Oregon State Beavers (5-5) vs Washington State Cougars (4-6)
Coach: Jonathan Smith
Oregon State Players to watch
*Junior OLB Hamilcar Rashed (6-4/236)
In the midst of a career year, Rashed is gaining a lot of momentum in scouting circles out west. His stats this season are insane and include 60 tackles, 22.5 tackles-for-loss, and 14 sacks. Rashed is tall, thin, and very athletic. His sacks are as much a result of speed as they are the defensive scheme. He recently credited the improved play of the Beavers secondary for his three-sack performance against Cal.
His stats make him a front runner for the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award. “It’s dope,” Rashed said of his stat rankings. “I’m not paying too much attention to it, though. All the work is starting to pay off.”
Senior QB Jake Luton (6-7/225)
After putting on the best performance of his career in the Beavers’ 48-31 win over UCLA, Luton was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week (week six), a day after he was selected as the national player of the week by the College Football Performance Awards. He was also selected as a Manning Award Star of the week and was placed on the Davey O’Brien Award’s Great 8 list. Both awards recognize the top quarterbacks every week.
The best recognition the Idaho/JUCO tranfer may have received this year was to be honored as the fourth nominee for the 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. This Saturday, Luton returns to the place he suffered a frightening injury. As the Oregon State quarterback scrambled for a nine-yard gain at Washington State’s Martin Stadium WSU safety Jalen Thompson leveled him.
Luton went down and didn’t move. He’d broken his back. Fast forward, two years later and a healthy Luton is returning to Pullman in search of a win. So far this season, Luton’s play has been outstanding. He has a 23-2 Td/Int ratio. Plus, he’s got a great connection with his top wide receiver, Isaiah Hodgins. The two have hooked up 73 times for over 1,000 yards this season.
*Junior WR Isaiah Hodgins (6-4/203)
Hodgins, an Oakley, Calif., native, has a career-best 1,021 receiving yards this season, which ranks second in the Pac-12 Conference and seventh nationally. He’s added 13 touchdown receptions, which is good for second nationally.
Fifty-six of his team-leading 73 receptions (76.7 percent) – which rank second in the Pac-12 – have gone for a first down or touchdown. He has caught 132 passes over the past two seasons, 101 of which have gone for a first down or a score, good for 76.5 percent.
Senior OG Gus Lavaka (6-4/345)
Lavaka has started 40 of 43 career games at offensive guard, including 35 straight. The digital communication arts graduate from Kearns, Utah, has also been recognized as a member of the Outland Trophy watch list for the top interior lineman and is a preseason Pac-12 Conference second team honoree. He was a member of multiple Freshman All-America teams following the 2016 season.
Coach: Mike Leach
Washington State Players to watch:
Senior QB Anthony Gordon (6-3/205)
The Air Raid leads the nation in the passing (441.8), tied for sixth in total offense (522.2) and ninth in scoring (40.3). Gordon has already set the school single-season record for touchdown passes (39) with two contests to go. “Right now he is probably playing quarterback better than anyone in the country,” said HC Mike Leach, who has coached many top quarterbacks. “He made play after play in that game that other quarterbacks can’t do.”
A Leach QB by now is expected to lead the land in passing yards, but Gordon is also completing over 70 percent of his passes. Much of his success can be attributed to his super-quick ball release. There’s a few other single-season records Gordon could break this year. He’s only four off the Pac-12 record of 43 touchdowns, shared by Jake Browning and Jared Goff; and with 4,314 passing yards, he needs just 466 more yards to break Minshew’s conference- and program-record 4,779.
**Sophomore RB Max Borghi (5-10/195)
RB Max Borghi has a team-best 1,164 yards from scrimmage this season. He is only Power-5 player with 650+ rushing yards, 450+ rec yards, and 12 total TD. He is averaging 116.0 all-purpose yards/game and leads the Pac-12 with 6.9 yards-per-carry. With screen passes being a big part of HC Mike Leach’s offense, it is no suprise that Borghi leads all running backs (nationally) with 60 receptions.
Last year, Borghi put up 740 all-purpose yards and scored 12 touchdowns as a true freshman. He also caught 53 passes out of the backfield. He was named honorable mention Pac-12 freshman of the year.
*Junior WLB Jahad Woods (6-0/225)
Woods became the first WSU player to reach 100 tackles in a season since 2015 when Peyton Pelluer finished the year with 101. “It feels good, me and my teammates worked hard all year and that was one of the outcomes, was my 100th tackle,” Woods said. “It’s a good feeling but I’m just happy to get the win.”
“Jahad’s a baller,” defensive lineman Misiona Aiolupotea-Pei said. “Anywhere he’s on the field, he makes plays. Sacks, picks, that guy’s a big-time playmaker. He’s an awesome leader on our team.”
***Sophomore RT Abe Lucas (6-7/320)
Cougar right tackle Abraham Lucas weighed in on the costs and benefits of protecting a fiery signal caller like Anthony Gordon following Washington State’s win over Stanford on Saturday.
“He’s got a little spark to him. He’s a quarterback who’s out there jawing with all these defensive lineman and linebackers. I’m pulling him off like, ‘Relax, man, we still need you. We don’t want you getting in any fights,’” said a smiling Lucas.
While keeping his QB out of brawls isn’t usually in an offensive lineman’s job description, Lucas noted that Gordon’s energy motivates the O-Line and it’s one of the reasons the group loves blocking for him.
Martin Stadium – Field Turf
Nov. 23 | Pullman, Washington
*Be sure to check out the latest College Football Playoff Rankings.