Oregon wraps up their home schedule today, and says goodbye to the programs' seniors. Storm Barrs-Woods, Kyle Peko, Josh Mitchell, Kellen Clute, Jaswha James, Lavonte Barnett, and Naji Patrick have seen a lot in their stay at Oregon State. Larry Scott and Jalen Grimble would love to take the field at Reser one last time, though that's unlikely.
Woods even commented this week on how much it means to always be able to call Reser Stadium home.
It was a reminder of what it can mean, even in a rough stretch that hasn't seen the number of wins anyone had hoped for, not to mention post-season rewards, to be a part of Beaver football, and Beaver Nation.
Beaver fans will get a chance to say thanks, and see you later, hopefully frequently.
Breaking the current 7 game losing streak, or a 3 game skid against the hostile Huskies, won't be as easy though, given the injury list that's really begun to grow to sizable size in recent weeks. And with their own post-season hopes still hanging in the balance, Washington will be well motivated to continue to dominate the series.
Since the solid effort in Salt Lake City, things have really gone downhill in the last 2 games. Perhaps is was a bear thing, it was Bruins (UCLA) and surprisingly Golden Bears (California) that ripped our poor Beavers to shreds.
And since Coach Riley is off having his own dramatic season in Lincoln, the uncanny hold that Washington has had on Oregon State recently might not still apply, as Coach Andersen shouldn't have the same inherent penchant for particularly poor coaching against the Huskies.
But I'm having a hard time seeing how it won't, having sat through as miserable 2 game stretch the last 2 weeks as I can remember in a long time, perhaps at any point in the post-Pettibone era, the last time prospects have been so poor. Miserable mostly because you got the feeling earlier than later that no amount of effort, coaching, or fan/band support was really going to make any difference, which is the one thing worse than the cold rain at the UCLA game, or the late night chill in Berkeley. Miserable because you felt helpless, and you weren't alone in that realization.
One reason Coach Riley kept things going as well as he did for as long as he did were the miracles that he pulled off at times like this. There was one just a year ago; remember the Arizona State game?
This week and next are opportunities for Coach Andersen to show if he has any Riley-esque magic in his bag of tricks.
Fortunately, the Huskies' wide receivers haven't demonstrated the ability to make the big play, Jake Browning isn't a game breaking mobile quarterback, and the Washington o-line has struggled mightily all season, so its possible that the score won't get so far out of hand that it once again guts the Beavers' game plan.
But Washington does run the ball well, and so the key to the game will be whether the Oregon State defense, that will run a 3-3-5 against a running team, mostly due to where the remaining players are left at on the field, can contain Myles Gaskin and Dwayne Washington. If the Beaver can make Browning beat them, he might not be able to do so as well as Anu Solomon, Luke Falk, Travis Wilson, Josh Rosen, and Jared Goff have been.
Some 3 and outs and some picks might just keep it a game. If there aren't many of either, its going to be hard for any team to win, which means this team essentially can't.
Beaver Believer Believes:
Another game, another team with more talent than the Beavers, but that is most everybody in the Pac-12. Even a beatdown UW team has enough guns on defense to severely limit a beaten and weathered OSU offense.
Sounds like Nick Mitchell will be playing so the Beavers can at least keep from reaching deeper into non-existent depth there. The Husky defense will likely stifle OSU anyways though, as their defensive front is stout. A spark is needed, and that spark may come in the form of Paul Lucas. The speedy true freshman showed nicely for against California last weekend and as long as he stays healthy he will be fun to watch. I can't imagine he will be enough to get the Beavers over 17 points on the day though.
Defensively the Beavers need to win up front as they do every week, but they are still missing the horses to do it. Peko and Grimble are the two guys who can make a difference but Grimble keeps getting hurt and Peko has been neutralized by double teams and solid play across from him. If they can't at least keep the Husky offense at the LOS then it's going to be tough. The UW offense looked okay on the ground last week, and I expect them to focus their attack there.
It's going to be a long slug-out fight between two poor offenses. 23-17 Huskies.
RWell we are coming down to it, only two more games left to go in what has been a challenging, to say the least, Oregon State football season.
Honestly what more is there really to say at this time? Not sure there is a lot, but let's briefly look at some things I would like to see out of this game:
1. Offense = I would like to see more what we saw in the third quarter against Cal. It looked to me that the play calling opened things up a bit, and especially in the tempo of the plays. I thought Mitchell looked actually pretty good leading the more uptempo deal, and I liked the mis-directions and multiple shifts the Beavs were employing here. I know this cannot be sustained for a full game with the current depth of the offense, but I do think more of this could keep the Huskies off balance enough that the offense could well score more points and make some noise.
2. Defense = Looks to be a pretty big time shifting around of players on the defensive side of things. Hopefully this will create a better chemistry here than we have seen in previous performances. Washington's offense is not a powerhouse one this season, and some dynamic and smart play by Oregon State's defense could go a long ways to keeping the score respectable.
3. Special Teams = Let's see some big plays here. On coverage let's see some fired up play, and maybe some turnovers, and on returns, let's give the offense some good field position and it would be fun to see a big play or two to fire things up.
In the end not sure how optimistic I am about my thoughts above happening in a positive manner, but do think at this stage of the season why not bust it open a bit?