Last week both Oregon and Washington State played their openers with depleted rosters against capable opponents and still managed to emerge victorious to set up Saturday’s showdown that will have high stakes in the shortened Pac-12 season. Though the No. 11 Ducks enter as sizable favorites, they likely will be taking the Cougars seriously after Washington State won four straight in the series until Oregon’s 37-35 win last season.
Much has changed for both programs since that game, with Washington State now under first-year coach Nick Rolovich and Oregon introducing a revamped offensive under new coordinator Joe Moorhead. The Ducks also have a new quarterback in Tyler Shough and an entirely new offensive line. But the ability of both teams to score points appears to remain. Oregon racked up 496 yards in a 35-14 win over Stanford last week while Washington State amassed 456 yards in a 38-28 win over Oregon State.
At least one team has reached 30 points in this game for each of the past 18 seasons, and the teams have combined to average 68.9 points per game during their meetings in that span. So buckle up, because there could be some fireworks in this meeting of Pac-12 North foes.
Oregon: The Ducks were down so many tight ends against Stanford that converted edge rusher DJ Johnson earned the start after entering the week fourth on the depth chart. He caught five passes for 55 yards and a touchdown against Stanford. His seamless transition into the passing game was also a testament to Shough, who threw for 227 yards, one touchdown and one interception in his first career start. The former four-star prospect and backup to Justin Herbert also ran 11 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. Considering that Oregon’s offensive line features five new starters and a new coordinator, it was an encouraging debut performance for a team with College Football Playoff aspirations.
Washington State: Rolovich said after his team’s 38-28 win at Oregon State that the Cougars were missing 32 players for the game. Among them was star running back Max Borghi, whose status remains uncertain for this week. But despite the wave of absences, the Cougars shined offensively with true freshman quarterback Jayden de Laura making his collegiate debut. Rolovich offered de Laura when he was the coach at Hawaii, but de Laura, who is from Hawaii, committed to Washington State and former head coach Mike Leach last October. Now Rolovich has the quarterback he recruited at his old job to help implement his run-and-shoot system.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 14 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Martin Stadium — Pullman, Washington
TV: Fox | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Oregon at Washington State prediction, picks
Oregon didn’t necessarily pummel Stanford into submission last week. But the Ducks covered a 10-point spread comfortably and might have an even bigger talent edge this week. Washington State got off to a great start under Rolovich by winning at Oregon State. But Oregon has the speed and talent on both sides to turn this into a track meet, and the Ducks should be able to build a large enough lead to cover another 10-point spread. Pick: Oregon -10
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