The Beavers enter the Colorado game this Saturday as double digit underdogs. (As of Thursday, Sept. 29 Colorado is favored by 19 points). With a 3-1 start, which included a 41-38 upset over Oregon in Eugene last Saturday, Colorado has been the surprise team in the PAC 12. Since joining the PAC 12 in 2011, Colorado has really struggled. In fact, the last time Colorado went to a bowl game was 2007 when they lost to Alabama in the 2007 Independence Bowl. As a result of that loss, Colorado ended up 6-7. Their last winning season was in 2005. It seems that Colorado has finally arrived in year 4 of the Mike MacIntyre era. Watching Colorado’s program rise from the abyss, should give Beaver fans aspirations that their program will develop as well. Beaver Nation hopes that the rise of this program under the Gary Andersen era starts this Saturday against Colorado. Here’s what the Beavs need to work on this week as they prepare for Colorado.
Make Life Uncomfortable for the Colorado QB
It was evident in the first three games that the Beavers are most successful when putting pressure on the Quarterback. During the second half of the Boise game, the defense was able to get to Boise QB Brett Rypien and causing him to rush many throws. The Beaver secondary has been solid this season so any type of pressure helps. A huge part of Colorado’s success has been the running ability of both Quarterbacks. Colorado’s starter will be a game time decision. Beaver Nation knows all too well about the damage mobile QB’s have done to Oregon State in the past. The Beavers need to keep the Colorado Quarterbacks inside the tackles to help limit the options for the Buffaloes. The secondary can do their part by not giving the talented Colorado Receivers room to operate. Coach Andersen raved about the talent of the Colorado receivers in his weekly press conference. Treston DeCoud has been a force for the Beavers this season. DeCoud has the ability to shut down his side of the field. The Beaver Defense has a huge task this week. They need to play fast and be the aggressors in order to slow down this explosive Colorado offense.
Stay Focused and Composed for Four Quarters
It is crucial for the Beavers to stay highly focused against a very good Colorado team. When the Beavers looked focused and dialed-in during the 1st and 3rd quarters against Minnesota and the second half vs Boise, they looked liked a very competitive team. If the Beavers want to upset Colorado, it is essential that they are focused the entire game, especially on the road. With Colorado off to their best start since 2005 when they started at 4-1, I expect a fired up Colorado fan base to turn out in great numbers. Not only do the Beavers need to stay focused, they also need to stay composed in a hostile environment. Currently, the Beavers are 10th in penalties in the PAC 12, averaging 66.7 yards per game. Beavers need to cut their penalties if they want to give themselves a shot to pull the upset.
Offense Needs to Be Able to Keep Pace
If the Beavers want to make some noise in the PAC 12 they need to keep pace with some of the best offenses in the country. Colorado’s offense has been explosive so far this season. They have averaged 523 yards on offense per game. Against Oregon, Colorado racked up 593 total offensive yards. Expect Colorado to have success against an improving Beaver D, which means that the Beaver offense needs to sustain drives and keep the Colorado offense off the field. Darrell Garretson needs to get the ball out quickly to our receivers. Garretson needs to have a bounce back performance this week in Boulder. If not, then Coach Anderson might be tempted to bring in Conor Blount to try and spark the offense like he did in the Boise State Game.
Offensive Line Needs to Bring the Ruckus
Beaver fans learned about some great news Wednesday Evening when Coach Andersen announced that Senior co-captain Sean Harlow will be starting this Saturday vs Colorado. This is refreshing news to a team that has dealt with a significant amount of adversity on and off the field. Harlow is easily the Beavers best lineman. Beaver fans hope that Harlow’s mean streak and fire will spark this offensive line that has struggled this season. The offensive line is the key to this offense. Harlow’s return and possible shuffling on the line may yield positive results for an offense that is ranked last in the conference.