Last Saturday, Oregon State earned their first win of the 2016 season as they defeated the Idaho State Bengals 37-7. It was the Beavers first win since they defeated San Jose State 35-21 on September 19, 2015. The Beavers face a very tough test this Saturday as the Boise State Broncos visit Reser Stadium. Boise State, ranked just outside the top 25, is off to a 2-0 start, including a home victory over Washington State, 31-28. Since 2006, Boise State is 9 and 3 against the Pac-12. The Beavers need to bring their best effort if they want an opportunity to upset the Broncos.
Cut Down On Mistakes
To Beat Boise State, the Beavers need to heavily reduce mistakes. While the Beavers had many positive plays against Idaho State, there were mistakes. Beaver Quarterback Darrell Garretson threw an interception that bounced off Xavier Hawkins’s hands, and arguably should have been caught. The Beavers had unsportsman like conduct penalties, an offsides on a Bengal third down that kept a drive alive, missed assignments upfront, and missed tackles on a 75 yard touchdown by ISU. The Beavers can’t make the same mistakes they made against Idaho State and expect to beat Boise State. The Broncos are notorious for forcing opposing teams to make errors. Many Beaver Fans painfully remember games against Boise State in 2004 and 2006 that nearly mirrored each other. Coincidentally, the Beavers had a 14 to 7 lead in both games until Boise intercepted Beaver QB Derek Anderson in 2004 and Matt Moore in 2006. Both interceptions shifted momentum to Boise State where they routed the Beavs 53-34 in 2004 and 42-14 in 2006, respectively. Boise State, in their week 2 victory against Washington State, were able to capitalize on Tyler Horton’s 85 yard interception return for touchdown that ended a Washington State drive where it looked as if the Cougars had momentum early in the game and were looking to take an early lead. The Beavers need to avoid a key giveaway or a key mistake that could give Boise St. huge momentum.
The Offense Needs to Find an Identity
Credit the Beaver Offense for capitalizing on 5 Idaho State turnovers. The Beaver offense did enough to win the game. However, there were too many stalled drives where the offensive line couldn’t get a push on the Idaho State front 7. Offensive Co-Coordinator Kevin McGiven mentioned that there were several plays where Garretson should have stayed in the pocket and trusted the protection. Plus, Garretson overthrew several long ball opportunities that were open. Against Boise, the offense needs to keep moving the football by giving the quarterback time to throw and push a strong Boise State front 7 back to open up running lanes for Ryan Nall and company. In addition, the Offense needs to keep the Boise State Offense, and their talented running back Jeremy McNichols off the field. If the Beavs can get the ground game going, it opens things up for their potential playmaking receivers. By the way, Jordan Villamin is too talented to only have 4 catches for 32 yards in two games. The Beavers need him to play up to his potential.
The Defense Needs to Continue Making Strides
Even though the Beaver Defense gave up 368 yards, they only gave up 7 points. That was enough to win the game. In addition, the Defense was able to come up with one score thanks to a 75 yard interception return for touchdown by Treston DeCoud. Plus, the defense was able to force 5 Idaho State Turnovers. Overall, the Defense played a great game. They need to bring their A-game against a strong Boise State Offense. The Beavers have a potential star in Elu Aldon. He and the rest of the Oregon State Defense need to make life difficult for a solid Bronco offensive line, and force Sophomore QB Brett Rypien into making mistakes. Also, they need to contain RB Jeremy Nichols, who rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns against Washington State.
Great Opportunity for Growth
This is a great test for this young Oregon State team. A battle with the Broncos will test the Beavers character. Boise State, ranked just outside the top 25, is a very good football team. They entered the week as 14 point favorites. The Beavers need to play much better than they did against Minnesota and Idaho State, in order to give themselves an opportunity for victory. They will need to play with toughness and composure. Most importantly, the Beavers need to execute. Fortunately they will have home field advantage, which includes the students that will be back on campus. I trust that Coach Anderson will have his young team fired up for this contest.
*Correction: Boise State is 9-3 against the Pac 12, not 6-3.