OSU vs. Hawaii: Who has the edge?

BEFORE THE SEASON kicked off last weekend, this positional breakdown between Oregon State and Hawaii would have looked different. But after Hawaii’s game against another Pac-12 team last week, a razor-thin 17-16 loss to the UW, that's shaken things up.

Quarterback
Sean Mannion picked up where he left off. He’ll be tested more than he was against Portland State but Hawaii’s QB, sophomore Ikaika Woolsey, while a very good running threat, missed on just a few too many opportunities in the passing game. Edge: Oregon State

Offensive line
Hawaii is experienced up front, especially on the left side. While they did not fare as well against the rush, they opened plenty of lanes for the running backs, as Hawaii rushed for over 200 hashes. Oregon State is missing their best o-lineman in Isaac Seumalo, Grant Bays is banged up and the Beaver OL struggled at times against PSU, and earned more than their share of penalties. Edge: Hawaii

Running Back
Oregon State did well on the ground in the opener, but Hawaii will provide a sterner test. Storm Woods raced for a game-high 125 yards, including a 50-yarder and Terron Ward had 38 yards on 10 carries. If they can duplicate that, and/or get BF.C favorite Damien Haskins 5-7 carries, Beavs will be in great shape. But Hawaii looked great last week on the ground. The 6-foot, 245-pound Iosefa went for 143 yards on 30 carries, making it four of the last five games he’s topped the century mark. And you can’t sleep on his backup, sophomore Steven Lakalaka, who can do plenty of damage in his own right. Edge: Hawaii

Wide Receiver/Tight Ends
Hawaii started two first-time starters in the opener, but junior Quinton Pedroza has nine grabs for 90 yards. Still, this is not Hawaii’s best side, they’re built to run, not to overwhelm through the air. Oregon State has a budding star in Victor Bolden, a sure-handed possession man in Richard Mullaney plus two tight ends who can do a lot of damage in the passing game. Edge: Oregon State

Defensive Line
Before the season, this looked like Oregon State. After what the Hawaii d-line did against UW, it’s much closer. The tackles don’t get noticed, they don’t make highlight plays, but they plug things up and let others swoop in to make the tackles. Moses Samia (6-1, 300) and Calen Friel (6-2, 320) are built low to the ground and if the Beav o-line doesn’t employ proper pad level and technique, they’ll be in trouble. Defensive end Beau Yap is a handful. But OSU might have something in the three-man rotation at DT with Siale Hautau, Edwin Delva and Jalen Grimble. Dylan Wynn looks ready to make some noise after the opener and Jaswha James played capably. Edge: Oregon State, barely

Linebackers
Hawaii is solid there, but Julian Gener, Jerrol Garcia-Williams and Tevita Lataimula, while formidable, can’t match the productivity or experience level of Oregon State. The three seniors didn’t always play great in the opener, especially in the first half and in containing a running QB, but they got the job done and then some in the second half – they were the key in holding PSU to a mere 40 yards total offense. And OSU can spell Michael Doctor, D.J. Alexander and Jabral Johnson with veterans Rommel Mageo and Caleb Saulo as needed. Edge: Oregon State

Defensive Backfield
Hawaii is going to be hot and cold here this season. OSU needs to make sure they don’t give them any reason to be confident. Junior cornerback Ne'Quan Phillips can be a good one, as can Dee Maggitt. Safety Taz Stevenson is a Washington transfer and racked up double digit tackles last week. OSU counters with three returning starters, with Steven Nelson looking ready to build off his impressive 2013, Larry Scott a guy that shouldn’t be overshadowed. OSU is potentially very good at safety this season with Ryan Murphy and Tyrequek Zimmerman, though they need to prove they’re there now rather than in Week 6. Edge: Oregon State


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