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Oregon St. Takes On Stanford In Pac-12 North Elimination Game Down On The Farm

It's time to cheer for the Beavers again!
It's time to cheer for the Beavers again!
(Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

Oregon St. (4-2, 1-2) at Stanford (4-3, 2-2) / Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto CA / 12:30 PM PDT / ESPN2 / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM

Game Notes / Stanford Game Notes

Oregon St. starts the second half of their season with their next to last road trip, a visit to the Farm, for Homecoming at Stanford.

Both teams come in off a loss last weekend. As a result, the game, which was originally slated for a split national ABC/ESPN broadcast, will now be the afternoon ESPN2 game.

Oregon St. dropped a back and forth double overtime contest last Thursday, losing to Utah 29-23, while Stanford fell behind at Arizona St. 14-0 in the first half, and never recovered offensively, losing to the same Sun/Darkness Devils they thumped twice last season, including in the Pac-12 Championship game, played on the same field in Tempe.

Stanford has won the last 4 games in the series, and 5 of the last 6 games, though Oregon St. essentially gift wrapped and gave away 3 of those games, including last year's 20-12 Stanford win, after Oregon St. was stopped 4 times at the goal line in Reser. This after opting not to take points in multiple scoring opportunities earlier in the game.

2 years ago, the last time Oregon St. visited Palo Alto, the Beavers were in position to upset the eventual Pac-12 Champions when Cody Vaz dropped the ball, opening the door for the Cardinal to rally for the game winning touchdown on a short field, and escape with a 27-23 win.

Overall, Stanford leads the series, which dates back to 1919, 52-25-3.

It's bound to be a low scoring game, given that the conference's 2 lowest scoring offenses are involved, and so too are the defenses with the 2 lowest yards per game allowed, and the 2 teams that are 1 and 2 in the Pac-12 in total defense. Which makes the line that has hovered around 2 touchdowns seem excessive, regardless of whether you wear red or orange tinted glasses.

A turnover, especially if it leads directly to a score or prevents one, could easily make the difference in the game, as it has in 2 of the last 6 meetings.

Oregon St. running back Storm Woods remains questionable for the contest, after bruising his knee last week against Utah, even though he practiced fully Wednesday and Thursday. It will be a surprise if Woods doesn't play, but it will also be a surprise if he plays 4 quarters without wearing down against the bruising Stanford defense. Expect to see Chris Brown in support of Terron Ward and Woods in the Beaver backfield today.

Both teams will see a change at WR, as Stanford gets Devon Cajuste back, while Oregon St. must replace replace Richard Mullaney, who will miss at least the rest of the regular season after injuring his elbow against Utah, with Jordan Villamin.

The changes at the receiver position for the Beavers could affect whether a conference record is broken this afternoon. Oregon St.'s Sean Mannion needs 316 passing yards to pass USC's Matt Barkley to become the all-time leading passer in the history of the Pac-12. Considering the Cardinal defense, and the season averages to date (Mannion is averaging 262 2/3 yards per game this year), the odds are the record will fall next week at Reser, in Oregon St.'s homecoming against California. But a breakthrough that breaks the record could also be the breakthrough of the Stanford defense that produces a win for the Beavers.

BuildingTheDam will be at the game, and be back afterwards with coverage and analysis.