Fresh off a bye week, Oregon State has a big challenge coming up on the road.
The Beavers will travel to Seattle this week to face Washington in a rare Friday night game, as they begin the stretch run of the season.
“A team that knows how to win, a team that knows how to score,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said about the Huskies. “A hostile environment, a great place to play a football game. Fan base into it, crowd noise.”
At 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the Pac-12, the Beavers enter the game ranked for the first time since 2013 at No. 24.
While the ranking is nice, Smith said, the team isn’t focused on polls right now.
“Midseason rankings, we’re not into or pay a bunch of attention to, but I will say, though, that it’s a recognition of the work these guys have put in,” he said. “But we’re definitely into postseason rankings.”
Coming off a bye week, quarterback Chance Nolan was in practice Monday, but limited.
Smith said the coaching staff will see how the week of practices go, but if a decision had to be made Monday, Ben Gulbranson would get the start at quarterback.
The Huskies also are 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the conference, and they too are coming off a bye week.
The top half of the Pac-12 has been strong this season, with six teams sitting at 6-2 or better.
Washington has the conference’s top passing game, with quarterback Michael Penix Jr. throwing for 2,934 yards, 22 touchdowns and four interceptions.
At receiver, the Huskies are led by Rome Odunze (756 yards, six touchdowns) and Jalen McMillan (611 yards, six touchdowns).
The game features strengths vs. strengths
Washington’s strength on offense will face the Beavers’ strength on defense — Oregon State leads the Pac-12 in passing efficiency defense at 113.45.
On the flip side, Oregon State’s strength on offense will go against the Huskies’ strength on defense.
The Beavers are third in the conference in rushing at 194.88 yards per game.
Washington’s defense ranks second in the Pac-12 against the run at 110.38 yards per game.
Damien Martinez comes into the game as the Beavers’ leading rusher with 517 yards and five touchdowns.
Gulbranson has completed 61% of his passes for 818 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions.
At receiver, Tre’Shaun Harrison leads with 34 catches for 477 yards and three touchdowns.
West Salem graduate Anthony Gould has 23 catches for 386 yards and three touchdowns. He also has 11 rushing yards, 165 punt return yards, 22 kick return yards and a punt return touchdown.
The Beavers are 2-1 on the road this season, and the Huskies are 5-0 at home.
This would be a big win for Oregon State in the final month of the regular season.
After this week, the Beavers finish home against California, at Arizona State and home against No. 8 Oregon.
“The atmosphere, the energy, the crowd noise,” Smith said about Husky Stadium. “They play really confident at home, they play really well at home.”
About the game
Who: Oregon State at Washington
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Husky Stadium, Seattle
Records: Oregon State (6-2); Washington (6-2)
Line: Washington by 4.5
Prediction: Oregon State 27, Washington 23