Match-up Analysis: Cal vs Oregon State

It is time for Pac-12 football to start and what better time to begin comparing the position battles that the Beavers will be facing this weekend.

Straight off of an epic win against Utah, Cal is rolling into Corvallis with confidence and a 3-2 record including a tough conference win over the Utes. As they face the Beavers, where do they stack up position by position with the Mid-Valley’s finest:

Quarterback:

Davis Webb vs. Darell Garretson

Davis Webb is having a monster year with over 62% completion percentage on the year for 2,143 yards with 22TD’s and 6 INT.  

Embattled Beaver starter Darrell Garretson is passing for just 54% completion percentage for 508 yards with 3 TD’s and 1 INT.

NOTES:

Davis Webb has almost 1000 yards passing more than OSU has total yards and his 22 passing touchdowns are over double OSU’s team total of 8.

Advantage: Cal

Running Back:

Vic Enware vs. Art Pierce

Enware has rushed for 324 yards (5.6 ypc) for 2 TD’s this year.  He has also caught 4 passes for 10 yards.

For the Beavers, Art Pierce has rushed for 144 yards (5.5 ypc) and 0 TD’s.  He has also caught 5 passes for 24 yards (7.2 ypc) on the year.

NOTES:

I am putting Pierce in this week rather than Nall, though I imagine Nall will get a ton of carries for the Beavers and  Khalfani Muhammad will get his share for the Bears.  Pierce has been doing a great job running the last game and a half so I think his workload will increase.  Enware is a big, tough back who will test our defense a lot, while Pierce is lightning in a bottle who will be a quick strike chain mover for the Beavers. Still, with the ability to pass for the Bears,  have to give the edge to Cal. Enware has almost as many yards rushing as our two top back combined, and between him and Muhammad, they have almost as many yards as our whole rushing offense (including fly sweeps, QB runs and the like)

Advantage: Cal

Wide Receiver:

Chad Hansen/Demitris Robertson/Melquise Stovall vs. Seth Collins/Victor Bolden/Timmy Hernandez

Colorado’s receivers have been having a monster year, with Chad Hansen receiving 55 times for 746 yards and 8 TD’s. Robertson and Stovall also have 583 yards and 7 TD’s together.

For the Beavers, their top three receiver targets 394 yards and one TD on the year.  

NOTES:

Again, OSU’s production is not even close to Cal’s.  Some of that is systematic, but Cal has been getting great receivers for the last six years and they are just showing the wealth of talent they have as well.  

Advantage: Cal

Offensive Line:

Cal’s offensive line is deceptive.  They are responsible for almost 3,000 yards in 5 games, but they are also blocking in a system that benefits them greatly.  With Davis Webb’s quick decisions and huge arm, they are not being asked to hold on too long.

For the Beavers, we have documented the struggles they have faced this year, but I would say that the current lineup of linemen for the Beavers has the most promise yet.  

NOTES:

I am giving this a push. Despite the huge numbers by Cal, I think their line is just decent and that you could swap the lines and the style of offense would change the results.

Advantage: Push

Defensive Line:

Cal has an interesting defense. While they are giving up a ton of yards on the ground (or at least did their first two games) they still have 24 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.

The Beavers have the 89th ranked defense in the nation and are the 98th ranked rush defense giving up 201 yards per game.

NOTES:

Statistically, OSU’s run defense is better than Cal’s.  Realistically, Cal has played more rush heavy teams that the Beavers have and they are also dealing with an offense that creates so many more series for opposing offenses because of their fast pace.  This is one of those times where I look the other way on stats and go with what I saw in the last two games.  Colorado moved our line around quite a bit, Cal was able to play well against the statistically best line in the conference in Utah.

Advantage: Cal

Linebackers:

Cal runs a 4-2-5 defense and their two backers have 85 total tackles and 1.5 sacks.

OSU’s starting linebackers in their 3-4-4 defense have 76 total tackles and 3.5 sacks

NOTES:

Cal is pretty thin at linebacker right now.  They also have had struggles against the run and covering intermediate and slant routes.  In terms of pass rush, they are decent, but the Cal defense is still a work in progress. OSU has had similar issues with their linebackers making an impact in games.  

Advantage: Push

Secondary:

Cal’s brings a lot of experience to their backfield and are tied for 31st in the nation for Interceptions (5). They are also ranked 46th in the nation in Pass Efficiency Defense.

Oregon State’s secondary is the 37th ranked Pass Efficiency Defense and they also have 4 INT’s on the year.

NOTES:

Oregon State struggled last week with an up tempo offense in Boulder. At the same time, Cal’s secondary has given up yards against passing teams.  Injuries have affected the Beavers as well, so I feel that this will be a pretty even match.

Advantage: Push

Special Teams:

Cal’s special teams have been decent but not phenomenal.

Oregon State’s strength is their special teams and Pobreski is a legit NFL prospect in my mind. Bolden has also been pretty great returning kicks.

NOTES:

This is easily an OSU lean and will probably be responsible for at least one TD this game.

Advantage: Oregon State

OVERVIEW:

I am not sure that the Beavers can stop Cal’s offense.  With the pass rush we have seen this year, Davis Webb is probably going to have time to distribute the ball. They will move fast and keep the tempo up.  I also think that the interior of the Beaver offensive line will see their biggest test this week against the defensive tackles for Cal.  Until the offense shows that it can keep up with the high potent offenses they are playing, I am probably going to lean more to Cal. My picks will be in the Staff Picks, but my gut tells me that the Bears will have a better day than the Beavers.

 


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