Oregon State at Boise State - 5PM PT, ABC
Gameday is finally here-- which means it's time to share our final thoughts on the game. Andy and I bring you the conversation, and we get a guest appearance from Figgi4life (Update: and RVM!), as well.
Andy: For Oregon State to be successful against Boise State, the defense is going to have to get upfield and deny the Broncos an area of comfort to operate. The Beavers actually did a pretty good job against the Louisville run, in that Bilal Powell was held to just 83 yards. The problems were that he did get some good gains on the most important plays, and that quarterback Adam Froman also had some crucial runs, whether they went as runs or sprint out passes. Kellen Moore isn't the same as TCU's Andy Dalton, as far as his tendency to run, but he will take advantage of easy chunks of yardage. And he will continually look for opportunities underneath against the Beaver secondary, especially after watching the Louisville game tape.
The number of sacks Oregon St. does or does not get isn't that important; the Beavers can be in the game, and very possibly win, without sacking Moore. But they must pressure him and his receivers. The stat that will matter will be hurries, with sacks a bonus. Austin Pettis and Titus Young are not a big concern if Moore can't get the ball to them in a catchable manner.
Jake: Not only will the defensive front need to pressure the quarterback, the secondary will have to stop up and not be beat by Pettis and Young. Cornerback James Dockery even admitted that he was beat on the pass he intercepted to seal OSU's win last week against Louisville. While you can attribute that pick to the defensive pressure, we can't expect to hurry Moore every time he drops back-- it just isn't going to happen. For that reason, Dockery and Hardin need to be able to defend Boise State's speedsters in one-on-one situations.
Andy: Offensively, turnovers, which would be a killer, probably won't be a concern. Jacquizz Rodgers doesn't fumble, and Ryan Katz, at least so far, doesn't throw interceptions. But off-target passes, and balls of receivers' hands, are. Oregon St. can't squander opportunities and hope to keep up with the Broncos, one of the best offenses in the nation, currently and over the last decade.
Jake: Yeah, the Beavers have lucked out to some extent against TCU and Louisville. Something tells me the Beavers aren't going to get all of the breaks today on the blue turf-- probably not even half of them. That means they'll need to play error free football. That means Ryan Katz needs to not only not throw interceptions, he needs to make the right reads and spread the ball around. He needs to get Halahuni and Nichols involved to keep things spread out, but he absolutely needs to get the ball to James. He hasn't been utilized enough to this point, and the Beavers need everything they can get out of #8 today.
Andy: OSU special teams will be an advantage if the Broncos make the mistake of kicking to James Rodgers. So they probably won't very often. Assuming Johnny Hekkar can limit his shanks, or ‘Quizz and Katz can limit his punts.
The recent flu outbreak, which curiously started about the time last year's did, needs to not become a diversion either.
Jake: On paper, this game is ugly. But on the field I think it will look much better. Who knows what the heck is going to happen today, but here's to it being a competitive classic that matches the hype.
Figgi4life: Boise knows that the Beavs are the last legitimate threat left on their schedule, so they'll be playing with the season on the line. That forces the Beavers to play like it's the last game they'll ever play to win. The first drive must end well for the Beavs. It's cliche, but momentum will play a huge role in this game. My "player to watch" would be Nichols, as I see a big game from him. And once again, Katz + Rodgers needs to happen. (First name intentionally omitted)
RVM: This is a game I can see going multiple different ways, and yes I think the Beavs have the talent to win this game. As we all have been talking about since the TCU game though: Does this team have the identity, swagger, and team cohesion to win a really tough game like this one? I don't know, but I think we have seen enough glimpses to think this game is indeed winnable. As with everyone, I'm concerned about the defense, but will say I don't think it needs to be any type of perfect game on their part to win this evening. Yes I personally think the defense needs to of course take a step forward, but the key really seems to be stopping the Boise State offense ENOUGH of the time to give the OSU offense more opportunities (such as more three and outs for Boise State is going to be very important). Overall the closer we have come to this game the more excited I have become, yet again a HUGE opportunity for the Oregon State football program. Let's really start this 2010 campaign tonight and finish this deal! Go Beavs!
Andy: Boise St. hasn't won 56 straight home games by accident. Regardless of strength of schedule, no one escapes a key injury or a freak play or a bad call on the day an opponent plays their best game of the year for that long without playing at a very high level. Oregon St. will need one of their best games ever to stop the streak. Hard to do with a quarterback making his third start, against one that has a 28-1 career record. Boise St. 44, Oregon St. 35. And quickly reshown on ESPNU because of how good a show it was.