Week 2, Square 1
Hawaii (0-1) at Oregon State (0-1)
When: 5:00 PM PT, Saturday, Sept. 7
Where: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Oregon
The Oregon State Beavers were shocked by Eastern Washington last week, and many fans think it has placed head coach Mike Riley and defensive coordinator Mark Banker on the hot seat.
The Beavers performance in Week 1 left everybody with more questions than answers. Truthfully, it’s really tough to know what to expect for the matchup against Hawaii.
For the second straight year, the Beavers’ showing in the first game surprised everybody. Last season’s surprise was definitely preferable to this year’s, but the outcome of both are the same: a whole lot of uncertainty.
The term “must-win” gets thrown around a lot more than it should, but the game against Hawaii certainly feels like a must-win for the Beavers. Lose, and it really starts to feel like 2011 all over again. Win by a lot, and it starts to feel like Week 1 was just a bad dream.
The Rainbow Warriors are hardly stiff competition — they might be worse than EWU — but the Beavers would celebrate a win over a Pop Warner team at this point. Oregon State could come out angry, play with fire and blow Hawaii out of Reser Stadium. Or it could start slow, lose confidence and start on a downward spiral.
If the outcome of the game isn’t decided by halftime, it’s bad news for the Beavs.
A Ground Attack
Even if the defensive struggles continue, the Beavers’ offense might be good enough to drag the team to a victory against Hawaii, but it probably won’t be the same way they nearly did it against the Eagles.
The Beavers had moderate success running the ball against Eastern Washington, but once they realized Sean Mannion was on fire, and they were in a shootout, they abandoned the run game. Storm Woods racked up 68 yards and two short-yardage TDs, but he also owned the Beavers’ longest run of the game, a whopping nine-yarder.
But Sean Mannion won’t always be as good as he was Saturday (if he is, Heisman!), and Mike Riley always wants to run a balanced offense.
Hawaii presents the perfect opportunity to get closer to that. Last week, the Warriors surrendered 192 rushing yards to USC, and the Trojans were missing their starting running back, Silas Redd. If the Beavs want to get Woods, Terron Ward and Tyler Anderson into a groove, Week 2 certainly seems like a good time.
Oregon State has plenty of talent in the line and backfield, and it’d be foolish not to utilize it, no matter how effective the pass game is.
Defensive Bounce Back
Really, all eyes will be on the defense when facing Hawaii. After looking out of position (not to mention out of energy and practice), while being embarrassed by EWU, the Beavers’ defense needs to play with a giant chip on their shoulders and show they will not be a punching bag this year.
They need to get back to their 2012 ways of flying around the field and swarming to the ball.
Jordan Poyer gave senior CB Sean Martin a stern talking to this week, and Rashaad Reynolds led a player-only meeting immediately after the game Saturday and another on Monday. This Saturday, it’s time to put their money where their mouth is when they say Week 1 was just a bad game.