oregon state blog

Week 4 College football preview: Oregon St. vs. UCLA matchup

Battle of redemption

I’m going to say it now. This could be the OSU Beavers biggest game of the season.

This is a battle of redemption. Oregon State vs. UCLA. Two teams with storied histories. Two teams trying to claw their way back into relevancy. Two teams that are undefeated.

Matchup: Oregon St. vs. UCLA (19)
Venue: Rose Bowl (Los Angeles, CA)
Game time, TV: 12:30 pm (PST), ABC
Date: Saturday, September 22, 2012
Weather: 86 high, 68 low, Partly Cloudy
Team Records: Oregon St. (1-0), UCLA (3-0)

If the boys in orange and black can pull out this road win, it’ll certainly land them within college football‘s top 25. That would mark the first time since the end of 2009.

Like I said, this could be the biggest game of the season.

Game Notes

Oregon State has lost it’s last two contests against UCLA. Their last trip to the Rose Bowl ended in a stunning 17-14 Bruins victory.

UCLA’s offense has been amazing so far, ranking second amongst FBS teams. They sport the fifth best ground attack in the NCAA.

Johnathan Franklin

The Beavers stopped Ball, now can they stop Franklin? Photo Credit: USA Today

This win would put them at 4-0 for the first time in seven years.

Oregon State enters the game on a high note, but needs to watch out for rust. This is just their second game of the season. Their first game was postponed, while last week was a bye.

If Oregon State’s defense can replicate what they did against Wisconsin—Badgers held to 35 yards on the ground—this should be a great game to watch.

What to watch: Oregon St.

Can the defense repeat? Will the offense find some chemistry?

We’re in week four and this Beavers team is still riddled with questions.

The biggest thing to watch is going to be that defensive unit. They played a different kind of game against Wisconsin, one that Beaver Nation hasn’t seen for some time.

They were aggressive, they were multidimensional and they stopped the run. For a rushing defense ranked 101st in the FBS in 2011—and dead last in the Pac-12—holding Wisconsin to 35-yards on the ground is a huge feat.

This week we find out if lightning strikes twice.

What to watch: UCLA

As big as a game this is for OSU, it’s just as big for UCLA.

They proved they can roll with the big boys with their upset over Nebraska. Now the Bruins have to prove that they’re here to stay with sustained success over the entire season. What better way to prove that than in the Pac-12 opener.

It should be no surprise that UCLA is going to rely on their ground attack, but that offensive line has to be watched.

UCLA already sports a young unit, and at the line experience counts. They’ve already allowed eight sacks on the season, and they could be without senior guard Jeff Baca—possible concussion.

Can they hold it together and get the offensive unit moving?

Beavs O vs. Bruins D

While the Bruins have made waves with their offense, their defense is nothing to balk at.

Their unit is ranked 69th in the FBS, fairing much better against the pass than the run.

Against Houston, UCLA cornerback Sheldon Price had three picks. Sean Mannion will look to mitigate Price’s effect on the game by stretching the field. What better way to do that than with both Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks.

Dylan Wynn

Wynn had six tackles, a sack and a forced fumble against Wisconsin in week two.

Both these squads match up well on paper, but UCLA continues to show flaws against the run. If OSU’s unit can start to gel, they should be able to do some damage.

Injury Update: freshman center Isaac Seaumalo sat out during bye week practices due to a sore hip. He’s since returned and looks good to start against UCLA.

Bruins O vs. Beavs D

After shutting down Wisconsin on the ground, the Beaver’s once again face another huge test.

UCLA tailback Johnathan Franklin was on a tear in out of conference play, racking up 541 yards and eight touchdowns. The Bruins know how to pound the ground, and if that doesn’t work they’re comfortable giving things to QB Brett Hundley.

Against Wisconsin, the two players that really stood out for Oregon State were cornerback Tyrequek Zimmerman and defensive lineman Dylan Wynn. Both players are key for another dominating effort.

OSU isn’t going to shut down UCLA like they did Wisconsin, but they’ve proved they can slow down the run. Now they just have to do it again.

Prediction

This is going to be a huge test for both teams.

Oregon State was good against Wisconsin, but the Badgers haven’t been as good as advertised. UCLA was great in out of conference play, but two of their games came against Rice and Houston.

This game is going to tell us a lot about these two teams. Either the Beavers come up huge on defense and seal the deal, or they falter and lose a third straight year to the Bruins.

In the end this is going to be a great game between two evenly matched teams. The home field advantage puts UCLA just over the top in my book.

Oregon State 21, UCLA 24

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About Jonathan Irwin

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  • NWSportsBeat

    Nice win Beavs!

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