Wildcat Authority: Oregon State has a similar record to last year. Is this a better team and if so, how?
BeaverBlitz.com: This Beaver team is better than last year simply because they are competitive and have more of a grit about them. Aside from the Boise State, Colorado and Washington games, the Beavers have been in each of the games this season which simply wasn’t the case last year.
Defensively the Beavers have improved tremendously, however are still vulnerable against the run. Offensively the team has had flashes of a potent offense, but has struggled with consistency all season, especially at quarterback.
What playmakers on offense should Arizona fans be aware of? How about defense?
On offense the Wildcats should be very aware of flanker Victor Bolden and running back Ryan Nall, should he be able to go. Bolden is truly the Beavers utility guy in that he is their leading kick and punt returner as well as the leading receiver on the team.
Not only is Bolden dangerous as a receiver, where he is averaging 12.3 yards per catch, he can run the ball too out of the fly sweep motion where he leads the team average with 12.8 yards per carry.
Nall has been off and on this season as he heals from a lower leg injury. At the time of writing, no determination had been made whether he would play or not on Saturday against the Wildcats.
Defensively the Beavers are young and injuries have taken a toll, but senior cornerback Treston Decoud is one of the top cover corners in the conference this year and a player that Arizona coaches have undoubtedly taken notice of in film study.
Safety Devin Chappell has also been an active leader both on and off the field for the Beaver defense. He has 68 tackles on the year, including five for loss. The linebackers have also been active, led by senior Caleb Saulo and junior Manase Hungalu. The duo has accounted for 144 tackles and eight tackles for loss this year.
What is the injury report heading into Saturday’s game?
Every football team suffers injuries as the season wears on. For Oregon State 13 players that began the season as expected starters or became starters due to injury have combined to miss 49 starts.
For this weekend the Beavers will definitely be without wide receiver Seth Collins, who is currently in the hospital being treated for a serious illness, linebackers Joah Robinett and Adam Soesman.
Wide receiver Hunter Jarmon is doubtful for Saturday, while linebacker Titus Failauga, offensive lineman Gus Lavaka and running back Ryan Nall are questionable. The good news for Oregon State is the probable return of cornerback Dwayne Williams.
How has the QB situation/injury impacted the team?
The season ending ankle injury to starter Darell Garretson has had a big impact on the team. After a big performance and a win over Cal, Garretson and his receivers looked to be settling into somewhat of a groove and Garretson’s mobility was a big positive for the team.
Garretson went down late in the Utah game, with back-up Conor Blount suffering a knee injury a few plays later, forcing sophomore Marcus McMaryion into action.
It is tough for the third string quarterback to come in and run an offense that they haven’t been working a lot with, but McMaryion has had moments where he has looked good and other moments where he as struggled.
Blount is back, however Coach Andersen indicated on Monday that McMaryion will be the starter heading into Saturday’s game with Arizona and they would wait and see how/when/if they utilize Blount.
What is your prediction, including score?
This is a game of two struggling teams. My main worry is stopping Arizona’s running game, and I have a feeling that the Wildcats will put up some big numbers rushing the ball on Saturday.
After a very tough month of October, the Beavers are excited to finish the season at home and the cool rain in Corvallis on Saturday night should play into the Beavers favor. I don’t want to sound like a ‘homer’, but I think the Beavers are hungry for a win and pull out a close one, 24-21.