Strength of OSU pocket, ST's on display Sat.

WHEN SEAN MANNION has a good pocket around him, he's as good as anyone in the game of college football. But when good defensive teams have been able to bring the heat, Mannion's completion numbers and TDs have gone down, and the interception totals have gone up. So what kind of defense does San Diego State have?

A pretty good one from what I saw in their last game, a tilt against then-No. 21 North Carolina they should have won.

And most pundits expect SDSU to blitz like a lot on Saturday (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1) against Sean Mannion and the Beavs.

"When you have a quarterback who I think is NFL caliber, you cannot do one thing more than the other," said Long. "You’ve got to give the image that you're coming, then bail out and play zone. You got to give the image that you're playing zone and try to put pressure on him with the blitz now and then,” SDSU coach Rocky Long said this week.

And I wouldn’t be fooled by the “now and then” part. OSU still needs to prove they can run and hurt a team that’s bringing the house. Until they do, I think we see lots of different blitz packages from SDSU.

And the Beaver o-line isn’t at their healthiest right now.

It would be a big surprise at this point if C Isaac Seumalo (foot) were to play. He did not practice again Wednesday according to the Oregonian. Since he’s been out since the spring, it’s hard to imagine he’d practice Thursday-Friday and then be ready to play.

Starting LG Garrett Weinreich (knee) also did not practice, so it seems probably Roman Sapolu starts again there this week.

SDSU is coming off a bye as well and have only played two games, one against Northern Arizona and the other vs. North Carolina. Through two games, SDSU ranks No. 48 in total defense and No. 47 in rushing defense.

So this should be a measuring stick to tell us where the OSU run game and protection scheme is at right now at this early stage of the season.

It should also tell us a lot about OSU’s special teams. SDSU is tied for No. 1 nationally in blocked punts, 19th in fewest penalty yards, 33rd in punt return defense, 96th in kickoff return defense.

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