oregon state blog

Week 8 College football preview: Utah vs. Oregon St. Matchup

Can Vaz make it two in a row?

This Saturday, the Oregon State Beavers look to go 6-0 for the first time in over 100 years. First they have to get through a Utah team that decimated the Beavs 27-8 last season.

But with news that Sean Mannion will be dressed down as the team’s backup, Oregon State should be in high spirits for Week 8.

Matchup: Utah vs. Oregon State (8)
Venue: Reser Stadium (Corvallis,OR)
Game Time, TV: 7:30 (PST), ESPN2
Date: Saturday, October 20, 2012
Weather: 57 high, 39 low, Showers
Team Records: Utah (2-4) Oregon St. (5-0)

Game Notes

This is the fourth meeting for these two teams in the last five years. Utah has won three of the last four, outscoring the Beavers 65-60. It’ll be their first meeting in Corvallis since 2007.

A win Saturday would make the Beavers bowl eligible, making it the quickest they’ve ever qualified.

Both teams’ quarterbacks are coming off their first career starts. Cody Vaz for the Beavers, and true freshman Travis Wilson for the Utes.

John White

Don’t expect much of this from Utah this time around.

In last season’s meeting, Utah rushed for 225 yards. This season, OSU is giving up just 70 rushing yards per game, best for fourth in the FBS.

The game is a “black out” for OSU. It is their first such game since 2006, when black outs were temporarily suspended by the university.

There is no In-N-Out in Oregon, but Mike Riley did make sure to treat the team to a post game meal last week in Provo.

What to watch: Utah

Can the Utes finally get their offense rolling?

Over the last three weeks, Utah is averaging just 16 points per game. All three games finished as losses to Pac-12 opponents.

Last season, Utah relied on their ground attack, which was led by John White who averaged over 100 yards rushing per game. This season he’s averaging less than 70 per game with only a single touchdown.

White hasn’t rushed for over 100 yards since Week 1, and he has just 130 yards over his last three games.

What to watch: Oregon St.

Will the Beavers finally overpower a team on both sides of the ball?

To date, this will be Oregon State’s easiest opponent. And while they’ve won games in various ways, they’ve yet to turn in a dominating performance.

In Week 5, the offense was amazing, but the defense gave up 545 yards. In Week 2, the defense was shutdown, but the offense failed to score more than 10 points.

Finally coming into a game as the favorite, it’s time for the Beavers to show how good they can be as a single unit.

I’m never one to condone demoralizing an opponent, but with a tough second half stretch the Beavers could use all the confidence they can get.

Beav’s O vs. Ute’s D

Vaz proved he has what it takes to start under center against BYU, but he had to rely on his running backs in the second half to keep things rolling.

Last season, Oregon State rushed for a mere 32 yards against Utah. Sean Mannion was sacked six times in that game. While the Utes aren’t as good on defense in 2012, they’re still playing better against the run than the pass.

If the Beavs want to run in this one, it comes down to their front five. If you can say one thing about the o-line to this point, it’s that they’ve been good at holding up running lanes.

But this weekend Isaac Seumalo has to square off with Utah nose tackle Star Lotulelei, a consensus first round pick in this year’s NFL draft. If the true freshman can’t hold his own, it could cause kinks in the Beavers defense.

Isaac Seumalo

Isaac Seumalo faces his biggest test this Saturday against Utah. Photo Credit: Corvallis Gazette-Times

Injury update: Storm Woods, who sat out a large part of the second half against BYU, has had no issue since that game. The scare was just a bone bruise, and he should have no problem dressing down Saturday.

Ute’s O vs. Beav’s D

With a chance that the offense struggles, the defense should have no worries in this one.

Even though the Utes ran all over the Beavers last season, 2012 is a different year for these two teams. John White is struggling to move the ball, while the Beaver’s defense has dominated on the ground.

If Utah wants to win, they’ll have to do it through the air. True freshman quarterback Travis Wilson is coming off his first start, in which he completed 23 of 33 passes for 220 yards. He had no touchdowns and one interception.

One thing the Beavers need to watch with Wilson is his ability to run. Option based offenses have burned the Beavers this season, and they can’t let another one get past them.

Wilson can be a dynamic weapon, but his receiving corp leaves a lot to be desired. Jordan Poyer and Rashaad Reynolds should have no problems shutting them down.

Prediction

While the Utes can give the Beavers a couple fits on either side of the ball, it shouldn’t be enough to turn the tide.

Come Saturday, the Beavers will return home to what should be a huge, pumped up crowd. With one final step to bowl eligibility, the team will come up big and turn in a dominating performance.

Utah 14, Oregon St. 35

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