Oregon State goes back on the road (which has been surprisingly friendly to them) this week to face off with Cal. They’ll face another very strong defense after struggling to get anything going against a solid Utah team.
The Offense Will Perform Better
Let’s be real, the offense was not good last week, but I don’t think that takes away from the potential they have coming up against the Golden Bears. Utah’s defense was in a perfect position to dominate the Beavers the way they did last week.
For example, the rank second in the nation in opponent rushing yards per game allowing just 52.6. The good news is, Cal, although still solid in that department, ranks 72nd in the nation and is giving up 172.6 yards a game on the ground.
Oregon State’s offense relies so heavily on having a consistent running game, so not being able to get one going last week made it hard to find success.
Even though it looks like Jermar Jefferson will sit out this week to get fully healthy, I think Artavis Pierce and BJ Baylor will be able to move the ball a bit more than they did last week.
Also look for Isaiah Hodgins to be motivated for a big game, as playing in Berkley, is a bit of a homecoming for him.
The Defense Might Struggle... Sadly
Cal pretty easily has the worst offense in the Pac 12. It hasn’t helped that their starting QB Chase Garbers has been out since a weekday ASU game about a month ago. It sounds as though Garbers will continue to be sidelined for awhile which is good news for the Beavs.
Also good news for the Beavs, is backup QB for Cal, Devon Modster, has been pretty atrocious throwing the football in the two games he’s seen major action in. In a half a game against ASU and full game against Oregon, Modster has completed 23-49 passes, for 229 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions.
Those stats are not pretty, but granted, he has played two of the better defenses in the country, with Oregon being one of the best in the nation.
Because of that, don’t be fooled into thinking Cal won’t find at least some success on offense on Saturday. With this Beaver D, there’s always a chance for a QB to have a big game.
Look for Cal to pound the football on the ground early and often, but might take some deep shots when they lull the defense asleep. If Oregon State can get some pressure on Modster, this has a chance to be their best game defensively against the pass all season... I just don’t necessarily think that will happen so much.
Jordan Choukair Will Make Two Field Goals (On Two Attempts)
I haven’t necessarily been the biggest Choukair fan during his time in Corvallis, but I don’t think his problem is in mechanics, but instead, mentality. It’s pretty easy to see that Choukair gets rattled when things don’t go his way on the field, which is why I was surprised to see his comments about the kicking competition happening this week.
But I’ll say this, maybe this competition will be what he needs to finally have a mamba mentality. I expect Choukair to win the kicking battle this week and nail a couple field goals this Saturday against Cal, and here’s why:
Berkley hasn’t been the most intimidating place to play over the last couple of seasons. And with Oregon State coming in as one of the worst teams in the conference, I don’t expect there to be a ruckus crowd there for an 11:30 am kick. This benefits Choukair because I actually think he gets more nervous kicking at home due to the reaction he gets from fans when he misses field goals. On the road, he won’t have that fear, in fact, the opposing fans would cheer for a missed kick!
That component along with the fact that Oregon State’s offense might have a couple drives stalled due to Cal’s impressive red zone defense, set up Choukair for a couple of opportunities to get some momentum and confidence back in his kicking game. I reluctantly expect him to convert those opportunities this week.