Three things that we have learned
1. Idaho State is a very beatable team
Oregon State’s losing streak has reached double digits dating back to last season. It’s been nearly a full calendar year since the Beaver last tasted victory. Enter a FCS team in Idaho State who is coming off a 2015 campaign that was very similar to OSU’s. Both teams are coming off of a 2-10 season that didn’t offer many high points other than a close performance against a perennial power, Oregon State nearly pulled off the comeback against Oregon, and Idaho State took Montana into overtime.
2. Coach Andersen has a history with Idaho State and their current staff:
Believe it or not, head coach Gary Andersen first Division I coaching job was as the defensive line coach at Idaho State, where running backs coach Telly Lockette was a player at the time. Idaho State’s defensive coordinator, Spencer Toone and defensive line coach, Steve Fifita both played for Andersen when Andersen was coaching the defense at Utah. Fifita was named the Defensive MVP in the Fiesta Bowl in 2005. Toone was also a graduate assistant while Andersen was the head coach at Utah State.
3. Protecting the quarterback and putting pressure on the quarterback will be key
In the Beavers’ first game against Minnesota, the game can be summed up in who could protect the quarterback and couldn’t. In the game against the Golden Gophers, the Beavers did not register a sack. The lack of pressure allowed Matt Leidner, who had a relatively average game, to sit in the pocket, buy time and make plays--especially late in the game. On the flip side, two time the Beavers gave up sacks that flipped momentum when Tai’yon Devers blew past the Dustin Stanton for two strip sacks that resulted in two turnovers which then turned in 14 points for Minnesota in seven-point win.
1. Will the players who struggled against Minnesota have bounce back game?
The Minnesota game seems like an eternity ago, just as a reminder while the Beavers lost, there were some positive aspects to build on moving into the season. One of the ways that they can improve their fortune is by getting better play out of a trio of upperclassmen who underperformed against the Golden Gophers. Right tackle Dustin Stanton, along with wide receivers Victor Bolden and Jordan Villamin did not have their best games in a Beaver uniform. Bad games happen to even the best players, but the good players are able to bounce back from poor performances. For Bolden, Stanton and Villamin, it will be interesting to see how they respond.
2. Can the team avoid playing down to their opponent?
There’s no hiding from the fact that Oregon State has had problems with FCS opponents dating back to 2011 when the Beavers were stunned by Sacramento State, then again in in 2013 by Eastern Washington. Along with underwhelming performances against Portland State and Weber State. Now, Oregon State isn’t the only school to play poorly against lower division teams. Nicholls State put a scare into Georgia and Washington State pulled a 2013 Beavers in their home opener against Washington State. On paper, this Oregon State team is vastly superior team than the Idaho State Bengals, the challenge for the Beavers is to show that it’s the superior team and not play down to their competition.
I don’t expect this game to be close, I expect Oregon State to jump out to an early lead then cruise the rest of the way to a 61-17 win. With that being said, my prediction is that Artavis Pierce leads the Beavers in rushing. This may come back to bite me, but I view this game as almost like a spring game, where players that are lower on the depth chart will get game reps that they usually wouldn’t get in most games. I don’t expect Ryan Nall to play the entire game, which will lead to plenty of carries for Pierce.