Beavers defense looks to stop Luke Falk and the Washington State Cougars

OSU v UW #9 Endzone Coverage

Cassidy Wood, Multimedia Contributor

OSU defense prepares for a balanced Cougar offense

The Oregon State football team will once against be facing a Pac-12 team with an unblemished conference record. This week, the Beavers host the Washington State Cougars.

Washington State (5-2, 4-0 Pac-12) remains undefeated in conference play, after beating Arizona State 37-32 last week.  Quarterback for the Cougars, Luke Falk, threw for 398 yards and 3 touchdowns.

In two career starts against the Beavers (2-5, 1-3) Falk has thrown for 878 yards and 11 touchdowns. 

“I see Falk as very poised,” said freshman cornerback Xavier Crawford.  “He stays in the pocket, and he goes through his reads.”

Falk, averaging 358.7 passing yards per game, is at a 72.7 percent completion rate – currently the highest percentage in the nation. 

“Falk is a seasoned veteran,” said defensive coordinator Kevin Clune.  “He makes things look easy; he’ll just step back, find the guy, and hit the target.”

The Cougars have a strong passing offense, averaging 366.6 yards per game.  Falk has some weapons at wide receiver; Gabe Marks and River Cracraft each averaging over 60 yards per game receiving. 

“I’m just excited to defend their throw game,” said senior safety Devin Chappell.  “They throw the ball a lot, and as DBs, that’s what we love.”

“It’s about controlling the line of scrimmage,” said Clune.  “Making sure we get pressure on the quarterback, and disrupt their receivers.”

Defending the pass is key, but the run game shouldn’t be overlooked – as Washington State currently averages 112.7 yards on the ground.

One of the new wrinkles to the Cougar offense has been the addition of the running game. They have increased their yards per game on the ground by 30 yards, and have already doubled their rushing touchdowns from a season ago.

“They have three good backs,” said Clune.  “And I really like those guys, they run hard.  They block hard too.”

Running backs Jamal Morrow, James Williams, and Gerard Wicks, are each averaging over 30 yards rushing per game.  Morrow and Williams have 4 touchdowns each on the season, and Wicks has 8.

“As a whole, they have found a way to run the ball better,” Clune said.  “Which makes it more difficult because now we have to stop the run and the pass.  But that’s what we’ve been preparing for.” 

With an offense that averages 40 points per game, the Beavers defense will need to come out strong, physical, and mentally ready.

“They do move the ball, they put up points and they move the chains,” said Clune.  “So we are going to have to find a way to reset every time, and find a way to get a stop.”

Oregon State has not won a game since their victory over Cal.  They will look for their second conference win of the season on Homecoming weekend.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to us,” said Chappell.  “And we’re ready to go get a win this weekend.”

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