College Football Game of the Week: Oregon vs. Washington State

Story posted November 11, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Christopher Hess

With the Pac-12 being one of the last college football conferences to join the fray, nearly all of the Division I FBS teams are playing in some capacity.

Oregon (1-0) and Washington State (1-0) are two of those programs that kicked their respected seasons off last week and will square off in Pullman, Washington, on Nov. 14.

The Ducks entered 2020 as the Pac-12 favorite with USC not too far behind, and they were able to take care of business in Week 1 with a 35-14 win over Stanford.

At quarterback, Tyler Shough filled the void of Justin Herbert nicely in his first game as a starter, throwing for 227 yards while completing 17 passes on 26 attempts with a touchdown and an interception.

He will look to build on the installation of new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead’s scheme.

Running back CJ Verdell is looked upon as one of the most highly skilled running backs in the nation, and he was able to rush for 105 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries against Stanford.

Wide receiver Johnny Johnson III and tight end DJ Johnson pose interesting matchups for defensive backs, as Johnson III has blistering speed, and Johnson stands at 6 feet 5 inches tall and almost 260 pounds.

On the defensive side of the ball, Isaac Slade-Matautia, Mykael Wright and Kayvon Thibodeaux are likely to be the leaders of the defense, as they were the leading tacklers against the Cardinal.

Nick Rolovich took over as head coach in Pullman after Mike Leach left for Mississippi State, implementing his run-and-shoot offense with limited practice time.

That run-and-shoot offense is one that relies heavily on the quarterback making adjustments and reads in a swift and decisive manner and is relatively complex.

Rolovich ran the same offense at Hawaii, as his quarterback Cole McDonald threw for 8,010 yards in his two years as a starter.

Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura doesn’t have the same skill set as McDonald, but he has the ability to be just as productive.

In a 38-28 win over Oregon State last week, de Laura went 18 for 33 passing with 227 yards, three total scores and one interception.

However, it was running back Deon McIntosh that stole the show with his impressive 18-carry, 147-yard, one-touchdown performance where he averaged 8.2 yards per touch.

Wide receiver Travell Harris was on the receiving end of de Laura’s two passing touchdowns and had seven receptions for 107 yards.

For the defense, Ayden Hector, Brennan Jackson and George Hicks III each had seven tackles, and defensive end Ron Stone Jr. was able to rack up 1 ½ sacks in last week’s win.

Both sides are still relatively unknown entities in a young conference season, even though we have reached Week 11 of the entire college football season as a whole.

Oregon’s speed and athleticism will take over in this matchup of conference foes, but the Cougars will make things interesting by testing the Ducks secondary through the air.

Prediction: Oregon 31, Washington State 17

 

Christopher Hess is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email christopherhess22@gmail.com.