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College Football Week 4 Preview: WSU hosting No. 15 Oregon, EWU hosting Montana State and Idaho visits NAU

After a bye week in week three of the season for Eastern Washington, all three Inland Northwest Division I programs will take the field again.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Week four of the college football season is upon us! 

After a bye week in week three of the season for Eastern Washington, all three Inland Northwest Division I programs will take the field again. 

Here is a look at all three teams' matchups. 

Washington State

Credit: AP
Washington State wide receiver Donovan Ollie celebrates his touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Colorado State, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

It is a huge game for the Washington State Cougars this weekend.

No. 15 Oregon will be in Pullman as a 6.5 point favorite to hand the Cougs their first loss of the season.

Oregon did take a whoopin' at the start of the season against the reigning national champion Georgia Bulldogs in a 49-3 loss, but WSU head coach Jake Dickert said "I wouldn't judge Oregon on the Georgia game. Georgia is on another planet!" 

So, If you don't judge Oregon on that game, the Ducks have scored 111 points in the past two games against Eastern Washington and then No. 12 BYU, who they beat 41-20.

The Ducks have a high-powered offense led by former Auburn quarterback Bo Nix and he might be the happiest QB in the country. The Ducks haven't given up a sack all season! Talk about an insane stat. 

WSU's strength has been it's ability to get to the quarterback. The Cougs lead the Pac-12 with 14 sacks. It will be a battle of the two teams strengths come Saturday.

Coach Dickert believes Oregon's ability to protect Nix has been a mix of good QB play and a solid offensive line.

"Definitely a combination of, even a stat that I didn't know," said Dickert when asked about Oregon giving up zero sacks through three games. "They've been keeping him clean and I think it's a combination of how good they are and what they're trying to do offensively."

The Cougs don't plan to change their scheme dramatically to help get to Nix. 

"I don't think we let the process of what they do change us," said redshirt junior edge rusher Ron Stone Jr. "You know, there's going to be some tiny adjustments and that's just football week-by-week. We can't sit here and throw away our entire game plan to sacrifice our defensive integrity to try and get one sack. We're going to play our ball and our style of defense."

The Cougs will look to get the first sack against Oregon come Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

Eastern Washington

Credit: AP
Eastern Washington quarterback Gunner Talkington (2) passes against Oregon during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Andy Nelson)

Eastern Washington is back at it after a bye week. The Eags begin Big Sky Conference play with a big game this Saturday hosting Montana State.

Both teams are coming off losses to Pac-12 opponents in their last games. Eastern Washington lost 70-14 to No. 15 Oregon and Montana State lost 68-28 to Oregon State. 

The Bobcats, as always, like to pound the rock.

They've ran for 267 yards per game thus far. But lucky for EWU, Montana State is dealing with injuries at the running back position. The teams top four backs are all expected to not play this weekend.

So, the Bobcats will have to get creative using two quarterbacks in Tommy Mellot and Sean Chambers to power the run game, something the Eags are prepared for.

"We are going to see them run, different versions of the run and the QB added to the run game, so it's gonna be tricky," said EWU head coach Aaron Best. "They'll put together a good plan for us and I expect both quarterback to be under or at least behind center at some point in the game."

Kickoff for Eastern Washington's home game against Montana State is set for 1 p.m. at Roos Field.

Idaho

Credit: AP
Idaho head coach Jason Eck, center, runs onto the field with his team before an NCAA college football game against Washington State, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Win number one of the Jason Eck era is in the books. The Vandals routing Drake 42-14 on Saturday.

This week will be a true test as they hit the road to face Northern Arizona.

Similar to Idaho, NAU has played a tough schedule thus far facing Arizona State, Sam Houston and then No. 22 North Dakota.

The Lumberjacks have struggled to score points in that tough schedule, averaging just over 12 points a game. But, don't let the lack of scoring fool you. This is a solid team, a matchup coach Eck thinks will help him learn a lot about his Vandals.

"These are the games you find out. Because, you know, I think our first three games weren't really level playing fields either way," said Eck. "We were, on paper, a heavy favorite against Drake and the other teams on paper were heavy favorites against us (Washington State and Indiana). Now you get to more of a game that 'hey, these are two teams that are evenly matched and it's going to be who plays better on Saturday."

Idaho at Northern Arizona begins at, "surprise-surprise," 1 p.m.! All three teams are playing at the same time. You can catch that game on ESPN+.

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