On Saturday evening, the Oregon State Beavers (5-5, 4-3 Pac-12) can qualify for their first bowl game since 2013. But they're playing a team with the same overall record, Washington State (5-5, 2-4 Pac-12) who also wants to guarantee themselves a 13th game.
Here are things to know ahead of the game.
WINNER GOES BOWLING
The Beavers have surpassed all expectations and find themselves 5-5 and needing one win to be bowl eligible for the first time since 2013. It would be the program's first winning conference mark since 2012. However, the Cougars have the same record. How hungry are the Cougs for a bowl game? RB Max Borghi guaranteed a win over the Beavers last week. Looks like it'll be settled on the field.
The Beavers have not lost a road Pac-12 game this season. They're riding a three-game road winning streak heading into the contest in Pullman. Oregon State hasn't won four away games since 2013 and looks to match that record today.
TURNAROUND BY THE BEAVS
When the season began, it looked like the team was more of the same. Losing to Oklahoma State was understandable but the loss at Hawai'i was ugly. But the Beavers have turned it around to the extent that a bowl is possible. OSU joins Florida International, Liberty, Tennessee, and Miami (Fla.) as the only teams in the country to start 0-2 and have 5-plus wins.
LOCAL KID A NATIONAL PERFORMER
Senior long snapper Keegan Firth is a semifinalist for the inaugural Mannelly Award, presented to the nation's top long snapper. He grew up in Corvallis and spent time at scout team linebacker his first season and a half before moving to long snapping full-time. He looks to try out for the NFL after the season ends.
RASHED HAS REAL ESTATE BEHIND THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE
Hamilcar Rashed Jr. leads the nation for tackles-for-loss with 22.5 and sacks at 14 – both are school records. His improvement has been instrumental in the progression of the much maligned Beavers defense. 16 of his 22.5 TFLs are in the Beavers' victories showing off how important his play is to winning.
Isaiah Hodgins is a monster. His 1,021 receiving yards is good for second in the Pac-12 and seventh nationally. He is second at OSU for single season touchdowns with 13, three behind Rams WR Brandin Cooks. This past week Hodgins was named a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's most prolific wide receiver. His connection with his quarterback Jake Luton has accounted for 17 career touchdown passes – six short of the OSU record of Sean Mannion-Brandin Cooks.
RBs Artavis Pierce and Jermar Jefferson have a legitimate chance to be the first two teammates with 2,000-plus career rushing yards at Oregon State. Pierce has 2,045 yards and Jefferson needs 148 to reach the milestone.
YOUNG FELLA STEPPING UP
Omar Speights has 57 tackles for the year, first in the Pac-12 and third nationally among all freshmen. His 18 tackles vs. Washington is the most tackles by a freshman in a game so far this season among all teams.
BEAVS OFFENSE TAKES CARE OF BUSINESS
The Oregon State offense has played quite well this season. In the second year under offensive coach Jonathan Smith, OSU leads the Pac-12 for red zone scoring at 91.2 percent. The team has scored touchdowns 85.3 percent of the time entering the red zone which leads the nation.
The Beavers also limit their mistakes so much that they lead the nation with committing just four turnovers. They didn't even lose a fumble until last week against the Sun Devils when Pierce lost the ball in the third quarter. Those four turnovers have led to just seven opponent points as compared to last year when turnovers cost the team 69 points.
DEFENSE STEPPING UP
We all know how great Hamilcar Rashed Jr. has played, but the entire defense has improved. That side of the ball has a Pac-12 leading 72 tackles-for-loss this season, good for 13th in the country. The 72 number represents more than the last four Beaver teams had for the season. The defense has 29 sacks, third in the Pac-12 – three shy of league-leader Oregon.
Oregon State vs Washington State: 10 Things to Know originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest