All week we've been talking how this Oregon team isn't the same team that got off the bus three weeks ago in Arizona, or put up wins over USC and Arizona State. Oregon's offense still remains in the Top 15 nationally in most offensive categories, but Oregon State will only face the remnants of that Top 15 offense on Saturday.
The really only way to crunch Oregon's numbers is to look at the Box score from their 16-0 loss to UCLA:
Obviously, Brady Leaf won't play, so we can set aside his column. Cody Kempt is expected to start for the Ducks. He got the most reps against UCLA. The numbers that stand out to me are Cody's 17 incompletions and 2 interceptions. Oregon State has a better defense than UCLA (by the numbers), so we can expect Cody and Justin to have some trouble completing passes, which is a big reason why the Ducks will try to get as many yards as they can on the ground:
Although Jonathan Stewart is likely to be playing wounded, the Ducks still have weapons at running back. Andre Crenshaw has played well in his time after the Jeremiah Johnson injury, and is capable of taking snaps, like we see Arkansas do with Darrell McFadden. The only other person on the box score except for the quarterbacks is Jeffery Maehl, a safety who has been helping out on offense. The Oregon coaching staff is going to try to get the Beaver D off guard as much as they can, so expect some trickery throughout the game. Although J-Stew will be wounded, he's still a huge threat.
Yes, Oregon only had three receivers catch passes on Saturday at UCLA. The biggest threats are obviously Jaison "50-50" Williams and big Ed Dickson. I would be more worried about Ed Dickson, and how our linebackers and secondary are going to treat him. We saw a big tight end like Ed at USC, Fred Davis. They're similar players in my opinion, and Oregon State held Fred Davis to 5 receptions for 31 yards. Take Ed out of the game, and we're in good shape. Jaison Williams is speedy and athletic, but his hands are suspect. He can sky over defenders to catch tough passes, but he has a knack for dropping them when he's wide open. The way Jaison plays will have a lot to do with the dimensionality of the Oregon defense. If we shut down the passing game, that's going to help our front 7 significantly in stopping the run.
As always, your thoughts are welcome.