Washington-Oregon St. Preview
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) Oregon State's Nick Mitchell was listed as probable this weekend. That's good news for the Beavers, who were short on quarterbacks heading into Saturday's game at home against Washington.
The Beavers (2-8, 0-7 Pac-12) remain without freshman Seth Collins, who showed promise earlier this season but tweaked his knee running backward in practice last month. This week, coach Gary Andersen said the Beavers had shut Collins down for the season.
''It has to do with an injury, period. I've had some people that have had a question out there. That is it. End of story, exclamation point,'' Andersen said. ''So he'll be back ready to go in January, January 4th he'll be ready to roll.''
There were concerns about Mitchell after he was knocked out of last weekend's 54-24 loss at Cal by a late hit.
Mitchell's possible absence left the Beavers with just one healthy option at quarterback, Marcus McMaryion, who was Collins' backup earlier in the season until Mitchell leapfrogged him on the depth chart.
Offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin revealed this week that junior tight end Brent VanderVeen likely would have been the backup if Mitchell was unable to go. VanderVeen had taken some snaps in practice.
Mitchell has thrown for 571 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions in four games. He faces a challenge in the Huskies, who top the conference in scoring defense and are second in total defense.
Andersen praised Washington's defense as technically and fundamentally sound, as well as athletic.
''And then they're a smart defense. Their goal is to line up and pre-snap with some confusion, but not to confuse themselves,'' Andersen said. ''That's the sign of a defense that can hold some things in their head mentally and take it from practice and then apply it onto the football field.''
The Beavers haven't gone winless in Pac-12 play since 1997. But time is running short to get a conference win, with just Washington (4-6, 2-5) and No. 23 Oregon left on the schedule.
WHAT'S AT STAKE: Washington could still sneak into the postseason with victories over Oregon State and No. 24 Washington State in the Apple Cup next week.
''We're down to two big weeks and we're not even really talking about it in terms of two big weeks,'' Washington coach Chris Petersen said. ''It's one big week for us to continue to play at a high level on defense and take the next step on offense. Really that's what we're talking about.''
Petersen, by the way, has never coaches a team that hasn't gone to a bowl.
ABOUT THAT BOWL (POSSIBLE) BERTH: The Pac-12 has contracts with seven bowl games, and already eight teams are bowl eligible. So if the Huskies make it, they might be looking at an at-large bid. And, although it's a total longshot, there are enough bowls this season that it's possible a five-win team could make the field. Two new bowl games were added this season, meaning that 80 eligible teams are needed.
HISTORY: Saturday's game will be the 100th meeting between the two teams. Washington holds a 61-34-4 advantage in the series, and is riding a three-game winning streak. The last time the Huskies visited Corvallis was in 2013 and they won 69-27, putting up the most points ever allowed by the Beavers.
UNBROKEN BROWNING: Washington freshman quarterback Jake Browning threw for 405 yards and a touchdown last weekend against Arizona State, but the Huskies had something of a second half meltdown with four turnovers - including Browning's three interceptions - and the Sun Devils won 27-17.
''I think Jake (Browning)'s doing fine,'' Petersen said. ''I think he made a couple throws that he'll learn from. He hasn't really had a lot of those.''
SEUMALO'S MOVE: Injuries have forced the Beavers to shuffle their offensive line. Junior Isaac Seumalo, widely considered an NFL prospect, moved to left tackle last week against Cal, and he's expected to start there against the Huskies.
''Isaac's going to be solid wherever we ask him to play. My hope moving forward with Isaac is that, No. 1, he decides to come back for another year and we can get him solidified in a spot that's gonna let him be one of those key anchors of what's an experienced offensive line coming back,'' Andersen said.