Don’t take your eyes off …
Oregon running back Royce Freeman is one of the country’s premier running backs, not that that’s news to Washington State or its fans. The powerful runner bludgeoned his way to 246 rushing yards and a pair of scores against the Cougars last year in Eugene, and currently leads all Pac-12 starting running backs with an average of 8.8 yards per carry.
When WSU has the ball …
Watch the offensive line and running backs. The Ducks defense blitzes more than any Pac-12 team. Those defenders vacating space in the middle of the field should leave plenty of wide receivers open for Luke Falk to throw to, provided the blockers give him time to make the passes.
When Oregon has the ball …
Keep track of how quickly the WSU defense is able to get off the field. One of UO’s strengths is its ability to wear down defenders by making them run all over the field and hustle back to the line to keep up with its tempo offense. And tackling Freeman is always a lot of work. If the Cougars can force some three-and-outs and get off the field quickly, the defense will look a lot better in the fourth quarter.
Did you know?
The last five times the Cougars have beaten the Ducks, it has led to a .500 or better season for WSU. The 1996 season was the last time a win over UO did not yield a postseason berth for the Cougars, who finished 5-6 that year thanks to a four-game losing streak to end the season.
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