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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Around the Country: Week 7

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Photo by Ishika Samant

Freshman WR Raymond Cottrell (11) anf graduate LB Sam Mathews (12) help graduate LB Ainias Smith (0) up after his run during Texas A&M’s game against Alabama on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

No. 18 UCLA @ No. 15 Oregon State
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Reser Stadium – Corvallis, Oregon
7 p.m. on FOX
After falling out of the AP Top 25 after a 14-7 loss to Utah in Week 4, UCLA finds itself ranked in the top 20 after a 25-17 win over No. 13 Washington State this past weekend.
The Bruins are led by true freshman quarterback Dante Moore. The former five-star has thrown for 1,139 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions so far this season.
UCLA’s backfield is led by the running back pair of junior Carson Steele and sophomore TJ Harden. Steele has recorded 412 yards rushing and two touchdowns while Harden has added 286 yards and two touchdowns.
Leading the way for Oregon State is junior quarterback DJ Uiagalelei. Uiagalelei has thrown for 1,307 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. The former Clemson Tiger has the Beavers at 5-1 halfway through the season.
Similar to UCLA, Oregon State has two running backs who see regular action. Sophomore Damien Martinez has run for 586 yards and three touchdowns on 90 carries this season. Senior Deshaun Fenwick ran for 330 yards and four touchdowns on 58 carries.
The game will come down to UCLA’s defense or the home field advantage for the Beavers.
Both teams are currently averaging about 450 total yards on offense, but UCLA is giving up 75 yards less than Oregon State on defense. The Bruins also forced four turnovers in the win against Washington State.
Although UCLA has the defensive edge, a hostile road environment can be tough on a young player like Moore. The last time Moore was on the road was UCLA’s lone loss to Utah, where Moore completed just 43% of his passes.
Expect a close game with Oregon State coming out on top.
Prediction: Oregon State 34, UCLA 31
Liberty @ Jacksonville State
Tuesday, Oct. 10 — Burgess-Snow Field — Jacksonville, Alabama
6:30 p.m. on CBS
Yes, this game is on Tuesday. Yes, Rich Rodriguez is still coaching. Yes, this is that Liberty you’ve read about thanks to Hugh[ey] Freeze and the news. And yes, these teams are a combined 10-1 — making this a surprisingly exciting weeknight matchup you absolutely should watch instead of finishing that homework you know you have due.
Almost 17 years after turning down the head coaching job at Alabama, Rich Rod is back in the state as skipper of the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. It sounds like one last hurrah until retirement — until one realizes he is 14-3 in his second year at the helm and 5-1 this season, all while Jax State makes the jump from FCS to FBS play.
The Gamecocks’ success is largely due to the up-tempo offense Rodriguez installed. Jax State has nearly the fastest offense in the country and is averaging a healthy 369 yards and 30.5 points per game, all while rotating a pair of quarterbacks in junior Logan Smothers and senior Zion Webb, who are nearly even in terms of total passing yards.
On the other sideline, Liberty has an offense to be reckoned with as well. Flames head coach Jamey Chadwell has installed the spread option hybrid offense that helped him lead Coastal Carolina to national prominence, and it’s working to perfection in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Sophomore quarterback Kaidon Salter is arguably the best quarterback in Conference USA, throwing for 1,176 yards and 12 touchdowns with a mere two interceptions while rushing for another 306 yards and six touchdowns. His performance has Liberty averaging over 490 yards a game as the Flames rank 11th in the country in that category.
Defensively, both teams have had an up-and-down year. But both have played Sam Houston State in their past two games, and the Gamecocks conceded 28 in a game that did end up in overtime while the Flames held the Bearkats to 16.
But the way these teams’ seasons have gone and the way weeknight games usually go, logic and analytics can be thrown out the window. There will be chaos, multiple turnovers and this will somehow still be a high-scoring shootout and an upset, as Jacksonville State rides the home crowd to a victory over the favorites in the C-USA.
Prediction: Jacksonville State 38, Liberty 33
No. 8 Oregon @ No. 7 Washington
Saturday, Oct. 14 — Husky Stadium — Seattle
2:30 p.m. on ABC
The esteemed Oregon-Washington rivalry, known as the Border War or the Cascade Clash, is back for its yearly matchup. The game boasts two undefeated teams and with the top two offenses in the country in play, it’ll surely be a shoot-out.
In one corner, the Washington Huskies have been led by senior quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who’s been one of the top Heisman candidates. He’s been the main reason why the Huskies’ offense is number one in yards per game, with numbers like 1,999 passing yards and 16 touchdowns to only two interceptions.
In the other corner are the visiting Ducks. They boast strong numbers as well, being second in the country in points per game. That’s easy to do when they have senior quarterback Bo Nix. The Auburn transfer has had a career resurgence in Oregon and this season has been no different, efficiently throwing for 15 touchdowns and giving away the ball just once through five weeks.
It’ll come down to which offense will falter first and which defense can hold up. Oregon has the advantage coming into the game, as the Ducks have the sixth-best defense in points per game. Despite the Huskies being undefeated, their defense has faltered to the likes of California and Arizona.
Washington has had Oregon’s number in the series and won the rivalry last year, but with Nix at the helm and a strong Duck defense, Oregon has a shot to get back in the win column.
Prediction: Oregon 45, Washington 42

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About the Contributors
Ian Curtis
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter
Ian Curtis is a journalism freshman from College Station, Texas. Ian has written about football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, hockey, gymnastics, volleyball and more for The Battalion. Ian's work has also appeared in The Bryan-College Station Eagle and over the airwaves on WTAW and BCSball.com. 
Justin Chen
Justin Chen, Sports Writer
Justin Chen is a journalism senior minoring in sport management and communication. Justin has covered football, men's basketball, volleyball, baseball and swim & dive. Justin also writes feature NBA pieces and covered the Miami Heat for Sir Charles In Charge. When not writing, he likes to frequent the gym, support Arsenal and watch anime.
Eli Meschko
Eli Meschko, Sports Writer
Eli Meschko is a journalism senior from Boerne, Texas, and is minoring in communication and sports management. Eli has covered football, men's basketball, baseball, softball, hockey and track & field. Eli also writes for Dave Campbell's Texas Football as an intern. After graduation, Eli plans on pursuing a career in sports media or public relations.
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