Washington State is vigilant for game against Oregon State
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) Washington State has every reason to be confident coming into Saturday's game against Oregon State.
The Cougars have a five-game winning streak going, they're undefeated in Pac-12 play and they've nearly cracked the national rankings. And yet, they're wary of the Beavers.
''Anybody can be beat in the Pac-12,'' wide receiver Gabe Marks said.
There may be reason for just a bit of concern. The only team that the Beavers have beaten in Pac-12 play this season is California with its so-called Bear Raid offense under Sonny Dykes. The Cougars, of course, have coach Mike Leach's Air Raid offense. Dykes was an assistant on Leach's staff at Texas Tech.
The Air Raid is certainly effective this season. Washington State (5-2, 4-0 Pac-12) ranks fourth nationally with an average of 366.6 passing yards per game. The Cougars are also ranked 15th for scoring offense with an average of 40.5 points per game.
Quarterback Luke Falk is ranked fourth nationally with an average of 358.7 passing yards per game and fifth for total yards with 2,511. He's thrown 19 touchdown passes this season.
Oregon State coach Gary Andersen said there are similarities and differences between the Cougars and Cal. But that doesn't make the Beavers' challenge any easier. Oregon State is ranked No. 21 nationally for pass defense.
''These guys obviously have a very, very potent offense, score a bunch of points and are playing solid defense, a salty tough defense, run the ball well, are physical, aggressive,'' Andersen said. ''The team is playing at a very high level, and winning football games.''
The Beavers (2-5, 1-3) are coming off a 41-17 loss at No. 4 Washington last weekend. The Cougars are coming off a 37-32 victory over Arizona State.
HONORING THE PAST: The Beavers will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the 1942 Rose Bowl championship team on Saturday. That game, which came after the attack on Pearl Harbor, was not played in Pasadena because large gatherings were canceled on the West Coast for fear of another attack. But Oregon State's opponent, Duke, offered to host the game and the Beavers traveled to Durham, where they won 20-16 on New Year's Day.
Oregon State will also honor a Japanese player for the Beavers, Jack Yoshihara, who was not allowed to travel with the team and was later sent to an internment camp. According to Oregon State's school website, a pair of FBI agents informed coach Lon Stiner that Yoshihara would not be allowed to go.
Yoshihara passed away in 2009. His daughter will attend the game.
NO COMMENT: Mike Leach was apparently still salty about the big fine that the Pac-12 levied on him for comments he made about Arizona State prior to last weekend's victory. Leach was reprimanded and fined $10,000 for accusing the Sun Devils of stealing signs.
He declined to talk specifically about the Beavers ''at risk of getting fined or publicly reprimanded.''
INJURIES: Oregon State has been decimated by injuries, especially at quarterback. The Beavers lost starter Darell Garretson for the season because of an ankle injury against Utah. Backup Conor Blount was injured in the same game and sat out of the loss to the Huskies, but could be available this weekend. Marcus McMaryion, the third-string quarterback, was promoted and is expected to start against the Cougars.
Oregon State also got some good news this week concerning running back Ryan Nall, who was out of the walking boot he's been using and was back at full-contact practice. Nall leads the Beavers with 464 rushing yards on 64 carries.
BARBER SUSPENDED: The Cougars will be playing their first game this season without starting nose tackle Robert Barber, who is suspended until July 2017. According to the Seattle Times, Barber was originally expelled for violating the school's conduct code for an alleged assault at an off-campus party in August. He appealed the ruling and was suspended. Because he is a senior, it could be that his career at Washington State is over. Barber has not been charged with a crime.
THE SERIES: It will be the 101st meeting between the two teams in a series that dates back to 1903. Washington State has the all-time edge 50-47-3 and has won the last two, including last year's 52-31 win in Pullman.