Editor’s Note: For each game this season, we are identifying a player and position group that could be the X-factor for the Beavers in that game. We claim no responsibility for jinxing any players.
Bright Ugwoegbu (Sophomore) — Safety
Vitals: 6-2, 2226 pounds; from Katy, Texas; Scout 2-Star recruit.
2016 Stats: Three starts; 14 tackles, four for loss, 1.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery.
Last season: Played in nine games, starting two; recorded 17 tackles.
Why he’s the X-Factor: Colorado has a lot of weapons on offense, and they are used well, as the Buffaloes have one of the most up-tempo and versatile offenses in the Pac-12. In order to disrupt Colorado’s offensive rhythm, or better yet, not allow it all, pressure on the quarterback will be paramount. Enter Ugwoebu, who has been one of the Beavers’ most consistent presences on defense this season.
He leads the team in tackles for loss and is second in sacks, and has narrowly missed several more QB takedowns. More importantly, Ugwoebu appears to be improving game by game. And his impact against Colorado doesn’t need to be measured solely on adding to his stats. Rather, if he can just penetrate the gaps and create pressure on the QB or disrupt the running back, it would be huge.
Due to Colorado’s style of play, Ugwoebu should have plenty of opportunities to make an impact. The key for him will be to get in position and finish plays. This could be a breakout game for him. A lot has been expected out of Ugwoebu since he got to Corvallis, and this weekend, he could help the Beavers hold strong and show the potential that makes him an potential star.
Why it’s X-Factor: Raise your hand if you thought Seth Collins would be the Beavers leading receiver a quarter into the season? It’s been a quiet season so far for stalwarts Jordan Villamin and Victor Bolden (Bolden has been a beast on special teams, though.). But more surprising than Collin’s emergence has been the disappearance of Villamin. He’s only got seven catches for 43 yards.
Yet, if the OSU offense is to get on track and become more efficient, it needs Villamin to shake out of his funk, and for Bolden to be more involved. To that end, it was tempting to cheat and pick the OSU coaching staff for this one, as they have got to help the receivers be more successful. Or maybe give youngsters more playing time.
Colorado gave up nearly 300 passing yards to the Ducks, so the OSU receivers could break out this weekend, and they will need to make an impact in order for the Beavers to win. Maybe to spring board things, the Beavers can run more slants and quick outs, and open up more downfield opportunities. This is a crucial game for this unit, not just for a Beavers’ win, but so they can stay on the field.
Blitzers, who are your X-Factors for the Colorado game?null