The Cougars are 17-point favorites at Oregon State, but could find themselves in a real battle if they take the Beavers lightly.

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Washington State (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) at Oregon State (1-4, 0-2)

When: Saturday, Oct. 6, 6 p.m.

Where: Reser Stadium in Corvallis

TV/Radio: Pac-12 Networks/710 AM

Line: WSU by 17

WSU players to watch

QB Gardner Minshew — 185 of 273, 1,992 yds., 14 TDs, 4 INTs

WR Tay Martin — 32 rec., 321 yds., 4 TDs

RB James Williams — 204 yds. rush, 205 rec., 7 TDs

LB Peyton Pelluer  — 39 tackles, 2 sacks

Oregon State players to watch

QB Conor Blount — 69 of 107, 845 yds., 7 TD, 1 INT

RB Jermar Jefferson — 105 carries, 727 yds., 8 TDs

WR Isaiah Hodgins — 23 rec., 362 yds., 2 TDs

Keys to the game

No letdowns

After two tough games to open the Pac-12 season against USC and Utah, the Cougars are 17-point favorites against Oregon State. While the Beavers haven’t stopped anyone (allowing 45.2 points per game), they do have some offensive firepower, led by freshman running back Jermar Jefferson, who had 254 yards rushing last week against Arizona State. If WSU thinks this will be easy, it could get hard in a hurry.

Take an early lead

Oregon State can’t have a lot of confidence with just one win — against Southern Utah — and after getting blown out in its first two Pac-12 games. If the Cougars can get an early lead, the Beavers might not show much resistance. On the other hand, if Oregon State jumps to the lead, this might be a real battle.

Catch the ball

Former WSU quarterback Luke Falk, who finished his career last season as the Pac-12’s all-time leader in passing yardage, had some of his best games against OSU. New Cougar quarterback Gardner Minshew should feast on this defense as well, if his receivers can avoid dropping passes. That was an issue last week against Utah.


This should be an entertaining game with lots of scoring. The point spread seems a bit high for a road game, but this is a game the Cougars should, and need to, win.

Washington State 45, Oregon State 31