Beavs hope to finish strong
With hopes of a Rose Bowl bid out the window, Oregon State directs their attention towards finishing strong and getting the best bowl bid possible. First up for the Beavers: the California Golden Bears.
Matchup: California vs. Oregon State (16)
Venue: Reser Stadium (Corvallis, OR)
Game Time, TV: 7:30 (PT), Pac-12 Network
Date: Saturday, November 17, 2012
Weather: 52 High, 46 Low, Rain
Team Records: California (3-8) Oregon St. (7-2)
Before last season’s loss, OSU had won four straight against Cal. The Beavers own the series over the last 10 years, going 7-3 against the Bears in that time.
Cal is on their longest losing streak in 11 years, having lost four straight.
After suffering a twisted ankle on Oregon State’s second-to-last play against Stanford, Cody Vaz was unable to practice this week. Sean Mannion will return under center in his stead.
Cal quarterback Zach Maynard is expected to sit out his second game in a row with a knee injury. The Bear’s leading receiver Keenan Allen will miss his third game in a row due to a PCL sprain.
This is Cals last game of the season. It’s the Beavers last before facing Oregon next Saturday.
What to watch: California
Can Coach Jeff Tedford save his job?
At 3-8 on the season, this is Tedford’s worse season with the Bears.
In his 11th season with Cal, Tedford is the winningest coach in team history (82 wins). However, this will be the third season in a row in which he has coached the Bears to a losing record.
Tedford’s already stated that he expects to meet with the athletic director sometime next week to discuss the future.
With their only noteworthy win of the season coming against UCLA, beating Oregon State would be a big exclamation point on the season for Cal.
What to watch: Oregon St.
Which Sean Mannion shows up?
When Mike Riley decided to start Mannion against Washington, I was fully supportive. No one expected that implosion of a game.
Since then, Mannion’s been riding backseat to Cody Vaz. And while Vaz has done a serviceable job, his extended cold patches finally caught up to him in the loss to Stanford. That, combined with an ankle injury on one of the last plays of the game, and Mannion has his job back.
So which Mannion shows up? The one who threw four picks against UW, or the one who threw for over 400 yards against Arizona?
Beav’s O vs. Bear’s D
Despite the final score, Cal did a surprisingly good job against Oregon’s offense last week.
They held the Ducks to just 24 points in the first half, and at one point were within seven points of a tie. They limited the Ducks on the ground by bringing in their corners for heavy support.
But then Oregon started throwing the ball, and Cal got completely lost.
Good thing for Oregon State.
There’s not much here that the Beavers should be afraid of. Cal gives up a lot of points per game (30.5) and a lot of yards (430.5). Oregon State struggles the most against superior pass rushes, and the Bears do not have one.
As long as Riley can keep promoting that ground game, the Beavs should have no problem moving the ball.
Bear’s O vs. Beav’s D
Like all of Jeff Tedford’s offenses, the Bears feature a dynamic running corp. They rank fourth in the Pac-12 with 182.4 rushing yards per game.
But this Cal team is not a balanced attack, with the passing game severely crippled by injuries.
Backup QB Allan Brigford was awful in last week’s start, completing just 9 of 21 passes for 113 yards with two interceptions.
That’s not good when you’re going against one of the better ground defenses in the Pac-12. As long as the Beavers can limit the running game, Cal’s passing game shouldn’t do much damage.
After a quiet start against Stanford, expect Scott Crichton to play a big role in this game. Cals o-line has struggled all season, giving up 40 sacks for 262 yards (10th in the Pac-12).
In theory this is a game that shouldn’t give OSU any problems.
Cal is not good at defending the pass, nor are they amazing at moving the ball against good rush defenses.
Despite the disappointing loss last week, Oregon State should have no issues bouncing back at home.