NCAA Football – Week 8
The Oregon State Beavers weren’t expected to even be competitive in the PAC 12 this season. Mike Riley’s team may be the biggest surprise in the nation so far this year. The Beavers come into this one at 5-0 and ranked #11 in the polls. Can the Beavers keep their magic going this weekend in Corvallis when the Utah Utes pay them a visit?
The Utah Utes offense has been nothing short of awful so far this season. Utah was counting on leadership from senior quarterback Jordan Wynn, but an injury earlier this year ended his football career. Jon Hays wasn’t successful in his role as backup quarterback, so the team has turned to youngster Travis Wilson. Wilson has a lot of the tools needed to be a very good quarterback, but he needs more time to develop. It doesn’t help that the Utes average a dismal 100 rushing yards per game as a team. Utah ranks 117th out of 124 teams in the nation in total offense.
The Utes defense has kept them in most games this year. Star Lotulelei is the anchor in the middle of the defensive line. Lotulelei is a guy that the NFL scouts absolutely love. The Utes are 34th in the nation in rushing defense. They showed how strong they can be last week when they held UCLA’s terrific running game to only 3.6 yards per carry. The Utah secondary isn’t bad, but they don’t have great play makers. Overall, this team is giving up 24 points per game.
Sean Mannion went down a couple weeks ago and many thought Oregon State’s perfect season was in trouble last weekend against a solid BYU team. Backup Cody Vaz stepped in and played a tremendous game to lead the Beavers to a 42-24 at BYU. Vaz threw three touchdowns and no interceptions against one of the better defenses in the nation. For the season, Oregon State is eighth in the nation in passing offense. Brandin Cooks already has 34 catches for 659 yards this year. Storm Woods leads the team in rushing, and he averages 4.8 yards per carry.
The biggest surprise is probably the Oregon State defense. This was a unit that was terrible a year ago, but they have stepped in a huge way this year. Oregon State is allowing opponents to run for only 70 yards per game so far this year. They shut down Wisconsin and UCLA’s ground game, and those two teams are both very good in the running game. The secondary has struggled at times against very good passing teams, but that shouldn’t be an issue against the Utes.
Utah has been a big disappointment this year, while Oregon State has been surprisingly excellent. I think the Beavers roll to a comfortable victory in this one.
Oregon State 31 Utah 13