Oregon State welcomes San Diego State to Corvallis this Saturday for the final tuneup before a Pac-12 season starts with games against two top 25 opponents. The Beavers are significant favorites in this game as they have been in the prior two and will look to press that advantage as quickly as they did against UC Davis. The Aztecs do have impact playmakers that will give the Beavers the challenge that OSU needs before heading up to Pullman next week.
Beavers on Offense
It’s another week and another game where Oregon State comes in with a decisive advantage at the line of scrimmage. Only two of San Diego State’s front seven are ranked in the top 300 at their position by Pro Football Focus (PFF), and they have given up 63 points in their last two games.
Interior QB #5 DJ Uiagalelei vs ILB #6 Zyrus Fiaseu
Fiaseu was a standout in the Aztecs’ losing effort against UCLA last week, generating a 95.5 PFF pass rush grade against UCLA. He is a solid coverage linebacker as well although tackling is an issue (3 missed tackles in 3 games this year). The Beaver’s offense is built to put stress on linebackers through mixing an effective running game and play action passes over the middle of the field. Fiaseu will be right in the middle of that dillema and one of the primary reads Uiagalelei will have to make when pushing the ball downfield.
WR #7 Silas Bolden vs CB #10 Noah Tumblin
The senior Tumblin started the year as the Aztec’s third cornerback but has been their most effective option at the position so far this year. He given up only 9 receptions on 16 targets, with 4 pass breakups and an interception lining up predominantly on the right side of the defense. The Beavers do a lot of matching up wide recievers rather than leaving them in one spot, but Bolden will have his time with Tumblin who will provide a good test ahead of the Pac-12 season.
Beavers on Defense
San Diego State brings a balanced offense that passes and runs at even rates. QB Jalen Mayden isn’t afraid to scramble and leads the team in rushing yards followed by a three-headed running back committee. The passing game is driven by short passes, and the Aztecs have not had much success pushing the ball down the field in the passing game.
FS #0 Akili Arnold vs TE #81 Mark Redman
Redman leads the Aztecs with 12 receptions and is tied with WR Mekhi Shaw for the team lead in targets with 16. He has not dropped a pass in three games this season, and will line up in the slot as much as he does attached to the line. Oregon State’s pass rush will need to contend with the combination of Redman over the middle and Mayden’s scrambling ability in this game, which they did sucessfully in the season opener against San Jose State. A combination of Arnold, Easton Mascarenas-Arnold, and Ryan Cooper Jr. will have coverage responsibilities over the middle and can shut down the San Diego State passing game.
DT #95 Joe Golden vs LG #60 Cade Bennett
One thing that stood out in Oregon State’s game against UC Davis was how disruptive the interior of the defensive line was on plays the Aggies were trying to take to the outside. With 41% of SDSU’s runs (and 44% of their rushing yards) coming from runs outside the tackles, the Beavers D-line will have another opportunity to show this part of their game. Bennett and C Ross Ulugalu-Maseuli are two of the better run blockers on the Aztec line and will be the challenge for Golden and the rest of the rotation to take on.