In what looks like the best game of the day on paper, the Oregon Ducks travel to a rowdy Pullman for a date with the Washington State Cougars. Pullman is expecting their biggest crowd in school history, as the town has already declared a state of emergency because of the amount of people arriving for the game. College Game Day goes to Pullman for the first time in school history, so expect the Ducks to be going in a crazed environment on Saturday afternoon.
Washington State is going to need more than just a wild environment to get them a win, though. With Justin Herbert on the other side, Washington State is going to have to bring a complete effort to the party on Saturday. They are fresh off a 30-27 win over Washington in overtime, so there really isn’t much time for them to relax and set themselves up for a letdown. It might be for the better that they play back-to-back ranked opponents, instead of opening themselves up to an upset against an inferior team like happens sometimes after big wins.
A 6-yard CJ Verdell touchdown ended things against Washington last week in Eugene. Washington kicked a field goal in their only overtime possession, which gave Oregon the ball with a chance to end it with a touchdown. The Ducks did just that as they pounded Washington at their own game. With the win, there is a glimmer of hope for Oregon to get to the playoff.
Their one loss this season came against Auburn, which looked like a “good” loss at the time, but Auburn is 4-3 and just lost to Tennessee. So, that loss doesn’t look as good as it did weeks ago. Nonetheless, if they get some help and teams fall ahead of them and they finish with one loss and a Pac-12 Championship, it’s still possible for Oregon.
The Washington State air-raid will look to exploit the Oregon secondary with Gardner Minshew. The ECU transfer has developed into the most prolific passer in the Pac-12. Herbert might have something to say about that on Saturday, but the stats leader in the conference is Minshew. It helps playing in an offense that only runs the ball 10 or so times a game.
He decided to transfer to the perfect school who was just losing their starter, Luke Falk. Falk regressed throughout his career in my opinion, and Minshew has taken Mike Leach’s offense to where it’s supposed to be. If there is any game to watch this week, Oregon and Washington State has to be it. Head below for our free Oregon vs. Washington State pick.
Oregon Ducks vs. Washington State Cougars NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Washington State -3(-107)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Oregon vs. Washington State Pick:
At first look, Oregon does not look like the hyper-speed offense we’ve seen in the past with say Marcus Mariota. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t putting up points and running an effective offense. Oregon have just been stressing the ground game behind a talented offensive line. The Ducks are averaging 209.5 yards per game on the ground for 31st in the country. Overall, they are 18th with 382 yards per game, and 11th with 43 points scored per game. Dillon Mitchell has developed into Herbert’s favorite target and has been getting better each week.
Mitchell is coming off a 119-yard with a touchdown performance against a solid Washington secondary last week. He’s helped Herbert compile 17 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He’s thrown 4 touchdowns and no interceptions in the last two weeks. Cal was the other opponent on the road. Cal isn’t the same pushover defense from the past either. Herbert also dished it out nicely for 346 yards on a good Stanford defense.
Washington State have been solid at defending the pass, but they haven’t played a quarterback anywhere near Herbert’s league. Wyoming, San Jose State, and Eastern Washington were their first three games of the season. And then they’ve had USC, Utah, and Oregon State their previous three weeks. Utah like to pound the ball, USC is playing with a freshman quarterback this season who can’t find the deep ball, and Oregon State ran all over the Cougars last week. The best of the group despite being a freshman, USC’s J.T. Daniels, had 3 touchdowns and no interceptions against their defense.
The Cougars are allowing 148.2 yards per game for 56th in the FBS on the ground. Offensive lineman Dallas Warmack looks like a go for Oregon, but they will be down Penei Sewell. Sewell was replaced last week by Brady Aiello who held up well and has 13 starts under his belt, so he isn’t a freshman with little experience jumping in.
Expect Herbert to get the play-action working for the Ducks in Pullman. They didn’t pull the trigger on deep routes against the Huskies last week, but Cristobal will likely open things up and take some shots. The red flag in this game isn’t the offense for Oregon in my opinion. I would be afraid of the Ducks’ secondary, though.
They have been burned by worse offenses, including a 3-touchdown performance by Bowling Green’s Jarret Doege and 327 yards and 3 touchdowns allowed to KJ Costello of Stanford. Minshew and Washington State are 1st in the nation with 413.7 yards per game through the air. Look for Minshew to top 380 yards and come close to 400 on the Oregon secondary. Overall, the Cougars’ offense is scoring 41.8 points per game, just a hair behind Oregon. Oregon and Washington State make for the No. 1 and 2 offenses in the Pac-12. This one should get wild in Pullman, with a shootout brewing between Minshew and Herbert.