Saturday, September 29, 2012
Pregame: Washington State-Oregon
By Kevin Gemmell
SEATTLE -- Though technically a home game for the Washington State Cougars, tonight’s matchup against the Oregon Ducks will probably be -- at the very least -- a neutral-field experience.
Even the mileage favors the No. 2 Ducks, who are squaring off the Cougars at CenturyLink Field in the Seattle game.
Eugene to Seattle = 283 miles.
Pullman to Seattle = 287 miles.
Obviously, the Ducks have a few more advantages than just the mileage. Like one of the nation’s most exciting offensive players in De'Anthony Thomas, a youthful but efficient quarterback in Marcus Mariota and a defense that is playing as well as any in the Pac-12.
Thomas is tied for the FBS lead with eight all-purpose plays of 30 yards or more. Which is a technical way of saying he’s super-duper explosive.
Washington State, meanwhile, is trying to bounce back from a loss last week to Colorado. This is the first time in Mike Leach’s career he’s faced Oregon.
Connor Halliday is again expected to start at quarterback for the Cougars. He’s appeared in seven games in his career for Washington State and has 17 touchdowns. That’s the most by any quarterback in school history during his first seven games.
It’s been a weird week of football at CenturyLink Field. Thursday night, Washington upset No. 8 Stanford; Monday night we saw the simultaneous-possession call at the end of the Seahawks-Packers game. Worth noting that the last time Washington State beat a ranked team, it was in 2006, when it beat No. 16 Oregon in Pullman.