Cougars

What To Expect From The (2) Ducks, Cougars Match-Up

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

No. 2 Oregon (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) at Washington State (2-2, 0-1), 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Oregon by 28½ .

Series Record: Oregon leads 48-38-7.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Oregon hits the road for the first time this season, but it remains to be seen how much the Ducks trip to Seattle is truly a road game. Thousands of Oregon fans are expected to make the trip north for the matchup. Washington State is hoping to hang around the same way it did last year in Eugene in a 43-28 loss, but blowing a 31-14 fourth-quarter lead and losing 35-34 to woeful Colorado at home last week was not a good precursor.

KEY MATCHUP

Oregon’s speed vs. Washington State’s defense. There’s no doubt Oregon will score. The blurring speed of De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner could have a field day with Washington State’s defense and turn this into a blowout early. But the past two seasons, Washington State has managed to keep its games with Oregon close and if the Cougars can this might be a chance for Connor Halliday and their offense to do something special.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Oregon: TE Colt Lyerla. He’s not just a tight end anymore. Chip Kelly has found unorthodox ways to get Lyerla involved in the offense, including giving him seven carries for 63 yards and a touchdown last week against Arizona. That’s on top of eight catches for 107 yards and two scores already this season. Lyerla is just one more gadget for the Ducks’ dynamic offense.

Washington State: WR Marquees Wilson. He needs just 46 yards to pass Brandon Gibson for the most receiving yards in Washington State history. Wilson is still waiting for a big breakout game in Mike Leach’s “Air Raid” offense, despite having five receptions and two touchdowns catches in each of the last two games.

FACTS & FIGURES

First time teams have ever played in Seattle. Game is part of Washington State’s plan to play once a season at the home of the Seattle Seahawks and future plans are to play either Oregon or Oregon State in the annual Seattle game. … Oregon’s offense has 27 touchdown drives this season — 14 have taken 2 minutes or less. … Halliday has 17 TD throws in the first seven games of his career. That’s the most in school history.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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