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Oregon State vs. Utah: Injury Bug Bites Both Football Teams

Stormy weather? Multiple injuries? Saturday could be sloppy.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Utah Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a storm a-brewin’ in Corvallis and I’m not talking about the Beaver football team, fresh off their first Pac-12 victory since 2014. A LITERAL storm is hitting Corvallis and will continue, on Saturday. And while, its not life threatening. It will be wet, rainy and extremely windy when the Oregon State Beavers kick-off against the Utah Utes.

The conditions might not be as bad as the Notre Dame/NC State game this past Saturday, when they were basically playing in a hurricane and the only touchdown came off a special teams blunder. But, it will be miserable. At least NC State had some fun with it though.

On Saturday, winds are going to be around 25-40 mph according to AccuWeather.com. There’s also a chance of thunder/lightning. And of course there will be lots of rain, it is Oregon after all.

At first glance, this seems like a major disadvantage for Oregon State because Utah has built their identity around smash-mouth football where they control the trenches and dominate the line of scrimmage. But injuries have decimated Utah’s football team.

The Utes could be relying on their sixth-string running back this weekend. Leading rusher Armand Shyne tore his ACL and is done for the season. Zack Moss is questionable for Saturday's contest. Troy McCormick is likely out for Saturday’s game as well. Jordan Howard has been ruled out due to an unspecified injury. Opening day starter Joe Williams retired from football after encountering fumbling issues but has rejoined the program recently due to the insane number of running back injuries. Joe Williams could play on Saturday despite his month long hiatus though. But, the running back position is defintely in a state of transition for the Utes.

Another position that has been hit hard with injuries for the Utes, is their centers. They are reshuffling their offensive line after losing three different centers. Hiva Lutui went down for the season in the spring. J.J. Dielman filled in and went down against Cal. Dielman’s injury was especially damaging because he was a team captain and one of Utah’s best lineman (he was playing tackle before moving to Center). Lo Falemaka is out for the foreseeable future, so Utah used fourth-string center, Nick Nowakowski, last week against Arizona and it wasn't exactly smooth sailing, they had an exorbitant amount of false start penalties. It'll be interesting to see if Utah sticks with Nowakowski or reshuffles their offensive line even more.

The Utes are also missing key pieces, DE Kylie Fitts and TE Siale Fakailoatonga. Several other starters have missed games and are working their way back from injuries. Including leading receiver Tim Patrick, who missed last weeks game against Arizona but is expected to play against Oregon State.

The Beavers have had their fair share of injuries to deal with, as well. Both squads will have their depth tested on Saturday. Just take a look at Oregon State’s injury report.

Oregon State’s secondary is paper thin at the moment. Jay Irvine and Dwayne Williams are out for this weekend. Irvine’s injury appears to be season ending and Williams’ injury could also be serious. Meaning the secondary will do some shuffling and absolutely cannot afford to endure any more injuries.

Also, outside linebackers Titus Failauga and Shemar Smith are both out. Meaning true freshman, Joah Robinett, will get the start and a couple other freshman will probably burn their red shirts on Saturday.

On the other side of the ball Oregon State’s offensive line is finally starting to gel. Utah’s defensive line is also (mostly) healthy though and they are a load for any offensive line to handle. Hopefully, Oregon State’s retooled line will be up for the challenge.

With both football teams having to deal with injury issues, Saturday’s game could get ugly. Stormy weather and lots of new players seeing the field, almost guarantees a low-scoring, sloppy contest. But, even if it's not a typical Pac-12 shootout it should be an entertaining game that you won't want to miss.


Additional Notes:

  • Ryan Nall was out of his boot Thursday and participated in the walk-through portion of practice. He’s still questionable to play Saturday though.
  • Top junior college players Craig Evans and Keisean Nixon could be a package deal. Oregon State is in the mix for both. Nixon recently listed the Beavers as his favorite, but he’s being recruited heavily by many top schools.
  • Former Oregon State head coach, Dennis Erickson is coming back to Corvallis. And only has fond memories of his time in Corvallis.