To say the Cougars are going to throw the ball a lot is an understatement. The Ducks have prepared to go up against prolific passing attacks already this season when they prepared to play against the California Golden Bears but even the Bears' prolific passing attack pales when compared to how much the Cougars plan to and likely will throw the ball.
Washington State rarely runs the ball if it isn't first down. Going through box scores of the last couple games, it shows that the Cougars try to get their pass game going early and often. However, their tendencies show they are likely to start their drives with a run play. It's almost like the Cougars force themselves into playing the game the way they want to. Often times, WSU backs can't get more than a couple yards on first down which puts the Cougars into 2nd and 3rd and long situations.
To combat WSU's offense, the Ducks need to find a way to keep the Cougars behind the sticks and as strange as it sounds, run their offense the way they want to run it. With a talented defensive backfield and a line backing group which is getting better week over week, Oregon just needs to keep things in front of them and be opportunistic on defense.
To paraphrase Charles Woodson "He gonna throw you the ball." The "he" in question is Connor Halliday. Halliday is a bit of an enigma, while he has shown himself to be a serviceable quarterback in Mike Leach's system he is also prone to mistakes and his three pick fourth quarter against the Beavers sank the Cougar's chances as a tight game became a laugher down the stretch.
Despite his shortcomings, Halliday has found a connection with Gabe Marks. The sophomore receiver has already matched his output from a year before and is on pace to have a 1000 yard season and averages just over 11 per catch. WSU's deep threat is also a sophomore, Dom Williams hasn't seen as much action, catching just 16 passes but is over 300 yards on the season with a 19.81 average and 3 touchdowns.
To this point in the season, Halliday has thrown at least one in interception in every game he has played, throwing three against both OSU and in the season opener against Auburn. The Cougars have also put the ball on the turf 13 times but have only given away 5 of them. Washington State is a turnover waiting to happen and against a staunch defense like Oregon it's not so much a question of whether WSU is going to turn the ball over, it's how many times will they turn the ball over.