Beavers return to bowl game
It’s been three long years since the Beavers have sniffed a bowl game. And though their triumphant return to college footballs’ postseason isn’t a BCS berth, this is still a huge game.
Oregon State will face off against Texas in the Alamo Bowl—that just happens to be played in Texas.
But the Beavs have been one of college football‘s best underdog stories this year. While a huge challenge awaits them, OSU has the tools to win this one.
Wheaton and Cooks combine for over 200 yards
Wheaton and Cooks accounted for 61 percent of OSU’s receiving yards this season. They combined for over 200 yards receiving in four different games this season.
The Longhorns have the 37th ranked passing defense in the FBS, giving up 213.5 yards per game.
But Texas didn’t face a ton of pass first teams this season. When they did— against Big 12 rivals Oklahoma, Baylor and Oklahoma State—its opponents’ top two receivers averaged a combined 206 yards per game. Outside of Baylor, none of those receiving duos are quite as good Wheaton and Cooks.
The dynamic duo will be in for a huge game against Texas.
Storm Woods has over 100 yards rushing
While the Longhorns were solid this season against the pass, they’ve struggled all season against the run. Texas allowed an average of 198.8 rushing yards per game, which ranks 97th in the FBS.
Storm Woods hasn’t had an amazing season, but he’s still been a huge upgrade of 2011.
The redshirt freshman was OSU’s leading rusher this season, compiling 822 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry.
But injuries have hampered Woods all season long, preventing him from fully unleashing his potential. When given extra rest, Woods has averaged 93 all purpose yards a game.
And Woods will come into the Alamo Bowl with plenty of extra rest. Not to mention the emergence of Terron Ward whose helped balance the load.
With a refreshed attack Oregon State should have no issues piling up the yards against Texas.
The Longhorns are held under 100 yards rushing
Texas has moved the ball relatively well on the ground this season. They Longhorns average 176 rushing yards per game, good for 38th in the FBS.
But they’ll be squaring off with the Beavers 28th ranked rushing defense, which allows 130.5 rushing yards per game.
It became apparent that the front guys got tired as the season wore on, and OSU gave up more and more yards on the ground. But now they’ll be well rested and prepared.
The last time Oregon State had this much time to prepare for a game, they limited Wisconsin to a mere 35 yards rushing on 23 carries.
Scott Crichton adds to his sack total
If any player could use the added rest, it’s going to be defensive lineman Scott Crichton.
Crichton was Oregon State’s most explosive player this season, notching a team leading nine sacks. But Crichton became less effective down the stretch, register zero sacks in the Beavers’ last four games—he had six in their first four.
With added rest—and the first time to show off his skills in a bowl game—expect Crichton to come out swinging for the quarterback.
Jordan Poyer and Markus Wheaton go out in style
Wheaton has been a catalyst on offense in 2012, leading the Beavers in catches, receiving yards, all-purpose yards and touchdowns (11 receiving, two rushing).
Poyer has stabilized a young secondary, leading the team in interceptions for the second season in a row. He also has 45 tackles (four for loss) and 14 passes defended.
Both players have had tremendous careers at Oregon State, and they could go on to be great at the next level. But until then they have one more chance to do something amazing for Beaver Nation.
No doubt they make the best of that opportunity.