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Washington Huskies vs. Oregon State Beavers Preview and Prediction

Author:
Chris Petersen

Chris Petersen

Bowl eligibility is on the line for Washington when it travels to Oregon State on Saturday. The Huskies need to win both of their final two games to qualify for a bowl game for a sixth consecutive season. Head coach Chris Petersen's team has lost four of its last five games, so completing that task might be easier said than done.

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The Beavers, on the other hand, are desperate to get a positive result over the next two weeks to avoid going without a Pac-12 victory in a season for the first time since 1997. It won't be easy. Oregon State has lost three straight to Washington and four of five to the Huskies.

This marks the 100th meeting between the two rivals. Washington leads 61-34-4 in the series dating back to 1897.

Washington at Oregon State

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV: Pac 12 Networks

Spread: Washington -16 

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Three Things to Watch

1. Triple threat

One of the brightest spots for first-year head coach Gary Andersen and the Oregon State offense this season is junior receiver Victor Bolden. He has set himself apart as a threat to do everything from catching deep passes to breaking off long distance returns. Bolden leads the Beavers in all-purpose yardage with 928 yards through 10 games. He is the co-leader in receptions (38) with sophomore receiver Jordan Villamin and is second in receiving yardage (366 yards). Bolden has also totaled 392 yards and a touchdown on 14 kickoff returns in the last five games.

2. Records within reach

Myles Gaskin has had one of the best ever freshman seasons of any Washington player. It can get a little more special for the running back over the team's final two regular season games. Gaskin needs just 144 yards to reach 1,000 rushing yards this season. He is just 258 yards away from eclipsing the freshman rushing record of 1,113 yards held by former Huskies RB Chris Polk. Gaskin notched his fifth 100-yard game of the season last week, piling up 108 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries against Arizona State.

3. Statistical mismatch

Facing a tough defense like Washington is not good news for a struggling Oregon State offense. The Huskies lead the Pac-12 in scoring defense (19.6 ppg) and red zone defense (79.4 percent). Washington is also second in total defense, allowing 362.3 yards per contest. The Beavers are last in the Pac-12 in many key offensive categories, including scoring offense (17.9 ppg), total offense (335.8 ypg), passing offense (160.2 ypg) and passing efficiency (97.1).

Final Analysis

Washington desperately needs a victory to avoid missing a bowl game for the first time since 2009. The Huskies have the right opponent to help them get back on a winning track. Oregon State has struggled on both sides of the ball because of inexperience and injuries. The Beavers will struggle to move the ball against Washington and the Huskies will get new life going into the Apple Cup next week.

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Prediction: Washington 35, Oregon State 10

— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.