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Home Of 500 Handicappers
Where: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Oregon
Preseason polls tend to be pretty accurate, but apparently not when it comes to Oregon State. The No. 17 Beavers, who were picked to finish last in the Pac-12 North, will try for their first 4-0 start since 2002 when they host Washington State on Saturday.
Oregon State, led by sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion, has the No. 4 passing offense in the nation and owns three quality victories – a pair of Pac-12 games on the road and against Wisconsin.
The Cougars, under new coach Mike Leach, have struggled defensively – especially against the pass (112th among 120 FBS teams in the country). They are also allowing 32.6 points per game (95th).
Washington State Cougars(2-3, 0-2 Pac-12 North): The Cougars, who lost to No. 2 Oregon 51-26 last week, are No. 3 in the Pac-12 in passing, but last in rushing and have a minus-3 turnover margin.
Sophomore quarterback Connor Halliday is averaging 300.8 passing yards in four games in place of injured senior Jeff Teul (knee), but has thrown eight interceptions against six touchdowns.
He will face the worst pass defense in the Pac-12. Junior wideout Marquess Wilson, who became the school’s all-time leading receiver with 2,893 yards, leads the Pac-12 with 499 receiving yards this season. Senior linebacker Travis Long is third in the country with 6.5 sacks, but the Cougars’ defense is near the bottom in every major category in the Pac-12.
Oregon State Beavers(3-0, 2-0 Pac-12 North): Mannion leads the Pac-12 at 362.7 yards per game and has six touchdowns against one interception. His favorite targets are sophomore Brandin Cooks and senior Markus Wheaton, who are 1-2 in the Pac-12 in receiving yards per game at 134.7 and 134.3, respectively.
Freshman running back Storm Woods, who had 161 yards in Oregon State’s 38-35 victory at Arizona last week, averages 97.7 yards per game. Junior cornerback Rashaad Reynolds leads the team with 25 tackles and has an interception while sophomore Scott Crichton has three of the Beavers’ seven sacks.Despite its lofty passing statistics, Oregon State averages only 25 points, 82nd in the country.
1. The last two games in which Oregon State scored 40 or more points both came against Washington State, including a 44-21 victory last season in Seattle when Mannion threw four touchdown passes. Washington State leads the series 48-45-3.
2. The Cougars haven’t defeated a ranked opponent since a 34-23 victory over No. 16 Oregon in 2006.