#14 Oregon State will play Wazzu this Saturday at 3pm PT in another game on the Pac-12 Networks. The game is expected to be sold out with just over 100 seats left at the time of this writing. Many fans with tickets to Nicholls St. traded in for this game with the matchup of longtime Northwest rivals. Leach is currently 2-3 overall and 0-2 in Pac-12 play. He will no doubt have his team fired up and ready to go, but Oregon State is a 14 point favorite for good reason. This can only be a trap game if OSU is not as mentally and physically tough as they have been in the first 3 games of the season. I expect a good game, but OSU should be riding a wave of positivity that propels them to victory and an impressive 4-0 start.
WRs Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks are considered one of the premier receiving duos in all of college football and both are ranked in the Top 6 nationally for statistics. As a duo they are ranked Top 3. Mannion has shown much better leadership and game management skills this year. With Storm Woods hitting full gear with his 161 yards rushing on the road against Arizona, it appears OSU now has a legit running game to make the offense click at its best as well. OSU’s winning percentage when a running back individually gets 100 or more yards is somewhere around 94%. I anticipate Woods will rush for 120+ in this game and that bodes well for another Oregon State ‘W’ this Saturday. Agnew may add another 40 yards so as a team look for 175 yards on the ground.
Of bigger concern against Wazzu is our pass defense. Our defense overall is down to 7th in conference and most of that fall to the mid tier of conference in defense was due to allowing too many passing yards to Arizona. The secondary allowed a few too many completions and UA was also able to do very well with screen passes that allowed their receivers to break free in space. Wazzu will attempt a similar strategy, so Riley and Banker will need to have the kinks worked out so that we have a strong defensive performance over the Cougs. I think they will tighten it down and we should be able to sack Halliday multiple times from the likes of Crichton and Welch.
Wazzu played well in the first half vs. Oregon, and I think they also will have a decent start against the Beavs. However, this Oregon State team has been playing maturely and disciplined so, all in all, I think OSU will take atleast a touchdown lead into the half and perhaps a 10 point lead just as we did against Arizona. Even better, the second half at home will be much more to our advantage than a hostile Zona Zoo atmosphere. I think OSU will play the second half much like they do the first and Wazzu will too. Basically OSU will be able to maintain their 7-10 point lead throughout the game and stretch it at times to 14 points. The final margin may depend if we give them a very late touchdown in the fourth quarter, but generally I expect a 14 point victory along the lines of 34-20.
Oregon State can’t afford to take Leach and his Cougs for granted and both the defense and offense must play inspired. I believe they will and with over 7,000 students and 45,674 overall cheering wildly, OSU should be able to get some separation in the second half and earn the victory to get to 4-0. The updated forecast is for temperature around 74 degrees, down from the low 80s originally forecasted. That still sounds like a bright, crisp afternoon of ideal early fall weather. If you will be at this game come over to Truax for awhile during pregame and let’s set a new Truax record for attendance. The prospect of starting 4-0 is too appealing for Beaver Nation to not savor this one a little longer. The energy should be incredible and the goal should be to be very loud and keep making a name for ourselves nationally with another big win.
Oregon State 34, Wazzu 20