It’s duck hunting season in Eugene

The Cougars look to beat out the Ducks for the fifth straight year



Then-freshman Max Borghi attempts to break through Oregon’s defense on Oct. 20 2018 at Martin Stadium.

KURIA POUNDS, Evergreen reporter

Cougar football starts play against the Pac-12 North Division when they face the No. 11 University of Oregon Ducks at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Autzen Stadium.

The Cougars (4-3, 1-3) beat the Ducks (6-1, 4-0) in the last four meetings, including a 33-10 victory in Eugene on Oct. 7, 2017, and a 34-20 victory in Pullman on Oct. 20, 2018.

WSU is coming off of a 41-10 victory against the University of Colorado Buffaloes in Pullman on homecoming weekend.

Willie Taylor III, redshirt sophomore rush linebacker, said preparation is a key reason why WSU beat Oregon for four straight years.

“Just doing what we do best, you know, playing fast, getting after them,” Taylor III said. “They don’t play a lot of guys that move around like we do.”

Oregon is also coming off a 35-31 win against the University of Washington Huskies in Seattle.

Taylor III said the energy of the defense correlates to the high level of intensity on the field.

“Just running around, having fun, it was not like that at the beginning,” Taylor III said. “It is translating to the field and I think people can see that.”

Redshirt senior quarterback Anthony Gordon leads the nation in passing yards with 2,981 yards, just 19 shy of 3,000 on the season. He is tied with LSU quarterback Joe Burrow for first in passing touchdowns with 29 touchdowns.

Gordon was also nominated for the Davey O’Brien Award for week eight, after his performance against the Buffaloes.

Redshirt junior safety Skyler Thomas said rearranging the defense is the other key to their success against Colorado and for future games.

“I think it’s been good for our defense, putting different guys in different places,” Thomas said. “I feel like it is a good move and I like it.”

Gordon said the offense needs to be more consistent throughout the entirety of the game and keeping the emotions the same.

“Not getting too excited after a good play, not getting too down after a bad play,” Gordon said. “We just need to be more focused on each play.”

Gordon said he traveled with the team in 2017 and he remembers the loud atmosphere in Eugene.

“They got some pretty passionate fans, pretty big fanbase over there,” Gordon said. “Pretty hostile environment, they will be yelling some things, I’m sure, so I try to block it out.”

Head coach Mike Leach said the team practices every Thursday with loud noise and a loud atmosphere to prepare the team for road games in hostile stadiums.

“[They need] more nonverbal communication, and just be good at nonverbal communication,” Leach said.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Autzen Stadium. The game can be viewed on ESPN.