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Oregon State Football: Three Storylines Heading Into Saturday’s Game At California

Can the Beavers knock off the Golden Bears in Berkeley on Saturday?

NCAA Football: California at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Can Someone Carry The Offensive Load?

Oregon State struggled offensively against Stanford, mostly due to consistently losing the line of scrimmage, as the Beavers just couldn’t contain the multitude of schemes and talent that the Cardinal lined up in their front-seven. However, that was to be expected against a top-twenty team in Stanford that never fails to not make their stand on the defensive side of things. That shouldn’t be the same case for the Beavers against California.

The Golden Bears may have a former defensive coordinator as their head coach in Justin Wilcox but it’s been a slow transition for California to adjust to being a program that takes pride in stopping their opponents. In Year One of the Wilcox era, there’s been a lot more than shootouts than grinders. What that means for Oregon State is that the door is open for someone on the roster to have a breakout performance on Saturday in Berkeley. Since quarterback Darell Garretson had solidified his style of play as mostly a game-manager, maybe the running tandem of Ryan Nall and Thomas Tyner finally have their signature performance of the season.

Interim Head Coach Cory Hall: Part Three

Part one was a hard-fought loss against Colorado. Part two was almost the biggest Beavers win in the past few seasons. But part three of the Cory Hall era in Corvallis now brings a new challenge to the table. After two near misses on their home field, can Oregon State rally themselves again to win the energy battle in a clash on the road against California? Or will the Beavers fall short of their goal once again, with the chances to snag another win this season running out?

NCAA Football: Colorado at Oregon State
If nothing else, interim head coach Cory Hall has certainly re-energized the Beavers.
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

The staff here at BTD all gave their opinions on what should be done with Hall long-term, but in the short-term, the question does linger of what a statement win could do for Hall’s chances to secure the position going forward. Does a road win in conference prove that he’s the man for the job? Will he need to win the Civil War too? Or will just Hall’s continuing proof of the program’s improvement (and maybe a player’s petition backing him signed by the players) be enough to let the former cornerbacks coach stay on for a little bit longer? After Saturday night’s showdown at California, we’ll have a much clearer picture of that answer.

Good California Or Bad California?

It’s probably the same question that California head coach Justin Wilcox is asking himself this week, as the Golden Bears have been a very hit-or-miss unit all-season long. At times, California look like they’ve bought into a complete culture change under Wilcox, like for instance in their 37-3 thrashing of Washington State three weeks ago, when they potentially derailed the Cougars championship contending season. That’s the squad that Wilcox will be hoping shows up on Saturday.

What team may show up instead is the unit that has been rearing it’s head as of late, which looks more like a team that Oregon State could actually defeat and less like a program who can take on some of the country’s best competition. In their last outing on the road at Colorado, California looked to have an emotional hangover from their double-overtime loss to Arizona and couldn’t find ways to contain the Buffs stall-prone offense. Heading into Saturday, the Golden Bears have lost fix of their last six contests, meaning there’s no reason for Beaver Nation not to believe that the door of opportunity is very open for Oregon State.