Oregon Football: 5 Predictions for the Ducks Game Against Washington State

Joe PenkalaCorrespondent ISeptember 26, 2012

Oregon Football: 5 Predictions for the Ducks Game Against Washington State

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    At 4-0, the Ducks and their defense silenced a lot of people last week with their 49-0 win over Arizona.

    This week, the Ducks have to travel outside of Autzen Stadium for the first time this year and are heading north to take on Washington State. 

    The Cougars have not gotten off to a great start but always appear to be dangerous. Fans have yet to see how Marcus Mariota will handle his first road test, and that is something people are concerned about.

    As the game draws closer, so does the anticipation. While waiting, here is a look at five predictions for the Ducks vs. Cougars game. 

Colt Lyerla Rushes for 50-Plus Yards

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    One of the most fascinating new sets that Chip Kelly has introduced to this offense is when he puts Bryan Bennett in at quarterback and Colt Lyerla in at running back.

    More times than not, Lyerla is getting the ball and steamrolling defenders. Look for this trend to continue against Washington State and for Lyerla to rack up over 50 yards rushing. 

The Defense Forces 2-Plus Turnovers

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    Last week, the Ducks defense was on fire and didn't allow the potent Arizona offense to put up one point. Six times the Wildcats crossed over to the red zone and all six times they left without scoring.

    This week the Ducks get their first look at Mike Leach and his offense. While the Cougars will score, the Ducks defense will force two or more turnovers and keep some distance between the two teams on the scoreboard. 

Marcus Mariota Does Not Fumble

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    The Ducks as a whole have had an issue with ball security. Marcus Mariota has had this problem as well, but look for it to come to an end this week against Washington State.

    All week Chip Kelly will be preaching about ball security, and Mariota will take that to heart by protecting the ball when running with it. 

De'Anthony Thomas Scores 3 Touchdowns

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    Last week Arizona did a very good job of allowing De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner small chunks of yards instead of huge home run plays. 

    A week after being held scoreless, Thomas has a breakout game against the Cougars. Whether it is through the air, ground or on a return, look for Thomas to find the end zone at least three times this week. 

Ducks Win

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    Despite how scary this game may have looked at the start of the year, the reality is that the Cougars are not a team that will take down the Ducks yet. Oregon has way too much speed and talent on both sides of the ball and will pull away in the second half, winning 52-24.

    Joe Penkala is a B/R National Featured Columnist who covers college football. You can contact him @joepenkala.