oregon state blog

Week 10 College football preview: Arizona St. vs. Oregon St. matchup

Can Beavs recover at home?

With dreams of a perfect season dust in the wind, the Oregon State Beavers return home to square off with the Arizona State Sun Devils in Week 10 action.

Matchup: Arizona State vs. Oregon State (11)
Venue: Reser Stadium (Corvallis, OR)
Game Time, TV: 7:30 (PST), ESPN2
Date: Saturday, November 3, 2012
Weather: 62 high, 50 low, Mostly Cloudy
Team Records: Arizona State (5-3) Oregon St. (6-1)

Game Notes

Oregon State has won three straight against Arizona State at Reser, and are 3-2 against the Sun Devils over the last five years.

In Mike Riley’s six bowl eligible seasons with the Beavers, there’s only been three occasions in which he’s lost back-to-back games with the second being played in Corvallis.

Markus Wheaton, Storm Woods and Jordan Poyer are all questionable, but Riley hasn’t ruled any of them out for Saturday.

Wheaton, who suffered a concussion against Washington, returned to practice Thursday. Poyer—has yet to return to practice—and Woods—limited in practice—are both suffering from knee injuries.

Markus Wheaton

Despite this big hit, Wheaton should return Saturday. Photo Credit: The Oregonian

Arizona State DT Will Sutton missed Saturday’s loss to UCLA, but should return Saturday. He leads the Sun Devils in sacks with 8.5.

Both defenses rank in the top two in yards allowed in the Pac-12.

Cody Vaz will start for the Beavers at quarterback.  He replaces Sean Mannion, whose four interceptions were a leading factor in the loss to Washington.

What to watch: Arizona St.

Can the Sun Devils halt their skid, while dropping a top tier team?

ASU started the season out right, going 5-1 with their lone loss coming in a close 20-24 game against Missouri. But after winning three in a row against Utah, California and Colorado, they’ve dropped their last two to Oregon and UCLA.

The Sun Devils have yet to play an elite passing team such as Oregon State. The closest they’ve come was last week against UCLA, in which the Bruins gained 274 yards through the air with four passing TDs.

While that Arizona State defense looks good on paper, it’s time for them to prove it against elite competition.

What to watch: Oregon St.

Can the Beavers finally reclaim their offensive rhythm?

Mike Riley has called a very stale offensive game over the past two weeks, and it’s certainly shown on the field.

The defense bailed the Beavers out against Utah, forcing four turnovers. Last week against Washington, OSU had over 400 yards on offense, but managed  just 17 points while being shutout in the first half.

Beav’s O vs. Devil’s D

Last week, Oregon State squared off with the No. 2 passing defense in the Pac-12. This week, they face off with No. 1.

As they say: out of the frying pan, into the fire.

But where the Sun Devils are solid against the pass, they lack up front against the run. Opponents average 174 yards on the ground against ASU, good for 80th in the FBS.

Mike Riley trusts his passing attack, and that’s good. But if we learned anything last week, it’s that you can’t just come out and sling it against secondaries as good as these.

If the Beavs want to open things up, they have to adapt and trust the run. If they can do that, it won’t take long for the passing game to open up.

That also means hanging tough up front, as Arizona State ranks first in the Pac-12 with 33 sacks on the season.

Devil’s O vs. Beav’s D

Arizona State doesn’t feature an incredibly overpowering offense, but they do a lot of things right.

Quarterback Taylor Kelly is having a fantastic year. He can hurt you in a lot of ways, with over 2000 yards passing and 260 yards rushing.

Kelly’s also very clean, with a 67.7% completion percentage and just five interceptions. He’ll need that against Oregon State’s

Cody Vaz

Vaz returns to the starter role Saturday.

elaborate secondary formations.

For the Beavers to win this, they’ll have to play very strong upfront. They can’t expect to force turnovers through the air, so their best bet is to play hard and hopefully force some fumbles.

While OSU usually struggles against multifaceted QBs, they’ve done well this season.

They took down UCLA, Arizona, BYU and Washington. And as long as they show up ready to play hard, they shouldn’t have any problem taking down Arizona State.

Prediction

Despite the difference in record, these are two very well matched teams. They both do a lot of things right on defense, while featuring well balanced passing attacks.

But with Cody Vaz back under center, the Beavs should show vast improvements over last weeks flop.

It should be an offensive bout, but Oregon State will come out 7-1.

Arizona St. 24, Oregon St. 31

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