Beavs a mystery wrapped in a riddle

JUST WHEN YOU think you might have a handle on this Oregon State team, you don't. Down three defensive starters and coming off a demoralizing loss, Oregon State rose up and ran over Washington State. So what's on tap for this week? What Beaver team shows up?

Frankly, I don't have a clue.

I thought OSU would beat BYU soundly after the win over Arizona. And I thought they were in real trouble with three defensive starters lost in going up against a seemingly rising WSU team.

Not so much.

The Beavers have had pass protection problems all year. But against WSU, they gave Sean Mannion had enough time back there to sit down and take a final exam.

And Mannion had been hot and cold all year, looking great one play and making poor decisions the next. Against WSU, he simply looked great.

OSU came in struggling to run the ball. But against WSU, they gashed the middle all game long to the tune of 175 yards.

On defense, other teams have run over Oregon State this year. Down three starters, it figured to get worse. But it didn't, it got better. Much, much better, as WSU was held to 83 rushing yards and 315 total hashes.

So what's it going to be this week against Utah?

Does Oregon State do like they did after a solid win over Arizona, when they got manhandled by BYU the following week? Or do they continue to play fast, fundamentally solid football?

WSU did not play a good game, and their pass rush was particularly anemic. That and more should keep OSU fans from getting too excited. But OSU might have also crossed a point where instead of hoping to win, they now feel they will win. There's a huge difference between the two in college football.

Utah got blasted by Cal this past week and have yet to win a Pac-12 game. OSU, if they execute like they did against WSU, will win. And they'll win going away.

But just looking at the BYU loss, plus the fact that Utah blasted BYU earlier in the season, should keep everyone's feet on the ground this week.

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