PULLMAN - Washington State students are faced with quite the dilemma this weekend. With Thanksgiving Break officially here, students have to decide between going home on Friday and spending time with family, or staying an extra day to support the Cougars in their final home game of 2019.
The stakes of this game really couldn't get much higher for either team. The berth of a bowl game will be on the line Saturday in Pullman when the Beavers of Oregon State come into Martin Stadium. Both teams currently sit at 5-5, needing just one more win to become bowl eligible.
This isn't the last opportunity for either squad to get that illusive sixth win, but with top 20 ranked in-state rivals the Washington Huskies and Oregon Ducks waiting in the shadows respectively, this is going to be the best opportunity for either team to make it happen.
If that wasn't enough incentive for the students to stick around, the giveaway of the talking Mike Leach "bobblehead" to the first 10,000 fans should scratch that itch. It comes complete with coach Leach's beautiful face, and plays a few of his more memorable quotes from past press conferences when you press a button. I'll see you in line.
Washington State is coming off a 49-22 beatdown of Stanford a week ago where the Cougars led from start to finish. Anthony Gordon hit Easop Winston Jr. for the score on the opening drive of the game and the team never looked back, leading the entire way.
Gordon had another one of "those" games. You know, the type of performance where it makes it really clear why he is a semi finalist for the Davey O'Brien award; an award given to college football's top quarterback. Gordon finished completing 73% of his passes (44 of 60), while throwing for 520 yards and five touchdowns.
Running back Max Borghi wasn't going to let Gordon and the receivers have all the fun though. Borghi eclipsed the 100 yard mark for the fourth time this season. He finished the day with 15 carries for 111 yards, and a touchdown. He also tacked on eight catches for 34 yards and another score through the air.
Speaking of Borghi, I think it's safe to say he is feeling confident following last Saturday's win. So confident, he even guaranteed victory over the Beavers.
"A win feels great. We just have to carry that into next week, and prepare for Oregon State because we are going bowling, and I'm guaranteeing that because we are going to win next week. See ya later." said Borghi as he got up and walked away from his post game press conference after the win against Stanford.
Perhaps he should feel that confident too. Oregon State comes in as the only team in the Pac-12 giving up more rushing yards per game than the Cougars (180 per game). Borghi could be in for another monster day for the Cougars on Saturday.
For Oregon State, being on the road is somewhere they have been comfortable in 2019. They actually have a better record on the road (3-1), than they do in Corvallis (2-4).
The Beavers offensive game plan is built around an extremely balanced attack. In an almost dead even split, they have ran the ball on 343 plays, and dropped back to pass for 339.
The running back duo of Artavis Pierce and Jermar Jefferson have both toted the ball over 100 times and have scored a combined 11 rushing touchdowns. But don't think on the ground is the only way this team can beat you.
Oregon State wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins is one of the best that the Pac-12 has to offer. His 73 catches are more than double the amount the next highest on his team. He eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark in the teams last outing, and has a conference high 13 touchdown receptions.
The game is set for a 6:00 P.M. kickoff and can be seen on the Pac-12 Network. Washington State currently sits as 11 point favorites according to Las Vegas sportsbooks. A shootout is also expected, with the over under laying at 75 points.