Can Oregon St. dam up Montee Ball?
After the postponement of last weeks game against Nicholls St., the OSU Beavers look to kick off their 2012 season at home against the week two opponent Wisconsin.
These two teams faced off last season, which ended in a 35-0 shellacking of the Beavers at the hands of the Badgers. In that game, Wisconsin used Montee Ball, their Heisman-esque running back, to plow over the Beavers.
Will this be a repeat, or are the Beavers looking to put up a fight?
Matchup: Wisconsin vs. Oregon St.
Venue: Reser Stadium (Corvallis, OR)
Game Time, TV: 1:00 PM (PST), FX
Date: Saturday, September 8, 2012
Weather: 89 high, 48 low, Sunny
Team Records: Wisconsin (1,0) Oregon St. (0,0)
This game could not come at a worse time for Oregon State.
Last week I saw the Nicholls State game as a tuneup match. It was expected to be an easy contest in which the Beavers could build some confidence and transition into the regular season.
Instead, they’re being thrown right into the fire against the No.13 ranked team in the country.
This is also a team that absolutely destroyed the Beavers last season. While OSU has the home turf this year, Wisconsin’s talent isn’t any less dominating.
What to watch: Wisconsin
As a whole, the Badgers are a great team. They could be smelling roses for a second season in a row.
With that said, success for this squad begins and ends with running back Montee Ball.
The senior back ran for 120 yards last week against Northern Iowa, scoring one touchdown. He also tacked on three catches for 31 yards.
This physical and versatile weapon is one of the many reasons this Badgers team is so dangerous.
What to watch: Oregon St.
The biggest question for OSU right now is how are they going to react to the cobwebs.
I’m sure Riley has them working hard in practice, but it’s still nothing like playing all out on Saturday. Instead of ramping up their competition, they come straight out of the gate against one of the NCAA’s most physical teams.
The true test will come on defense. Either the Beaver’s line will hold strong, or be torn apart by Ball. Outsized and possibly outclasses, this will be a huge test for a developing Oregon St. defensive line.
Beavs O vs. Badgers D
This is a Wisconsin unit that absolutely dominated the Beavers in last season’s contest. In that game they held Oregon St. to just 284 yards, in what ended up being a shutout.
However, that was a different team with a different quarterback situation.
This year’s squad is more experienced and more versatile. They have an air attack that’s as good as any, and a developing run attack. They’ll be leaning on Sean Mannion for a competitive spark, but expect Riley to get creative and have everyone involved.
Like on defense, the true test will be at the line. It’s time for freshman Isaac Seumalo to come out big in his NCAA debut. If he can protect his quarterback, OSU shouldn’t have issues putting up points.
Badgers O vs. Beavs D
Wisconsin has a multidimensional offense. If the run game doesn’t work, they can hurt you with the air attack.
I still have no doubt that the Badger’s first move will be with the run. Despite a passing game, the Beav’s Jordan Poyer can be a game changer. Forcing Wisconsin to keep the ball on the ground will at least limit the Badger’s play calling.
The Badgers are going to push the ball with Ball, which is how they put up 35 points against OSU in 2011.
This game is going to come down to the Beavers play at the line. The linebacker corp is strong, but they need to be ready to play against the pass. The d-line needs to hold strong and bring pressure against the Badgers.
The difference maker will come down to Scott Crichton. If he can create enough havoc, the Beavers can disrupt Ball’s game.
This game will be closer than last season. The Beavers will not be shut out, that’s for sure.
With that said, Oregon State still lacks a number one option to stop the run. Montee Ball is too hard to stop, and in the end that will be the true difference maker.