The Cougars are set to take on the Ducks of Oregon this weekend and they are looking for a way to upset the Ducks and put an end to the 7 game win streak that the Ducks have. The Ducks are coming off of 3 consecutive games where they have blown out their opponents and have been able to rest in the 4th quarter. The Cougars on the other hand have been struggling lately and are in need of a big win.
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Oregon (3-0) is looking to keep their playoff hopes alive while the Cougars (1-2) are looking to turn the season around after starting 0-2.
We all are hoping the Cougars can pull this upset off and upend the Ducks dreams this weekend and here are your 5 things you should watch for this weekend.
Lots of Passes
After last season’s 62-38 loss to the Ducks, Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said in his post game conference that he thought Mike Leach was “low class” for throwing the ball as much as he did. Connor Halliday threw the ball 89 times completing 58 of them with a lot of them coming after the game was out of reach for the Cougars. He also threw for 557 yards and 4 touchdowns in that game.
Oregon has the 100th ranked pass defense this season and allows 275 yards per game on an average of 38 attempts per game. Washington State has proven that they can exploit defenses as they already have two games with over 500 passing yards in each game. We could see Halliday air the ball out a lot to keep up with the fast scoring Ducks offense. Oregon scores a lot and scores often and the Cougars are going to need to keep up with them. The defense doesn’t have the speed to keep up with the Oregon offense and will need to count on the offense as well.
What to watch for: Halliday throwing the ball a lot… And maybe Leach wanting to throw the ball 100 times
Halliday’s 3 games this season have been 532, 389, and a 544 yard games and it doesn’t seem that he is going to be slowing down any time soon. He leads the nation in passing yards, completions, attempts, and passing touchdowns this season and has had two of the best games of his career already this season.
It would not be a surprise to see Halliday have another great game and work his way to breaking more records. He is just 6 touchdowns away from tieing the WSU record for career touchdowns, 70 completions away from the WSU record, and 169 attempts away from the WSU record. He also holds the record for most 300 yard games and is looking to improve on that.
We may not see any records get broken this week but he is well on his way of owning a lot more records.
What to watch for: Halliday had his second best game of his career last week behind last seasons game against Oregon.
Through the first two games of the season the run game had averaged less than 25 yards a game but last week they ran for 76 yards. The Cougars were able to pass the ball more with the defense having the run game in the back of their minds.
Every team that is playing the Cougars knows that they will pass the ball no matter the situation and is more than likely going to defend that instead. The Cougars should have the ability to run the ball more than they do but are not able to. With Oregon stacking up against the pass the box should be open for some more runs and it will be a necessity if the Cougars want to come away with a win.
What to watch for: The Cougars developed a run game last weekend and are looking to keep that up.
Defense Stepping Up
We all know that Oregon is fast and good and the defense is really going to need to step it up if they want to keep the game close. In their game against South Dakota Oregon had 4 drives they scored on in under 4 plays. There are very few drives that Oregon has that take a lot of plays and they use that to their advantage.
There has been a lot of teams that have tried to keep up with them and fail and the defense is going to need to find out a way to stop them without necessarily trying to keep up with them. The defense is going to need to win the turnover battle to help Halliday stay on the field and get ahead of the Ducks early.
There have been many reports on the Cougars defense being a lot faster and a lot better this week than they have in the past and it will be huge to actually see that in action.
What to watch for: The defense is really going to have to step it up this weekend on defense to stop Mariota and the Ducks offense
the Ducks are fast. Very fast. It is not a secret or something that will surprise anyone and it is something that gets a lot of attention in college football. There are very few players on the Washington State team that can keep up with Oregon and their players. There aren’t too many players in general that can keep up with them.
The Cougars are really going to have to prepare for the speed and they are going to have to be able to find a way to counter that speed. The positive about this game is that it is in Pullman and is sold out. If the fans can get under the skin of the Ducks then it will help the team with another edge and hopefully help them steam a victory.
What to watch for: Oregon has speed… and lots of it.