Oregon St. (4-1, 2-0) at Washington St. (4-2, 1-1) / Martin Stadium / 7:30 PDT / ESPNU / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon St. ventures to the Palouse for the first time in 4 years to take on Washington St. tonight. Barely over 16,000 fans braved cold and blustery conditions that late November day, when the 20th ranked Beavers rolled to a 42-10 win over the Cougs. Oregon St. was on their way to the Civil War for the Roses, and Washington St., who only had 44 scholarship players on the field that day, was on their way to a 1-11 season.
It's been long enough ago that the only Beavers who will play today that also played that day are Michael Philipp and Jovan Stevenson.
Things will be completely different this time, with a sell-out Cougar Dad's
Day Night crowd on hand in Martin Stadium for the 98th meeting, and both teams are looking for the win that will move the winner within 1 game of being bowl eligible before mid-October. The Cougs are 1 point favorites at home, making this one nearly dead even in the odds-makers' computers.
Washington St. leads the series 48-46 with 3 ties, but Oregon St. has won the last 2 years, and 5 of the last 6 games. The Cougs haven't beat the Beavers in Pullman since their 36-30 win a decade ago.
The year before, the teams met at Century Link field in Seattle, and the Beavers' 44-21 win was one of only 3 victories on the season for Oregon St.
In 2010, the Cougs came into Reser Stadium and knocked off the Beavers 31-14, for 1 of only 2 wins they would record that year. It was one of several losses in poor performances Oregon St. suffered in a year when only 1 more win, which Washington St. was supposed to be the easiest of, would have earned a bowl trip.
The 2013 meeting will be the first time in a decade that the teams have met this deep into the season with both teams above .500, and as such, its the biggest game between the two in a long time.
And it should be a shootout. Mannion leads the country in passing yards, entering the weekend the only qb in the country to have already thrown for over 2000 yards, and Washington St. quarterback Connor Halliday is #3 in the nation, just 25 yards behind (though he has had 1 more game to amass his total).
The Beavers' Brandin Cooks leads the country in both total receiving yards and receiving yards per game, and co-leads in touchdowns, with 9 already.
Halliday's 521 yards passing in last week's 44-22 Cougar win at California was the most by any Pac-10/12 quarterback in 8 years, since fellow Coug Alex Brink threw for 531, coincidentally against the Beavers, in a 44-33 Washington St. win that would ultimately contribute to another incidence of Oregon St. missing the post-season by 1 win.
Lots of attention was rightly focused on the other northwest rivalry, where Oregon visited Washington earlier today, but this one has the potential to be as hotly contested, if not more.
Buildingthedam will be at the game, and have midnight analysis afterwards!