Tuesday, October 09, 2007
#9 Oregon Ducks vs Washington State Cougars
Saturday, 13th October, 3.00pm ET
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR
Oregon was unranked to start the season and lost its last game. But with shocking upsets seemingly happening every weekend in college football, the Ducks have managed to move into the Top 10 without even playing a game. The No. 9 Ducks look to justify their high ranking and avenge last year's upset loss when they host Washington State on Saturday.
The Ducks haven't played since a 31-24 loss to then-No. 6 California on Sept. 29. That defeat dropped Oregon slightly in the rankings, but since then, there's been an upheaval that included the previous highest-ranked team in the Pac-10. Heavyweight USC lost to 41-point underdog Stanford, Cal took its place as No. 2 in the country and No. 14 Arizona State remains unbeaten in the conference. All of that happened while Oregon (4-1, 1-1) sat idle last weekend. Now, with the Trojans having been upset, the Ducks would like to jump into the title race. Oregon would also like to get revenge for last year's loss to Washington State. The Ducks were ranked 16th when the Cougars won 34-23 at home.
But first, the Ducks will have to put the disappointing loss to Cal behind them. Oregon nearly tied the game late in the fourth quarter, but lost a costly fumble. With 22 seconds left, Dennis Dixon hit Cameron Colvin with a pass, but Colvin fumbled the ball as he tried to stretch it over the goal line. The ball went through the back of the end zone and was ruled a touchback for Cal. Oregon has already lost receiver Bryan Paysinger for the season with a knee injury and lost linebacker A.J. Tuitele for six to eight weeks after the defensive captain broke his foot.
The Ducks will have to rely on Dixon and their strong offense to hold off the Cougars. Oregon is first in the Pac-10 and fourth nationally in rushing, averaging 277 yards per game. The Ducks are also first in the conference in total offense (529 yards per game) and scoring offense (43.6 points per game). Washington State (2-4, 0-3) is facing its third Top 10 opponent and fourth ranked team of the season. The Cougars lost to Wisconsin and USC and still have to face Cal before the season is over. Washington State nearly upset then-No. 18 Arizona State last weekend before a late field goal gave the Sun Devils a 23-20 victory.
Washington State will need another strong performance by the defense to hold off the high-powered Ducks. A victory in Oregon would be especially sweet for Cougars quarterback Alex Brink, who grew up in Eugene but wasn't recruited by the Ducks. Brink had 369 yards passing against Arizona State to surpass Jason Gesser as the school's all-time passing leader with 8,923 yards. Oregon leads the all-time series 39-38-7, but Washington State has won three of the past five. The Cougars won 55-16 in their last visit to Autzen Stadium in 2003, their largest margin of victory in the series.
Posted at 3:38 PM