After beating USC on the road for the first time since 1960 two weeks ago, Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith told his team, “We ain’t done yet.”
That prophecy didn’t take long to come to fruition.
By defeating visiting Washington 27-24 last weekend on a 24-yard field goal by Everett Hayes as time expired, Smith was able to double-down on his statement as the Beavers took sole possession of first place in the Pacific-12 Conference’s North Division for the first time. The conference split into two divisions 11 years ago.
With a victory Saturday against Washington State (2-3, 1-2 Pac-12) in Pullman, Wash., the Beavers (4-1, 2-0) might even find themselves ranked for the first time since 2013.
“I think it adds to the belief,” Smith said of beating USC and Washington. “I think we’re a confident group that understands how hard it is to win. We’re mature and experienced enough to know we’ve got a long ways to go.
“Each win just sets you up for bigger games as the season goes.”
The Beavers defeated the Huskies despite passing for just 48 yards. B.J. Baylor rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns.
Oregon State has already beaten USC and Washington in the same season for the first time since 2006, and now aims for its first sweep of the Washington schools since 2011.
The Cougars are coming off a 21-6 victory at California as Jayden de Laura completed 25 of 41 passes for 219 yards and three TDs. Washington State limited the Golden Bears to 273 yards of total offense.
“It’s the perfect challenge that I think this team needs to see if we can compete with one of the best,” Washington State coach Nick Rolovich said of facing the Beavers. “Coming off a win, it felt like we took a step, mindset-wise.
“Now, knowing you have a good team coming in, if the defense can play with that kind of effort and tackle the way they did, the defense should have a lot of confidence.”
Washington State has won the past seven meetings with the Beavers, including a 38-28 decision in the opener of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Rolovich’s Cougars debut.
OSU also lost to Rolovich’s Hawaii team in 2019, 31-28 in Honolulu.
–Field Level Media