This game looked a lot more exciting a week ago. Maybe Washington State had an off game against BYU to start off the season and they would get better. Perhaps the passing attack would catch fire this game and Oregon's secondary could get a really good test before playing Washington. However, once Washington State blew a 4th quarter lead to Colorado, we knew it was over.
Oregon Wins If:
Get to the Quarterback. Oregon's defense was solid last week, holding Arizona to 0-6 in the red zone. They also added points to the board off turnovers, something that I would consider to be more lucky than good. (That's just my general opinion on all turnovers. They're mostly caused by the offense.) The Ducks did a much better job last week at getting to the quarterback and when Washington State is only going to have 5 to 6 blockers at a time I hope Jordan and Alonso wreak some havoc.
Establish the Run. Washington State has one of worst run defenses (77th) according to S&P+ and Oregon needs to take advantage of it. Oregon is more successful passing when they are able to run play action with the defense biting and it eliminates any super-aggressive Cougar blitzes.
Put in Colt! If there's a way to cover up an average offensive showing, it is a steady dose of Colt Lyerla at running back. When he's running he doesn't seem to look as much at gaining yards than just punishing defenders. He runs to them so that he can run over them. It is an opera of demolition.
No Injuries. With games like this where the outcome isn't in doubt, only the spread is, everyone needs to stay healthy.
Washington State Wins If:
Win the turnover battle. Washington State under no circumstances can turn the ball over. The last thing you can do against Oregon is give them more possessions with short fields. Also, if the Cougars want to pull the upset they have to create chances for themselves and in transition after an interception or fumble may be the easiest opportunity for them to score.
Get Oregon's offense off the field. Has Washington State's defense been pretty bad so far this year? Yeah, but weirder things have happened, maybe not in college football, but just generally around the world weirder stuff happens. Washington State needs to minimize their own penalties and let Oregon move themselves back with penalties. The Cougars need to win a few possessions here and there to get Oregon to go three and out. Get the punt and try to get Oregon's offense out of sync.
There's some magic left in CenturyLink. What a weird few days. First, the Packers were robbed to a degree that could make someone a nihilist on Monday night. Then on Thursday night Stanford seems to forget the best part of their offense was running the football and Washington tackles well. What the? Maybe there's a little more weirdness left in it before the Seahawks play again Sunday.
Cover the Spread. A moral victory! (But I like Oregon to cover)