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Oregon State vs. Stanford: Preview/Prediction

Oregon State will be tasked with finding a way to stop RB Christian McCaffery

The 102nd Rose Bowl Game - Iowa v Stanford Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Oregon State Beavers will travel to Palo Alto on Oct. 29th to take on the Stanford Cardinals. They will almost certainly be huge underdogs but could they pull off one of the upsets of the year?

The Beavers will be coming off a tough home game against Washington State and Stanford is one of the toughest teams to beat at home. They have only lost 4 games on their home turf since 2011.

They are led by Heisman frontrunner, Christian McCaffery, who broke Barry Sanders’ FBS record for most all-purpose yards and set the school single game record with 243 yards against UCLA. Last year he was the runner-up for the Heisman trophy and he will cause problems for the Beavers defense who struggled to stop the run last season.

Head Coach, David Shaw, named Ryan Burns the starting quarterback today. The junior, beat out talented sophomore Keller Chryst in the competition to replace Kevin Hogan, the winningest quarterback in school history.

It’s tough to gauge how well Burns will do. He has to deal with the loss of 3 starting offensive lineman and 2 of Stanford’s top 3 wide receivers. But he will have McCaffery to lean on. Stanford averaged 37.8 points per game last year and I don’t see that dropping off too much.

Stanford’s defense last year was one of the most inexperienced in the nation, returning only 3 starters. They allowed 22.6 points per game and 368 yards per game. Which doesn’t sound bad but it was the worst defensive numbers since 2009 for the Cardinals.

This year they return 7 starters, including their star free safety, Zach Hoffpauir. Last season, Stanford dealt with injuries and a general lack of experience which led to them giving up 4.3 yards per carry. But this season, nose tackle Harrison Phillips is returning from injury and will provide a huge boost to the Cardinals defensive line. In 2014, he recorded 39 tackles and 10.5 went for loss. Their linebackers also return a lot of experience and Stanford’s defense should be a huge strength.

Stanford only suffered one home loss last season and it came at the hands of Oregon. Oregon withstood Kevin Hogan’s 304 passing yards and 2 touchdown performance. McCaffery also rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown. The game came down to a failed two point conversion, late by Stanford.

Oregon State will need Utah State transfer, Darrel Garretson and company to be firing on all cylinders to win this game. The defense led by Caleb Saulo and Treston Decoud will also need to find out a way to shut down McCaffery if the Beavers have any hope of pulling off the upset.

Prediction:

In easily their toughest road game of the 2016 campaign, the Beavers defense will be forced to switch gears from playing against Washington State’s ‘Air Raid’ offense and will have to deal with a powerful running attack. Stanford’s head coach, David Shaw, has never lost to Oregon State and he won’t this year at the Farm. Beavers hold it close for 3 quarters, but Stanford will continue to pound the rock. McCaffery will run all over the Beavers defense. And the Beavers dealing with a lack of depth will lose 35-21.