GameDay: Why Washington State will beat Oregon

Washington State wide reciever Gabe Marks stretches toward a pass during Oregon's 51-26 victory over the Cougars at Centurylink Field. (Alex McDougall/Emerald)

Washington State wide reciever Gabe Marks stretches toward a pass during Oregon's 51-26 victory over the Cougars at Centurylink Field. (Alex McDougall/Emerald)

Posted by Emerald on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 3:00 pm.

**Editor’s Note: Each week during football season we will feature an essay from the opponent’s student newspaper on how Oregon will lose. This week’s edition is from Brett Gleason, @brett_gleason, sports writer, at Washington State’s Daily Evergreen.** 

When the email first arrived asking for someone to make the case as to why Washington State would beat Oregon on Saturday, I dismissed it as an impossible task.

Right now, we are not sure what to make of this Cougar football team. Some weeks the team looks markedly better than the 2012 squad and other weeks they erupt into a giant dumpster fire.

Thus far, the good has outweighed the bad. Just barely. But to say this team is capable of beating Oregon in Eugene is borderline insane. I say borderline insane because it’s not completely impossible. Out there, probably in some alternate universe, lies a set of circumstances and a chain of events leading to a Cougar win.

For that to happen, everything — and I mean everything — has to go right for WSU. Let’s look at what that might look like. This is how Washington State will beat Oregon, moving them one win closer to bowl eligibility.

Oregon fans woke up on Saturday morning expecting an easy victory over out-matched WSU but instead were greeted by some unfortunate news: The Ducks starting quarterback would be prevented from playing due to a serious case of food poisoning.

Despite the disappointing news, it seemed likely that backup Jeff Lockie could still manage to lead a talented Ducks offense through the porous Cougar pass defense.

The rest of the day passed by fairly uneventfully and kickoff was mere minutes away when the Cougars won the toss and chose to receive.

It silenced Autzen Stadium when Ricky Galvin ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown but realistically it shouldn’t have meant much.

Perhaps the fans on both sides were more shocked, though, when the Ducks went into their extravagant locker room at halftime only up 21-17. True, the Cougars had hung tough with Oregon through the first half in recent years, but this year felt different.

Connor Halliday managed to go an entire half without throwing even one single interception, a personal best. He even managed to complete 75 percent of his passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

He looked like a man on a mission, who had finally learned something from his countless mistakes. Finally going through his progressions and finding open receivers in space, Halliday and the Cougars were able to find success against an Oregon team with vastly greater team speed.

However, the biggest break for WSU in the first half was the injury to Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas. Coming around the outside to break off what looked to be a for sure big gain, he found himself looking at Darryl Monroe who appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

The vision of Monroe was brief though, as the Cougars star linebacker collided with Thomas hard, aggravating the ankle that WSU fans were hoping would keep him off the field in the first place.

Wearing crazy uniforms was bound to cause a problem one day, it just so happened that the helmets made of mirrors Oregon chose to wear caused some serious problems.

That protective coating that was supposed to keep the helmets intact? Yeah, that failed, miserably.

When the helmets shattered in the third quarter, the Ducks lost the entirety of their defensive secondary. Now dealing with backups across the line, Halliday went on a tear, throwing for three touchdown passes in the third quarter.

The Cougars found themselves tied 45-45 with Oregon going into what would be the final drive of the game. With three seconds left to go, Halliday lobbed a 17-yard touchdown to receiver Gabe Marks, partially aided by an actual live Cougar released on the sidelines by Mike Leach, chasing all the defenders from the end zone.

Of course, the Pac-12 officials saw nothing.

It was a thing of beauty, as the Cougars managed to end their six-game losing streak to Oregon.

If that’s what it would take for WSU to win with everything breaking their way, imagine how bad it will be on Saturday when none of that happens.

Any given Saturday. Just probably not this Saturday.

Go Cougs.

  • DonealDuck

    “Of course, the Pac-12 officials saw nothing.”


  • BrettJMiller

    Well done, other Brett. Was fun having you read that on our radio show! Go Cougs. And seriously, Mike…release the live Cougar.