This week's matchup could have been scary for the Oregon Ducks, which could be missing both of its stars — running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas — because the Washington State Cougars will again be without starting quarterback Jeff Tuel, who is suffering from acute compartment syndrome in his calf.
Even without James and Thomas, the Ducks have so much speed and such a good offensive system that they'd be a tough matchup for any team, let alone one who was 3-4 with its starting quarterback. While the Ducks' offense is generally unstoppable — they've scored 40 or more points in every game they've played since the opener against LSU, in which they scored 27 — and, with WSU and Washington's 105th-ranked defense coming up, the Ducks' backups should be enough to carry them through for a while.
For Washington State, the season goes from bad to worse. The Cougars are years removed from being relevant, but Tuel would have been a bright spot this year if he could have just stayed healthy. First, a clavical injury, now the ACS, and backup quarterback Marshall Lobbestael will again have to shoulder an immense load. He's been quite good, but carrying the Cougars defense, allowing 30 points per game, is too tall a task for him. Or Tuel, really.
Game date, time: 3 pm ET, Saturday, October 29
Location: Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Ore.
TV channel: FSN (Regional)
Spread: Oregon favored by 34.5
Series history: Oregon leads, 43-33
For further reading, news, discussion and more, visit Oregon blog Addicted To Quack and Washington State blog Coug Center. Here’s this week’s college football TV schedule, and stay tuned to SB Nation’s college football news hub for more.