Oregon State, Washington State look to escape middle of Pac-12

Two teams sitting in the middle of the Pac-12 standings face each other in the Pacific Northwest on Saturday night, as Washington State clashes with Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore.

Washington State has won eight straight games against the Beavers, including four on their home turf. Oregon State’s last home victory against the Cougars came on Oct. 6, 2012.

The Beavers (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) ended a two-game losing streak with a wild 28-27 comeback win at Stanford last weekend. Oregon State trailed 24-10 going into the fourth quarter but rallied with an 18-point surge. It was capped by Ben Gulbranson’s 56-yard touchdown pass to Tre’Shaun Harrison with 13 seconds left.

Gulbranson was making his first career start. He threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns while replacing Chance Nolan under center.

Nolan is in concussion protocol, according to a report from OregonLive.com. His status for Saturday is undetermined.

“(Gulbranson) did some good things in the game. For a first start, two touchdowns, no picks. Couple sacks that he’s got to do better on that,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith told OregonLive.com. “We’ll look for him, if he’s the guy, to take a nice step from Game 1 start to Game 2.”

Washington State (4-2, 1-2) has lost two of its last three. Each setback has come against a Top 25 opponent, then-No. 15 Oregon and then-No. 6 USC. The Cougars have one of the more dynamic quarterbacks in the conference in transfer Cameron Ward, who is tied for second in the Pac-12 with 15 touchdown passes.

The Cougars have had success when Ward is out in space and can be a threat to run. However, coach Jake Dickert said this week that the team will be without two top offensive threats in wide receiver Renard Bell and running back Nakia Watson “for some time” due to injuries.

“Both guys will return at some point,” Dickert said, “but it won’t be until a little bit later.”

–Field Level Media