Washington State’s dubious defense will be stressed Saturday by Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, surprisingly the Pac-12’s top rated quarterback.
GAME: Washington State (2-3 overall, 0-2 Pac-12) at Oregon State (3-0 overall, 2-0 Pac-12). WHEN: Saturday, 3 p.m.. PT, Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR. MEETING: 97th (WSU leads 48-45-3). COACHES: Mike Riley, Oregon State; Mike Leach, WSU. RANKINGS: Oregon State 14 AP, 17 USA Today. LINE: Oregon State by 15 1/2. TV: Pac-12 Networks. RADIO: ESPN 710 and IMG College Sports Network.
Washington State’s last victory over a ranked opponent came in 2006 against No. 16 Oregon in Pullman (34-23). Despite a performance against Oregon last week that actually pleased coach Mike Leach despite a 56-21 loss, the Cougars do not figure to have enough to hang with No. 14 Oregon State Saturday in Corvallis — although try to tell the Cougars that.
“With our offense, we can score points on anybody,” defensive tackle Steven Hoffart said this week. “And when we are on our assignments, we are a really tough defense. But a young defense. I think that if we just do our job and stay disciplined, we can play with anyone.”
In Oregon State, the Cougars will face a team that features one of the premier quarterbacks in the Pac-12, Sean Mannion. One week after a career-best game against UCLA, he had another career best against Arizona, throwing for 400 yards and three touchdowns.
“Their quarterback has a huge arm and he likes to throw it down the field,” said junior safety Deone Bucannon. “Oregon State also has huge threats with their receivers, and they can pound the ball on the ground. They are a lot more balanced than Oregon. They came out with a big chip on their shoulder this season and now they are a team everyone needs to look at. They’ve earned their respect. We’ve got to hit them with everything we’ve got.”
Mannion’s favorite targets are Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton, who have combined to average 269 receiving yards per game. Individually, they rank fifth and sixth nationally in that category.
OSU running back Storm Woods has increased his rushing total each week, from 39 yards to 96 to 161 against Arizona.
“There’s nothing easy about Oregon State,” said head coach Mike Leach. “They’re a team that took their lumps last year and they feel like this is their year.”
“Oregon State is really physical and big up front,” said quarterback Connor Halliday, who has thrown 18 touchdowns in eight career games. “They are real physical and great at stopping the run, so we’re going to have to step up and pick up all their pressures and throw the ball over them. If you don’t come to play, they are going to embarrass you.”
The Cougars have yet to figure out a way to manufacture a running game. Averaging just 45.6 yards per contest, worst in the conference, the Cougars rank 119th of 120 teams nationally. Such meager output doesn’t seem to bother Halliday.
“We just competed with the No. 2 team in the nation (Oregon),” Halliday said. “We can compete and we can put up points on anybody in the nation. When this team plays with confidence, we’re a darn good group.”
SERIES: Washington State leads the all-time series 48-45-3 and has wins in two of its last three trips to Corvallis, 2006 and 2010. The Cougars snapped a three-game series skid in 2010 when they won 31-14, but the Beavers earned a 44-21 victory over WSU in The Seattle Game last season behind Sean Mannion’s four touchdown passes. WSU and Oregon State have played throughout the Northwest during the series, with games in Corvallis, Portland, Pullman, Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma.
WSU HEAD COACH: Mike Leach (87-44 overall, 2-3 WSU): Hired Nov. 30, 2011 to replace Paul Wulff, who went 9-40 in four seasons, Leach in 10 seasons at Texas Tech (2000-09) earned 10 bowl bids. The Susanville, CA., native, who was raised in Cody, WY., recorded a school-record 84 victories. Leach’s offenses led the nation in passing six times and three times accumulated the most total yards. In 2009, the Red Raiders finished second in passing offense and fourth in total offense, both marks tops among BCS conference schools. Prior to Texas Tech, Leach spent one season as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma (1999). That year, the Sooners set six Big 12 and 17 school records.
WSU STATS / NOTES
COUGARS OFFENSIVE LEADERS
COUGARS DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Bucannon 36, Long 32, Monroe 32|
|Sacks||Long 9.0, Monroe 3.0, Mayes 2.0, Hoffart, 2.0|
|Interceptions||Bucannon 3, Coen, Toomer, Simmons, 1|
|Passes Defensed||Washington, Bucannon, Coen, Simmons, 3|
|Forced Fumbles||Monroe 2, six players with 1|
|Fumbles Recovered||Monroe, Locker 1|
Pac-12 Standings / North
|Oregon||5-0||2-0||Saturday vs. UW, 7:30 p.m., ESPN|
|Oregon St.||3-0||2-0||Saturday vs. WSU, 3 p.m., Pac-12|
|Washington||3-1||1-0||Saturday at Oregon, 7:30 p.m., ESPN|
|Stanford||3-1||1-1||Saturday vs. Arizona, 12 p.m., FOX|
|WSU||2-3||0-2||Saturday at Oregon State, 3 p.m., Pac-12|
|California||0-2||1-4||Saturday vs. UCLA, 7 p.m., Pac-12|
Pac-12 Standings / South
|ASU||4-1||2-0||Oct. 11 at Colorado, 6 p.m., ESPN|
|USC||4-1||2-1||Oct. 13 at Washington, 4 p.m., FOX|
|UCLA||4-1||1-1||Oct. 13 vs. Utah, 12 p.m., FOX|
|Colorado||1-4||1-1||Oct. 11 vs. ASU, 6 p.m., ESPN|
|Arizona||3-2||0-2||Saturday at Stanford, 12 p.m., FOX|
|Utah||2-3||0-2||Oct. 13 at UCLA, 12 p.m., FOX|
OREGON STATE NOTES: Opened with a 10-7 upset at Wisconsin, and then defeated UCLA 27-20 and Arizona 38-35 . . . OSU ranks T8 in the Pac-12 in scoring offense at 25 points per game, 7th in scoring defense (20.7), 4th in total offense (489.3), 7th in total defense (398.7), 8th in rushing (126.7), 2nd in rushing defense (83.0), 1st in passing offense (362.7), 12th in pass defense (315.7), 2nd in pass efficiency (150.5) and 8th in pass defense efficiency (126.4) . . . Storm Woods leads OSU in rushing at 97.7 yards per game with two touchdowns . . . Sophomore Sean Mannion is the Pac-12’s leading passer, averaging 362.7 yards per game. He’s thrown six TD passes and also ranks 4th in passing efficiency at 150.5 and second in total offense (329.0). . . OSU has two receivers in the Pac-12’s top 10, Markus Wheaton at 9.0 receptions per game and Brandin Cooks at 7.0 . . . Cooks (134.7) and Wheaton (134.3) are the league’s top two in receiving yards per game . . . The Oregon State roster includes 12 players from the state of Washington, including TE Kellen Chute (Spokane), DE Scott Crichton (Tacoma), OG Grant Enger (Bothell), LB Charlie Gilmur (Tacoma), TE Connor Hamlett (Edmonds), CB Tyler Hasty (Newcastle), OT Colin Kelly (Kelso), OL Josh Mitchell (North Bend), LB Caleb Saulo (Kent), TE Caleb Smith (Kent), TE Dustin Stanton (Marysville), S Anthony Watkins (Burien) and CB Brian Watkins (Burien).
OREGON STATE HEAD COACH: Mike Riley, the winningest coach in Oregon State history, is the longest-tenured coach in the Pac-12, in his 12th season. Riley’s resume sparkles with achievements. He was the 2008 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Pac-10 Conference and State of Oregon Coach of the Year, and his teams have appeared in the final Associated Press top-25 rankings in three of the last six seasons. Riley has also guided the Beavers to six bowl games in the past nine years. He is a graduate of Alabama.
COMING UP: The Cougars return to Martin Stadium Oct. 13 to host the California Bears.
Washington State 2012 Schedule/Results
|Date||Opponent||WSU Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|9/8/12||vs. E. Wash||—||—||W||24-20||1-1|