No. 21 WSU Cougars vs. Oregon State: Time, TV, stream, betting lines, preview

The 21st-ranked Cougars barely survived a 3-OT thriller against Boise State last week. Now, there can be no let up as they welcome an Oregon State team that always seems to play WSU close.

No. 21 Cougars vs. Boise State

When: Saturday, 2:30 p.m. PT

Where: Martin Stadium / Pullman, Wash.

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Stream: Pac-12.com

Line: WSU (-21)

Players to Watch

WSU

QB Luke Falk – 78.1 completion percentage

WR Renard Bell – 107 rec yards vs. Boise State

WR Isaiah Johnson-Mack – 13 receptions

DT Hercules Mata’afa – 5.5 TFL

RLB Frankie Luvu – 2.5 sacks

Oregon State

QB Jake Luton – 4 TD

RB Ryan Nall – 2 TD

WR Noah Togiai – 12.9 yards per reception

S David Morris – 25 tackles

LB Manase Hungalu – 2 TFL

Keys to the Game

Establish offensive rhythm

The biggest problem WSU had against Boise State was that it took too long to get things going on offense. This was because the Broncos dropped eight men back to guard against the pass, but the Cougars never quite got the run game going, due in part to poor run blocking from the offensive line, and inconsistent play from the backs. Cougars need to set up the run early to get the pass game going. It helps that Oregon State’s defense has yet to record a sack this year.

Stretch the field vertically

Per Pro Football Focus, Luke Falk was 1 for 5 on passes 10 yards or deeper against Montana State, and 2 for 8 on those same passes against Boise State. That’s in part due to how the Cougars’ first two opponents game planned to take away the long ball. But, things should be different this week. Oregon State is playing without injured starting cornerbacks Xavier Crawford and Dwayne Williams, which should give Falk an opportunity to finally get the vertical passing game going.

Hercules must eat

Hercules Mata’afa has played like a man possessed so far this season, tallying 5.5 tackles for loss in two games. If he keeps that up this week, OSU QB Jake Luton will have a rough day. Luton has thrown as many interceptions as he’s thrown touchdowns (4) through three games, so having to run from Mata’afa and WSU’s improved pass rush all afternoon could wear him down fast.

Contain OSU RB Ryan Nall

Nall has traditionally had huge games against the Cougars. Last year, he tallied 131 yards and three rushing touchdowns on 19 carries in WSU’s too-close 35-31 win…

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