves to be very difficult, especially when they are able to get their hands into passing lanes even more frequently than in prior seasons. Oregon's biggest advantage comes with their depth as the defense loses virtually nothing when the back-up defensive linemen enter the game. In addition, Havili-Heimuli, Keliikipi and Buckner have been very active over the past couple of games.

The offensive line for Washington State is not big averaging 6-4 and 288 across the line. They are especially small on the interior of the line at an average of 6-4, 280 pounds. Despite the quick passing game, Oregon State was able to put pressure on the quarterback and hound Halliday all night long. However, there won't be a lot of sacks or tackles from this group as they are frequently using a two gap scheme to set up the linebackers to make plays and provide pressure. Nonetheless, Hart leads the group with 25 total tackles with Ricky Havili Hemuili second amongst the group notching 15 tackles.
Washington State OL
Analysis
The Washington State offensive line had provided better protection to Halliday than they did a year ago, but it still does not look like he trusts his line to protect him. Despite the pass heavy offense, the Cougars have given up just 11 sacks through the first seven games. Compared to last season, that is comparatively little.

This offensive line is experienced with three senior starters and three seniors listed as second team. That is the kind of experience that helps a pass oriented team continue to keep their quarterback on his feet. The quick nature of their passing game is also critical as it does not require the offensive linemen to hold blocks for very long.

This line is effective when running the ball to the edge, but struggle some trying to run straight dives. The lack of size on the interior of the line is very useful in quick hitting passing plays and even edge running but can make overpowering teams for tough yards very difficult.

Senior John Fullington is the most experienced lineman on the team with 31 consecutive starts. After that Matt Goetz started 9 at center 2 years ago and has started 7 games at the right guard position this season.

The left side of the line is very inexperienced with just one combined start between the two heading into the 2013 season. The offensive line is another spot where there is very little quality depth for the Cougars. While they have done an admirable job protecting Halliday, much of the credit for the lower sacks has to go to Halliday's better understanding of the offense and ability to get the ball out quicker this season. This line has been pushed around by teams only marginally more talented at the line of scrimmage.













DSA EDGE:



SPECIAL TEAMS
Oregon Special Teams
Analysis
Oregon lost its best playmaker on kickoffs with the injury to Thomas, but that does not hurt the opportunities for Oregon on the kickoff return unit. Keanon Lowe and Troy Hill have shown capability in the past. Though they are not the same caliber playmaker as Thomas, they are more than capable return men. The Ducks may also consider using Thomas Tyner in a return capacity as they flirted with the concept near the end of the Cal game.

The punt return unit now has the nations top punt returner after Bralon Addison put on a show against the Cal team returning two punts for touchdowns a few weeks ago.

The kicking game was a mixed bag last week with Maldonado shanking one punt. Overall, though, the Ducks lead the Pac-12 in net punting at 40.2 as very few of Maldonado's punts are returnable. With a strong leg from matt Wogan, kickoff coverage team has been strong for most of the season. They will get a challenge this week with both Ricky Galvin and Teondray Caldwell capable of big returns, though neither has shown consistent return threats.

Washington State Special Teams
Analysis
The Cougars kicking game has been strong. Kickoff coverage, with former Duck Mike Bowlin has been strong with a net average of 40.3 and starting field position averaging the 24 yard line. Of Bowlin's 36 kickoffs just 2 have gone out of bounds with 13 settling into the end zone for a touchback. Bowlin is also the punter for the Cougars and is averaging 39.9 yards per kick. Of his 31 punts, 10 have been fair caught and 12 have been inside the 20 yard line. Place kicker Andrew Furney is 9-11 on field goals with a long of 46 yards this season.

The return units for the Cougars havge not been good averaging just 21.7 yards per return on kickoffs with a long of 45 through the first seven games. The punt return unit has been good but not great as Leon Brooks has 14 returns for 154 yards. He does have the ability to break off a long return, though, with a 51 yard punt return earlier this season.







DSA EDGE:


WHAT TO EXPECT:

This is a different Washington State team than last season; they are full of confidence and understand their offense better. Against the only other North division team without a conference loss this season, the Cougars looked to be playing very well through three quarters last week; and then they fell apart.

The Cougars will pick up yards early in the game and they will have some success. This team understands how to pass the ball quickly and run a continuous hurry up offense. The problem is that this will play into the hands of the Oregon offense which is one of the most dynamic offenses in the nation and averages well over 56 points per game. The Ducks could have easily had 52 or 59 points a week ago against an opponent vastly superior to the Cougars. Washington State has done a good job getting plenty of offense through the first seven games of this season. Their four early wins are a testament to the direction of the program, but their inconsistency at quarterback has plagued them against the better teams and will continue to do so against the Ducks.

Expect Oregon to come out and get the linemen going sideline to sideline early looking to break them down quickly. While the Cougars may have some success stringing some of the running plays out for short gains, the middle of the field will open up quickly as the Cougar defensive line gets tired. The Ducks will then move on to dissect the Cougar defense methodically using play action passes and quick strike plays to their talented wide receiver corps.

The Ducks have the 3rd best pass efficiency defense in the nation and a lot of depth in the defensive back field. With the Cougars not concerned with establishing the run, look for Oregon to mimic some of last weeks success by dropping seven and eight players into coverage at time and allowing their exceptional defensive backfield to create pressure with coverage. When Halliday gets pressed and flushed, he makes mistakes. Also look for a big game from Ekpre-Olomu as he will be salivating at a chance to make a play on one of the quick out passes.

The Cougars have not proven that they can stop a good offense let alone one of the elite offenses in the nation. That will not change this weekend. The Cougars, while gaining plenty of yards passing offense still average just a shade under 30 points per game. On defense, the Cougars allow 25.3 points per game.

The biggest expectation? Do not expect to see Mariota playing in the fourth quarter this weekend.

DSA Predicted Score: Oregon 56- Washington State 20


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