The Oregon State Beavers are off to face the Colorado Buffaloes after a painful loss to California. The Beavers never seemed to show up and did not play as they have played throughout the season. I do not expect a repeat performance of what we saw last week. Colorado is a better team than Cal but expect a closer game this week. The Beavers are in a rebuilding year under Coach Smith and are struggling to find their identity. If they hope to go into Boulder and rock the Buffaloes this is what they will have to do.
Key One: The Elevation
The elevation is Colorado’s biggest ally on the field. There is no way for the Beavers to prepare for the elevation but they will have to be prepared. The veterans on this team have experienced it and paired with the cold weather, it will not be easy to breathe. Colorado will be more used to this but it will still impact their play. This will tire out both teams, but it is important for the Beavers to be mentally tough and wear down Colorado. This should open up the run game for the Beavers and allow their very talented backfield to fill the stat sheet. This Beaver team is much better conditioned than teams of the past and should be able to hang with this Colorado team.
Key 2: Establish a run game
With the health of the Beaver quarterbacks up in the air, it is important to be able to run the ball and stay ahead of the sticks. If the Beavers can’t run the ball and get stuck in third and long situations, they will be in for a long day in Colorado. Artavis Pierce and Jermar Jefferson are arguably the most talented pair of running backs in the Pac-12 and have shown their abilities this season. AP is coming off an injury and looks to get back in rhythm and should be continually fed the ball. Jefferson has shown the magic can do with the ball in his hands. The Beavers strength is running the ball and they need to capitalize on this. Coach Michalczik, the O-Line coach for the Beavers, is known for his expertise in the run game as he has coached teams to Pac-12 rushing records. The Beavers need to not over complicate their offense, run the ball.
Key 3: Keep up the pressure
It has happened time and time again that the Beavers start off looking good and when they are about to hit their stride, they make one mistake, then fall apart. The Beavers have shown they have a high powered offense capable of scoring every time they touch the ball. They will need to keep scoring if they hope to win games. The Beavers defense is simply not good enough to shut a team down and win a kicking battle. The Beavers need to score and need to score often. They need to set up the run and wear down the Colorado defense. If they can at least get first downs to start and keep their defense on the field, they will begin to wear down. As they wear down, running the ball will only get easier. With constant pressure on the Colorado defense, it will pressure their offense to try and keep scoring. With a couple stops for the Beaver defense, the Beavers can bury this Colorado team.
This is a very talented Colorado team that has shown they are competitors. This will be a tough game for the Beavers but is still winnable. If this team puts it together they can compete with anyone in the Pac-12. They have shown flashes but lack consistency. The Beavers look to continue to learn and build this season and a win would do a lot for this team’s confidence.