Kicking things off with a bang
Eastern Washington (0-0) at No. 25 Oregon State (0-0)
When: 6:00 PM ET, Saturday, August 31, 2013
Where: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Oregon
In just two weekends the Oregon State Beavers will be kicking off the 2013 football season at home against the Eastern Washington Eagles.
OSU had a great start to 2012, but eventually faded out near season’s end—when the wins mattered most. With just as much talent and depth returning in 2013, Mike Riley’s squad needs to start this season out right.
Looking towards the start of the season, here’s five things to expect from OSU’s first game of the 2013 season.
Shutting things down on defense
The Beavers were a force to reckon with on defense last year, and 2013 shouldn’t be any different.
OSU features some new faces this season, including two true freshman (JUCO transfers) up the middle. But the Beavers will also see plenty of old faces return—including the devastating Scott Crichton.
Eastern Washington will be Riley’s first chance to work his new guys out in a game situation. And facing a lower-tier team should provide quite the defensive beat down.
The Beavers are plenty deep in the receiver department, and Eastern Washington will be the perfect opportunity for them to each get a chance in a game situation.
Stat to keep in mind: last season versus Nicholls State, OSU used 13 different receivers.
Pushing the running game
OSU finally revived it’s running game last season, and the squad should take even bigger steps forward this season.
Against Eastern Washington there’s a good chance the OSU relies heavily on it’s running game to set the season’s tempo early. While Storm Woods returns to the fold as the starter, the Beavers will also be mixing in returning backup Terron Ward and redshirt freshman Chris Brown.
Coach Riley has said he’s taking the quarterback situation down to the wire, but there’s a chance we might not even have a decision by the start of the season.
Working both Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz in practice is great, but that’s nothing like real game experience. Facing the Eagles provides a great opportunity for both QBs to work with the offense against a real defense.
It’s not a given that Riley won’t have his decision made before the game, but don’t be surprised if you see multiple faces under center.
I think the biggest thing we’re going to see from Oregon State in this game is excitement.
Riley has a deep squad with some fantastic talent. There’s youth, there’s veteran leadership and there’s plenty of new faces. And in a game like this, every big play is a confidence booster for the upcoming season.
Opening the season at home against an opponent like Eastern Washington, expect the boys to have a lot of fun and provide plenty of great energy. All-in-all it should be a great start to the season.