A rundown of the next opponent for Oregon, the Washington State Cougars, providing detail of what all these numbers mean.
Quick season summary for WSU:
- Washington State is currently 2-2, and has an 0-1 start in the conference – losing to Colorado last week who didn’t win a game this season beforehand.
- Cougars looked atrocious in a 30-6 loss to BYU.
- Defeated FCS-level Eastern Washington 24-20, who is ranked as a top 20 team in that level.
What’s good about WSU:
- Junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson is the go-to receiver, grabbing 18 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns.
- Passing offense is ranked 18th in the nation; two receivers average over 17 yards a catch (including Wilson). This is being done with two different quarterbacks.
- They’ve hit on four of six fourth down conversions attempted.
What’s bad about WSU:
- Cougars rank 120th in penalties – they’ve been hit by 36 flags for 339 yards.
- The defense in abysmal, ranked 105th in the nation. Passing defense ranked 122nd – opponents are completing 62.3 percent of their passes against them, and no other team has allowed more than 1,378 yards.
- No one is established at quarterback. Jeff Tuel was the starter until injuring his knee and hasn’t played in the last two games. Backup Connor Halliday has been completing just 54.3 percent of his passes, and has thrown for eight touchdowns but five interceptions.
- There is no running game – Washington State ranks 123rd overall, running back Carl Winston and Teondray Caldwell have combined with 59 attempts for 169 yards and a touchdown, but some of that is negated by both quarterbacks who have lost a combined 68 yards on the ground.
Matchups to watch:
- Oregon running attack vs. Washington State rushing defense. The Ducks rank seventh in rushing offense, while the Cougars are ranked 43rd against the run. It’s a favorable matchup for Oregon, but it’s the best thing Washington State can bring to a stop.
- Facing a weak secondary, will we be seeing Marcus Mariota throwing it more? Right now he sits at a near 70 percent completion percentage, 934 yards, and 10 touchdowns with two interceptions. Freshmen Bralon Addison and Dwayne Stanford have stepped up in the wide receiver position, combining with 22 catches for 268 yards and two touchdowns.
For the bettors:
- Oregon is a 28.5 point favorite, who finally covered the spread last weekend after not being able to do it in their first two home games.
- The Ducks are 4-0 at the spread in their last four road games.
- The over, set at 71.5, has been over in seven of their last nine meetings.
Brian Spaen is the lead editor for Autzen Zoo. See his banter with other FanSided writers and love for his favorite west coast professional teams by following him on Twitter.