Oregon State enters this week in unfamiliar territory. According to Vegas, the Beavers are 6.5 point favorites vs Arizona (2-8 overall, 0-7 Pac-12), which is the first time the Beavers are favored to win in conference play this season. The last time the Beavers were favored in a conference game was October 24, 2015 vs Colorado in Corvallis (The Beavers lost that game, 13-17) Currently, the Beavers are on a 5 game losing streak. Their last victory was the classic overtime victory over Cal on October 8th. Arizona, however, is currently winless in Pac-12 play this season. Arizona is determined to get their first conference win in Corvallis. The Wildcats return to Corvallis for the first time since 2011 (a 37-27 Beav. victory)! Last season, Arizona dominated the Beavers 40-7 in Tucson. Will the Beavers avenge their loss from last season, or will Arizona breakthrough against the Beavers? Here’s what the Beavers need to work on as they prepare for the Wildcats.
The Beaver Offense has struggled all season. After a near perfect Offensive performance during the first half of the Washington State game, Beaver Nation was hopeful that the Offense finally had turned the corner. The Beavers Offense has struggled since that 1st half against Washington State. The Beaver Offense couldn’t do much against UCLA, even though they were aided by a great punt return by Rahmel Dockery and three UCLA turnovers. The good news for the Beavers is that they return home to Reser Stadium. Oregon State’s Offensive stats are more desirable at home than on the road. Oregon State averages 377.6 yards of total offense at home, which is compared to a 280.8 average total offensive yards on the road. RB Ryan Nall took some reps this week with the Offense, but he is listed as questionable. The Beavers hope playing in the friendly confines of Reser Stadium will give the Offense a boost.
Eliminate Silly Penalties
During each of their last three games, Oregon State has had over 100 yards in penalties. Penalties played a hand in all three loses. These careless penalties crushed momentum, ruined scoring opportunities, and aided their opponents in scores. Coach Gary Andersen stressed the importance of cutting down penalties and becoming more disciplined.
Slow Down the Opponent’s Running Game
The Stanford Cardinal rushed for 365 total yards against the Beavers. UCLA, ranked last in the Pac-12 in rushing offense, averaged 5.6 yards per carry, which is higher than their 2.9 average yards per carry this season. The Bottom Line is the Beavers need to improve on stopping the run, period. Surprisingly, Arizona is ranked second in the Pac-12 in rushing offense. They average 214.7 yards per game, and 5.1 yards per carry. Here’s an interesting stat. QB Brandon Dawkins leads the Wildcats in rushing with 673 yards, which is 353 more yards than the Wildcats second leading rusher, RB Nick Wilson! It’s also interesting that Zona’s Head Coach Rich Rodriguez is considering former starter QB Anu Solomon to start against the Beavs. Look for Arizona to run the ball quite frequently against Oregon State.
Don’t Get Cocky!
The Beavers deserve some credit for finally being favored in a Pac-12 game this season, especially for a Beaver team that was predicted last in the conference. Yes, Arizona has struggled mightily this season, but it also demonstrates slight progress for this Beaver football team. However, being favored doesn’t guarantee victory. (Duh!). If the Beavers want to win the game, they need to earn it. They cannot underestimate this particular Arizona team. In addition, they can’t overlook Arizona to start thinking about the upcoming Civil War. The Beavers need to continue to play hard, play disciplined, and execute the game plan this Saturday. Will the Beavers get conference win number 2 or, will Arizona shock a Dad’s Weekend crowd and get their first conference win of the season?