Cougs to battle Beavs in Corvallis 

Ferocious WSU defense prepares to face top-tier Oregon State running game 



WSU defenders tackle an Oregon player during an NCAA college football game, Sep. 24.

TREVOR JUNT, Evergreen deputy sports editor

WSU football is coming off a rough loss against No. 7 USC and will face Oregon State in a tough environment.

Both teams are 1-2 in their last three games. WSU with losses to both ranked teams, No. 12 Oregon and No. 7 USC. Oregon State with losses against No. 7 USC and No. 20 Utah.

WSU collapsed against Oregon by losing a 22-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost 44-41. Then was beaten by USC easily as their offense could not get going in the second half losing 30-14.

Oregon State lost against USC by three points and shut down the deadly USC offense narrowly losing 17-14. They then were beaten easily by Utah who had no struggle on either side of the ball in a 42-16 Utah win.

WSU and Oregon State are both respectable teams, each getting AP Poll votes at some point this season.

WSU head coach Jake Dickert called Oregon State the most underrated and undervalued team in the whole Pac-12. He credited them for their physicality, both on the offensive and defensive side and also gave them credit for putting up a good fight against USC. Dickert said their coaching and veteran leadership makes them an especially formidable challenge.

Oregon State’s bread and butter is their running game. They average 181 rushing yards per game. With three running backs over 220 yards on the season. Their bell-cow back is Deshaun Fenwick, who has 73 carries for 331 yards and four touchdowns.

WSU has one of the best front sevens in the Pac-12, stopping the run and getting to the quarterback is what they are exceptional at.

“They’ve been rolling people off the ball and [Fenwick] is incredible. They’re downhill,” Dickert said. “We’ve done a good job this season against tough physical football teams. I think that’ll be another challenge. Just like I said every other week, it isn’t one guy, it isn’t the D-tackles that need to play well this week. It is everybody in the box.”

Oregon State has struggled in takeaways. They have given the ball up 11 total times, with seven interceptions and four fumbles lost.

WSU will need to force multiple turnovers to beat Oregon State. Getting to Oregon State quarterback Chance Nolan and laying hits on him will force him to get rid of the ball when he does not want to and will create interception opportunities. The defense will need to help themselves and cause disruptions.

WSU QB Cam Ward will need to do what he has been doing in recent games. He has been playing close to mistake-free and is extending plays to find his receivers downfield. With Robert Ferrel being back, it creates a safety net for Ward.

“I know a lot about coverage and tendencies just by looking at people. So I try to help the younger guys get into positions where [Ward] wants them to be. Whether it’s just a little thing of being on this side of a player rather than this side when you’re trying to break,” Ferrel said.

Oregon State is the favorite by 3.5 points and ESPN only gives WSU around a 38% chance of winning this game.

WSU will play Oregon State at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon. The game will be broadcasted on the Pac-12 Network.