HUSKIES GAMEDAYWASHINGTON (6-4 OVERALL, 4-3 PACIFIC-12 CONFERENCE) AT OREGON STATE (2-5, 2-8)
12:30 p.m., Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Ore.
TV: Root Sports. Radio: 950-AM, 850-AM, 102.9-FM
The series: The Huskies lead the all-time series, 58-33-4. Washington is 15-6 at Reser Stadium, but the last time the Beavers hosted the Huskies, they won 48-21. A year ago, Washington outlasted Oregon State, 35-34, in double overtime.
What to watch: All eyes will be on redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Montana, who will make his first career start for the Huskies. But this game isn’t about Montana. This game is about Chris Polk and the offensive line. Whether Montana or injured Keith Price starts, coach Steve Sarkisian was going to run the football first, run the football second and run the football a little more.
Despite Sarkisian’s reputation as an aerial guru, the Huskies are at their best when they use the run to set up the pass. They have gotten away from that in recent weeks, largely because they have fallen behind. But there also hasn’t been much room for Polk to run. The offensive line has struggled in not only protecting the quarterback, but in opening lanes for running backs.
It should be slightly easier against an OSU defense that gives up more than 180 yards rushing per game, second to last in the Pac-12. But with the Huskies starting a new quarterback, expect Oregon State to put eight defenders near the line of scrimmage, not only to stop Polk but to bring blitz packages against Montana. Offensively, the Beavers have been inconsistent, largely because they are starting a redshirt freshman quarterback in Sean Mannion.
But Mannion is talented and he has playmakers in James Rodgers, Markus Wheaton and Joe Halahuni to help him out.
The Beavers have been their best when running back Malcolm Agnew is healthy, but that has been rare this season.
What’s at stake: The Huskies have clinched a bowl berth, but they can’t afford a third straight loss. Washington wants to win its final two games and finish the regular season 8-4. Oregon State will be trying to get a bit of redemption in an otherwise lost season. Sending the seniors out with a win in their last game at Reser Stadium would be a nice.
The pick: Washington 31, Oregon State 21