1 Receivers need to keep fighting. The Beavers boast one of the top defenses in the country and have come up with more interceptions than they have allowed passing touchdowns. WSU’s receivers can’t expect Luke Falk to be perfect on each of his passes today, if there is a questionable ball the Cougars need to go fight for it or at least knock it down to keep it out of the hands of OSU’s ball-hawking defensive backs.
2 Keep an eye on Villamin. Oregon State’s 6-foot-5 freshman receiver has 268 receiving yards and three touchdowns in OSU’s last three games. He’s a big play threat who is going to see most of his targets well past the first-down marker, and he can battle with a DB and make a catch even if he’s not open. He’s also the only Beavers receiver with more than one receiving touchdown this season so expect Sean Mannion to look his way in the red zone.
3 Give Falk plenty of time to get settled. While Falk showed impressive pocket presence in his time against USC last weekend, the freshman will have a much easier time in his first start if he’s not having to rely on that talent and can focus on finding open receivers without worrying about the pass rush. Oregon State is dealing with some injuries along the defensive line so WSU’s offensive linemen should be able to hold the Beavers at bay.
4 ‘D’ makes the most of its opportunity. After getting beaten up by a number of tough offenses over the last month, WSU’s defense has a chance to get back on the right track against an OSU team that has struggled to move the ball. The Beavers are converting just 30 percent of their third down opportunities and scoring touchdowns on just 53 percent of their trips to the red zone.
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