The Oregon State Beavers and the Washington State Cougars will meet for a battle at the bottom of the Pac-12 North Division leader board. With a single conference win each, Saturday’s matchup will be fatal for the losing side and will offer little postseason merit to the victors.
With Connor Halliday sidelined for the season (after a horrific leg injury ended his season against USC last weekend), redshirt freshman Luke Falk will take the reigns of the Mike Leech’s air raid offense. The Beaver defensive ends will be essential to containing the run game and making life uncomfortable for Falk.
Last week against Cal, Oregon State turned in what many consider their poorest defensive performance of the season. The Golden Bears tore up the Reser Satdium turf to the tune of 546 yards and 45 points. Cal running back Daniel Lasco (188 yards, 3 TDs) made minced meat of a hit and miss Beaver defensive front; a fact that Washington State will look exploit in lieu of their 70-80 passing attempt routine.
Beaver defensive ends Dylan Wynn and Obum Gwacham could be the most important linchpins in Mark Banker’s defensive schemes weekend. On that note, rotation eligible DE’s Luke Hollingsworth, Jaswha James, and Titus Failauga will all need to be on point. The Washington State game will be an excellent opportunity for the Beaver’s young stable of defensive ends to see a competitive game against an offense that likes to take risks and test defensive discipline.
Luke Falk will take a majority of his snaps from the shotgun, as per the expectation with the style of offense Washington State runs. At the same token, Washington State won’t be able to air it out 70-80 times, pushing the load of offensive balance onto the backs of backfield duo Jamal Morrow and Gerard Wicks.
If Falk takes a high percentage of shotgun formation snaps, it will force Morrow and Wicks to start further behind the line of scrimmage, opening up ample opportunities for the Beaver defensive ends to create havoc for Washington State’s offense that relies heavily on timing and rhythm.
If Oregon State can contain from the outside pass rush, force Washington State to run between the tackles, and keep Luke Falk out of synch with his receivers, The Beavers just may be able to salvage the post season hopes slipping between their fingers.