Washington State (2-3, 1-2 Pac-12) vs. Oregon State (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12)
1 p.m. Saturday, Martin Stadium in Pullman
TV/Radio: Pac-12 Networks; 710 ESPN AM
Latest line: Oregon State by 3.5
WSU key players
QB Jayden de Laura: 68 of 111, 794 yards, 9 TDs, 4 INTs
RB Max Borghi: 56 rushes, 299 yards, 2 TDs
WR Travell Harris: 31 receptions, 247 yards, 4 TDs
LB Justus Rogers: 27 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 INT, 1 FF
Oregon State key players
QB Chance Nolan: 67 of 98, 895 yards, 9 TDs, 3 INTs
RB B.J. Baylor: 81 rushes, 533 yards, 9 TDs
WR Trevon Bradford: 13 rec., 180 yards, 0 TDs
LB Avery Roberts: 51 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 1 INT
Stop the run
Oregon State runs the ball more often than any team in the Pac-12 (62.1% of the time), and for good reason: It is very good at it. Led by running back B.J. Baylor, the Beavers lead the league in rushing yards, and the running success has no doubt helped out the passing game. If Washington State can stop the run and force the Beavers to pass, the Cougars could have another big defensive game. But knowing what to stop and actually doing it are two different things.
More points, fewer turnovers
Washington State has yet to score more than 23 points against an FBS team this season. Part of the reason is the Cougars have 11 turnovers through five games (eight interceptions and three lost fumbles) and had a pair of passes intercepted in last week’s win over California. The Cougars got away with those errors against a Cal team that is 1-4. It will be a lot harder to overcome turnovers against the 4-1 Beavers.
Take advantage of home field
The Cougars are back at Martin Stadium after two road games. WSU has not been great at home this season, with losses against Utah State and USC and the only win coming against Portland State, a lower division team. The Cougars need to get energized by the crowd and play harder than Oregon State. It might take that for Washington State to win.
Oregon State will come to Washington State with a lot of confidence after beating Washington last week for its fourth consecutive victory. The Cougars are certainly capable of winning this game, but …
Prediction: Oregon State 30, Washington State 24