Oregon State has been in a few dramatic, close games this season.
The Beavers beat Fresno State, 35-32, and Stanford, 28-27, and they lost to USC, 17-14.
Saturday’s game against Washington State has the makings of another thriller.
Oregon State is 7-1 in its past eight games at Reser Stadium, and the Cougars are 4-2 this season, including an upset win at then-No. 19 Wisconsin on Sept. 10.
“Looking forward to the energy and crowd making a difference,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said. “Hopefully we can play well enough to keep them in it.”
The Beavers are coming off a miracle victory at Stanford, where Tre’Shaun Harrison scored the 56-yard, game-winning touchdown with 13 seconds left on a pass from Ben Gulbranson.
The late heroics covered up some issues.
The Beavers were down 24-10 in the fourth quarter to a team that is now 1-4.
“A lot to learn from that tape, really in all three phases,” Smith said. “When you look to improve, there’s a bunch there for us.”
Gulbranson was learning on the job, but he finished with decent numbers in the game — 20 of 28 for 250 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
It was important for Gulbranson not to throw an interception, as the Beavers had eight total interceptions in the two losses to USC and Utah.
The quarterback situation is still undetermined, with Chance Nolan still battling a neck injury.
At this point, Oregon State would be better off starting Gulbranson, who no doubt has confidence after his game-winning pass. The Beavers have needed better play at quarterback, and Gulbranson might now be able to consistently provide that.
Washington State enters the game with the third-best scoring defense in the Pac-12 at 20.1 points per game. The Cougars also are third in rushing defense, allowing 110.5 yards per game.
Offensively, Washington State has struggled this season, averaging 369.5 yards per game, which is 10th in the conference.
Quarterback Cameron Ward is completing 67% of his passes for 1,617 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
The Cougars will be without their leading rusher Nakia Watson (325 yards, two touchdowns), who is out with an injury. Watson also has 148 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.
This is an opportunity for the Beavers’ defense to hold Washington State’s offense in check.
It’ll be critical that Oregon State’s offense doesn’t turn the ball over.
The Beavers need just two wins to become bowl eligible, and if they win this game and next week against 0-5 Colorado, then they’ll accomplish that before their bye week.
About the game
Who: Oregon State vs. Washington State
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Reser Stadium, Corvallis
Records: Oregon State (4-2); Washington State (4-2)
Line: Oregon State by 3
TV: Pac-12 Network
Prediction: Oregon State 24, Washington State 17