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Kerry says: Oregon State wins this week. Really.


As many of you out in Beaver Nation have suggested, I should continue predicting Oregon State to lose football games. I’m 0-3 on my picks as the Beavers have strutted to a 3-0 record.

But in good faith, I can’t do that as Washington State rolls into Corvallis this Saturday for a Pac-12 matchup at Reser Stadium.

The Beavers are favored for the first time this season after serving as underdogs against Wisconsin, UCLA and Arizona, and they ought to be.

They’re much the better team, though that’s not the way the Pac-12 media saw it when they forecast the Cougars fifth and the Beavers sixth in the North Division race before the campaign began.

Let’s start with this: Oregon State’s run defense ranks ninth nationally at 83.0 yards per game. Washington State rushed for a minus-eight yards in its 51-26 loss to Oregon and average 45.6 yards per game on the ground, 119th among the nation’s FCS programs. OSU will focus on stopping the run and turning the Cougars one-dimensional.

The Cougars can pass with Connor Halliday, who is averaging 300.8 yards per game. They’ll gain some real estate through the air, but I’ll be surprised if the sophomore quarterback hits his average. He was sacked seven times by the Ducks, so protection is at a premium for the visitors from the Palouse.

Washington State’s will gamble out of its 3-4 defense, using a variety of blitz packages to try to hurry OSU QB Sean Mannion, who leads the Pac-12 and is fourth nationally with 362.6 yards per game passing. If OSU’s offensive line opens holes for Storm Woods as effectively as it did at Arizona, the entire offense could have a field day.

My perfect record will go by the wayside Saturday, but the Beavers’ won’t.

THE PICK: Oregon State 38, Washington State 21

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Twitter: @kerryeggers