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First look: Washington State at Oregon State

UPDATED: Mon., Oct. 1, 2018, 6:29 p.m.

In this Sept. 8, 2018, file photo, Oregon State's Jermar Jefferson carries the ball against Southern Utah during an NCAA college football game in Corvallis, Ore. Oregon State will try to turn its victory last weekend into a streak of sorts when the team visits Nevada on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. (Andy Cripe / AP)
In this Sept. 8, 2018, file photo, Oregon State's Jermar Jefferson carries the ball against Southern Utah during an NCAA college football game in Corvallis, Ore. Oregon State will try to turn its victory last weekend into a streak of sorts when the team visits Nevada on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. (Andy Cripe / AP)

What is it? Washington State (4-1, 1-1) heads out on the road seeking out its second Pac-12 win versus Oregon State (1-4, 0-2).

Where is it? Reser Stadium in Corvallis.

When is it? Kickoff is 6 p.m. Saturday.

Where can I watch it? The game will air on Pac-12 Networks.

Who is favored? WSU was favored to win by 15.5 points as of Monday morning.

How did they fare last week? The Cougars came from behind to beat Utah 28-24 for their first Pac-12 win of the 2018 season, getting an 89-yard touchdown from Gardner Minshew to Easop Winston late in the fourth quarter. The Beavers lost 52-24 at Arizona State despite a strong rushing effort from freshman tailback Jermar Jefferson.

Why WSU will win: One of just two teams at the Power Five level that’s given up 30 touchdowns or more, Oregon State is surrendering 543.6 offensive yards per game – second-worst in the country – and the Beavers are conceding 54.6 points per game to P-5 teams (Ohio State, Arizona, Arizona State). WSU brings the Pac-12’s second-best scoring offense (39 ppg) into Saturday’s contest. Putting points up against OSU has not been much of an issue the last four times these two have met; the Cougars have averaged 44.5 ppg in those matchups, and could have one of their better rushing performances in recent memory against an OSU team that conceded more than 800 yards on the ground the past two weeks against the Arizona schools.

Why OSU will win: The quarterback position is still a quandary for the Beavers, but they’ve successfully replaced bullish running back Ryan Nall with true freshman sensation Jefferson, who currently has better numbers than established Pac-12 backs such as Bryce Love and Myles Gaskin and leads the conference in rushing attempts (105), rushing yards (727) and rushing touchdowns (15). The Cougars have stymied some of the best tailbacks in the Pac-12 the last few years, but they couldn’t solve Utah’s rushing attack, conceding 106 net yards to running back Zack Moss and another 88 to quarterback Tyler Huntley. OSU’s loss at ASU was evidence that the Beavers need much more than Jefferson to be competitive – he rushed for 254 yards and they still lost – but perhaps the offense can at least try to keep pace with its freshman running back.

What happened last time? Luke Falk and the Air Raid shredded Oregon State at Martin Stadium in 2017, piling up 431 yards in the air for a 52-23 win the third week of the season. Falk completed 37 of 49 passes for 396 yards and six touchdowns, adding to his four-year rolling total against the Beavers – an impressive line that saw the QB finish 163-of-206 for 1,689 yards and 22 touchdowns all-time against OSU. Tavares Martin Jr. had a career receiving day, with 10 receptions for 194 yards and three touchdowns; fellow Belle Glade, Florida, native Isaiah Johnson-Mack had nine catches for 79 yards and two TDs. OSU quarterback and former Idaho backup Jake Luton was stretchered off the field in the fourth quarter after taking a severe hit to the head that ended his season.

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