Offense galore: Oregon vs. Washington State
By the numbers, stats and gambling spread
Saturday’s game between No. 12 Oregon and No. 25 Washington State marks the fourth consecutive ranked game for the Ducks. The outcome will have major Pac-12 North Division implications as both teams have identical 5-1 overall and 2-1 conference records. Oregon now owns the head-to-head with North leader Washington and a victory against the Cougars would keep the Ducks in the race for the Pac-12 title.
Numbers to know: Two of the best offenses in the nation will go head to head. Oregon leads the conference and is tied for 11th nationally at 43.0 points per game while the Cougars own the nation's best passing attack, averaging 413.78 yards per game.
Fun fact: Junior wide receiver Dillon Mitchell leads the nation in receiving yards per game (154.3) in conference play and has a Pac-12 best 12 20-yard catches.
Betting line: The line opened a WSU by 2, but then shifted to a pick ‘em, and is now back to WSU by 2.5.
Players to keep an eye on
Quarterback Gardner Minshew II leads the country in passing (403.7) and is seventh in touchdown passes (19) through the first six games this season. The East Carolina transfer has attempted 313 passes yet only thrown four interceptions. He is the only quarterback in the country with four 400-yard games in 2018. He spreads the ball around, Washington State has had at least nine players catch a pass in all six games.
Cougar offensive line: Washington State has allowed just five sacks in six games, which is tied for 8th nationally and the fewest sacks allowed in the Pac-12.
Running back James Williams leads all running backs nationally with 32 receptions and is tied for the lead with three receiving touchdowns.
Linebacker Peyton Pelluer is the team leader with 50 tackles including 4.5 for loss, two sacks and has two pass breakups. The senior has recorded the most quarterback hurries among all Pac-12 linebackers (9).
Keys to an Oregon win
Keep doing you, Herbert: Quarterback Justin Herbert will be up against a WSU passing defense that is the best in the conference, allowing only 165.5 passing yards per game. Herbert has thrown for over 200 yards in every game this season and owns a streak of 21 consecutive games with a touchdown pass, the second longest streak in the nation. He has also thrown 161 consecutive passes without an interception in Pac-12 road games.Herbert can’t let the Cougars stifle his arm.
Contain the Air Raid: The Cougars own the nation's best passing attack while Oregon’s passing defense ranks 90th. Minshew II owns an impressive 11-1 touchdown to interception rate in conference games. WSU has five different players with 20 receptions or more. Expect Saturday to be a big test for Oregon’s secondary.
Lead the game in sacks: Oregon needs to get to Minshew II, which is not an easy task as he’s only been sacked five times this season. On the contrast, WSU leads the conference with 18 sacks. It’s important the Ducks get pressure on Minshew II and protect Herbert.
Last Saturday, the Ducks pulled an upset over then No. 7 rival Washington at Autzen Stadium, winning 30-27 on CJ Verdell’s touchdown run in overtime. The Cougars had a bye week after beating Oregon State 56-37 on Oct. 6. WSU’s lone loss came in a thrilling fashion last month when they fell 39-36 to USC.
Injury updates: Offensive linemen Dallas Warmack (stinger) and Penei Sewell (high ankle sprain) both sustained injuries against Washington. Starting left tackle, Sewell, will miss approximately six weeks due the injury. According to Cristobal on Monday, Warmack has been cleared, backup quarterback Braxton Burmeister (knee) is ready to play this week, but running back Darrian Felix (foot) might be another week or two away.
Last time Oregon played WSU: Oregon was without Herbert (collarbone injury), and the Cougars beat the Ducks 33-10 in Eugene.
How and where to watch
Time: 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20
Where: Martin Stadium, Pullman, Washington
Radio: KUGN-AM (590), KUJZ-FM (95.3), KZEL-FM (96.1)