9/24 UCLA vs. Oregon St. – Early Look

Pac 12 Scouting Report

Is there a team in the nation more relieved to have a bye than the Oregon State Beavers this week?

You couldn’t have scripted the first two Beavers games any worse. First came the utter humiliation of losing to the FCS’ Sacramento State – at home.

Last week, expectations were low against the powerhouse Wisconsin Badgers, but OSU still fell short. It failed to score a point.

UCLA Bruins vs. Oregon State Beavers
Saturday, September 24, 2011

Defensively, the 35-0 loss wasn’t all that bad. Oregon State held Wisconsin to 189 passing yards and the 208 rushing yards allowed came on a 43 attempts. It wasn’t a good effort by any means but it was reasonable considering how dominant the Badgers’ ground attack is.

UCLA vs. OSU Preview

Offensively, the primary problem was a pitiful ground attack. Oregon State ran 24 times for 23 yards. That’s not a misprint. The Beavers’ passing game wasn’t as bad as the final score suggests. Sean Mannion was a respectable 25 of 38 for 244 yards with no interceptions.

The performance was enough to help Mannion wrestle the starting quarterback job away from Katz. Earlier today, coach Mike Riley named Mannion the official starter going forward and said there are no plans to rotate Katz in.

So what must Oregon State due when conference play starts next week? Most of all, it must find a way to get its ground game going. Through two weeks, UCLA has allowed 180.5 rushing yards per contest, so there’s hope for the Beavers.

On defense, OSU obviously has to improve at stopping the run when it travels to UCLA. The Bruins are dangerous on the ground. Through two games, they already have three players with at least 130 rushing yards.

Lastly, the Beavers will hope Mannion takes his game to a new level now that he isn’t looking over his shoulder at Katz. In parts of two games, he’s 33 of 50 (66 per cent) for 387 yards. He hasn’t looked rattled. The next step will be for Mannion to start taking chances and putting scores on the board.

If Oregon State can’t rectify its early-season problems in a hurry, it will be a long and very disappointing season for a team many people picked to bounce back in the Pac-12.

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