Players to watch: Washington State passing game presents biggest matchup

Calvin Throckmorton / Tackle / Oregon Oregon freshman left tackle Penei Sewell will be out approximately six weeks after injuring his ankle against Washington last Saturday. Sewell has protected quarterback Justin Herbert’s blind side incredibly well, given he just turned 18. In his absence, right tackle Calvin Throckmorton moved across …

Calvin Throckmorton / Tackle / Oregon

Oregon freshman left tackle Penei Sewell will be out approximately six weeks after injuring his ankle against Washington last Saturday. Sewell has protected quarterback Justin Herbert’s blind side incredibly well, given he just turned 18. In his absence, right tackle Calvin Throckmorton moved across the line to left tackle and Brady Aiello entered at right tackle. Although on the opposite side of the line, Throckmorton played well against the strong Washington defense. Washington State will try to pressure the lineman playing in unfamiliar territory, but as long as Throckmorton keeps Herbert upright, his game will be successful.

Gardner Minshew II / Quarterback / Washington State

Washington State will be throwing the ball — there is no secret about it. Quarterback Gardner Minshew II leads the FBS in passing with 2,422 yards this season. He has 313 attempts in just six games and only four interceptions. The graduate transfer from East Carolina has a 68.7 completion percentage (as compared to Justin Herbert’s 63.1 completion percentage) and averages 403.7 yards through the air. Most recently, Minshew threw for 430 yards and five touchdowns against Oregon State. Oregon has surrendered 11 passing touchdowns and 239 yards per game. Because Minshew is the most prolific passer the Ducks have faced all season, both those numbers are expected to rise.

Peyton Pelluer / Linebacker / Washington State

Linebacker Peyton Pelluer has taken advantage of his sixth year of eligibility, recording 50 tackles, 4.5 for a loss, to lead the Cougars defense. Despite breaking his foot last season, Pelluer has rebounded to rank ninth in the Pac-12 in tackles. The linebacker is a classic sideline-to-sideline tackler. Oregon’s offense has relied heavily on the run this season, so Pelluer will have ample opportunity to make an impact. If left unblocked, Pelluer could make Oregon’s running game suffer.

Deommodore Lenoir / Cornerback / Oregon

Given that Washington State throws the ball 40 times a game, corners are going to have to pick their battles. Sophomore Deommodore Lenoir had an interception against Washington on the second play of the game but was not tested much more in the game. Against Washington State, the corner will have plenty of opportunities to play the pass. Lenoir and Thomas Graham Jr. will both be tested given their youth, but after getting experience last year against the Cougars, they should understand the challenges of facing a Mike Leach-led offense.

Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack


Please consider donating to the Emerald. We are an independent non-profit dedicated to supporting and educating this generation's best journalists. Your donation helps pay equipment costs, travel, payroll, and more! 
Donate