The Oregon State Beavers come in off a bye week and have had two weeks to prepare for the Cal Golden Bears. Cal is coming into Corvallis hoping to get the sour taste of being blown out by UCLA last week out of their mouth. Both programs look to get back to their winning ways in a crucial conference game. If the Beavers hope to win their first conference game this is what they will need to do.
Key 1: Score First
Cal is coming off a very ugly loss to UCLA last week and their confidence is low. If the Beavers can come out and score on the opening drive it will derail any confidence that Cal had coming into the game. If the Beavers are able to score first and keep them out of the end zone they could bury Cal early. If they can jump ahead quickly and stay ahead, they should be able to coast to a victory. They will still have to keep their foot on the gas pedal and continue to try and keep the momentum on their side.
Key 2: Come out of half HOT
The Beavers have been ugly in the second half. Dating back to the Colorado State game last year. Oregon State has come out sluggish out of the locker room and gotten behind quickly. This has made close games get very out of hand, most notably the ASU game this year. During home games, it is hard to run back out when half of the stadium has left already. The fans have to stay and bring the energy to rally behind the Beavers. The Washington State game showed promise if the Beavers could put it all together in the second half.
Key 3: Play a Complete Game
This ties in with key two but the Beavers can’t seem to play a complete game mistake free. It is all too common to have one bad play throw off all the momentum and spiral out of control. Beaver fans know this all too well and can see the beginning of the end for most games. Whether it is a fumble or a big run was given up, you can see the loss of motivation from the players running out on the field. The Beavers need to learn to face adversity and keep moving on. The energy of the game constantly shifts, but the Beavers need to learn to gain it back when they have lost it.
This originally looked like a likely loss for the Beavers as Cal climbed into the top 25 at the start of the season. After the loss handed to them by Chip and company, this game looks very winnable. The Beavers need to jump on this opportunity if they hope to get a conference win, it does not get easier from here.