Pass Happy Washington State Invades Oregon Ducks This Weekend


The Washington State Cougars haven’t been easy for the Oregon Ducks to beat in the past few years, and now that the Ducks are clearly not the dominant team they’ve been, it makes for an interesting matchup this Saturday at Autzen (3pm, Pac-12 Network).

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Clearly, though, these are the Cougs. They lost to Portland State at home, beat Rutgers in the final seconds after allowing a 100-yard kickoff return with 1:35 to play, and blew a double-digit lead to Cal last week in the Pac-12 opener.

Still, Washington State (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) absolutely knows they have a chance in this game because of Oregon’s defense. Astoundingly, Cougs quarterback Luke Falk doesn’t lead the NCAA in attempts or passing yards, which must frustrate the Mad Pirate of Pullman, Mike Leach. Falk is tied for 3rd in attempts, with 201 (with Arizona State’s Mike Bercovici, Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson leads with 236) and 13th in yards, with 1459 (Cal’s Jared Goff is 7th, with 1630, and Johnson leads there with 2084). He has thrown for at least 300 yards in three of Wazzu’s four games.

As if that isn’t enough, here are the stats for the Oregon (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12) defense: 9th worst in the country in passing yards, giving up 1436. 10th worst in the country in total points given up and 16th in points allowed per game, giving up 187 total and 37.4 per contest. Falk could indeed have a day.

On their side of the ball, Oregon is giving away no clue that they know who will start at QB, and while it could be a ruse, it also could be because they really have no idea. Sheldon High School grad and walk-on Taylor Alie is listed as the possible starter for the first time in his career (along with Vernon Adams and Jeff Lockie), and I really don’t know if that’s an indication of Alie’s improvement or an indictment on the others.

The Ducks are only averaging 227.4 passing yards per game, 66th in the country.  That’s behind schools like Duke, New Mexico State, and Vanderbilt. But Oregon is averaging 42.2 points per game, 9th in the country, are 4th in country in rushing with 1502 rushing yards, and have 300.4 ypg on the ground, good for 8th.

And that is why, even with the Ducks seemingly reeling and wondering what on earth is going on, they are favored by 17 points over the Cougs.

17 points.

After all Oregon’s been through, after how far they’ve seemingly fallen, even though they have no idea who’s going to start at QB, even though Luke Falk may throw for 500 yards, the Ducks still favored by two touchdowns, two extra points and a field goal over Washington State.

It’s the Cougs. What did you expect?