Washington State (4-3, 1-3) at No. 11 Oregon (6-1, 4-0)
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Autzen Stadium
TV/Radio: ESPN; 710 ESPN AM
Latest line: Oregon by 14
WSU key players
QB Anthony Gordon: 246 of 347, 2,981, 29 TDs, 7 INT
RB Max Borghi: 512 yards rushing, 328 yards rec., 9 total TD
WR Easop Winston: 47 receptions, 578 yards, 9 TD
LB Jahad Woods: 66 tackles, 5 TFL
Oregon key players
QB Justin Herbert 158 of 232, 1,882 passing yards, 21 TD, 1 INT
RB: CJ Veredell: 89 rushes, 496 yards, 2 TD
WR Jaylon Redd: 31 rec., 296 yards yards, 7 TD
LB Troy Dye, 38 tackles, 5.5 TFL
Put pressure on Herbert
If Herbert can stand still and have time to throw, he will pick the Cougar secondary apart. He is much less accurate when he is forced to throw on the run, and he missed several receivers last week against UW when on the move. The Cougars were able to take a 24-0 halftime lead last year against Oregon in part because they made things uncomfortable for Herbert in the pocket.
Mix in some runs
Washington had success running last week against Oregon in a 35-31 loss, and if the Ducks have to worry about WSU running back Max Borghi running the ball, that should help quarterback Anthony Gordon have success against a very solid Ducks’ pass defense.
The Cougar defense seems revitalized after defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys’ unexpected resignation. Holding Colorado to 10 points last week was a solid feat, but the task gets much tougher in this game. If the unit can hold Oregon to somewhere around 30 or less, the Cougars will have a great chance to win.
I picked the Cougars to win this game before the season, and I am sticking with it (albeit with a little less confidence). The Cougars have stepped it up since the bad loss at Utah, and their recent history against Oregon (four straight wins) is excellent. Prediction: Washington State 38, Oregon 31