We are a day away from another great weekend of PAC 12 football and what better time to begin comparing the position battles that the Beavers will be facing this weekend. Straight off of a solid win in Arizona, Utah is looking to build on its Pc-12 South lead as it heads to blustery Corvallis to take on the Beavers. As they face the Beavers, where do they stack up position by position with the Mid-Valley’s finest:
Troy Williams vs. Darell Garretson
Troy Williams is having a solid year for the Utes with a 58% completion percentage on the year for 1,502 yards and 7 TD’s to 4 INT’s.
Invigorated Beaver starter Darrell Garretson is passing for just 54% completion percentage for 593 yards with 3 TD’s and 3 INT’s.
Troy Williams is more of a pass first QB, though like Darrell, he can run and has 3 TD’s on the ground this year. While not as dynamic as Webb had been playing before the Beavers shut him down, Williams has been solid. Both QB’s are going to have to deal with 60mph winds, but if it comes to passing, Williams has had a better time getting the ball to his receivers .
??? vs. Ryan Nall
Utah’s running back situation is… complicated. There are three different options we could see this weekend.
For the Beavers, Ryan Nall raced for 220 yards last year and has rushed for 432 yards (6.9 ypc) and 6 TD’s this year. He has also caught 13 passes for 87 yards (6.7 ypc) on the year.
Nall was a beast last week and assuming he is ready to go, and assuming the line can recreate some of last week’s magic, he should be the best back on the field.
Tim Patrick/Raelon Singleton/Corey Butler-Byrd vs. Seth Collins/Victor Bolden/Trevon Bradford/Jordan Villamin
Utah’s receivers got a big boost with the return of do-everything receiver Corey Butler-Byrd. While Tim Patrick with his 429 yards and 5 TD’s has been the feature receiver for the Utes, Butler-Boyd is lighting in a bottle and will be a threat from many different positions on the field.
The Beavers have seen their passing game stumble after the second half of the Boise State game managing just 185 yards and 0 TD’s in the last 2 games, to go with 4 interceptions.
OSU has to show they can be a threat passing the ball before I will give them an edge in this position group.
Utah’s offensive line has taken some hits at center. They have lost two players for the year and are either going to play their 2nd string center if he has recovered from his injuries, or their 4th string snapper. Last week they had 10 false starts in Arizona. 8 in the first half before they calmed down. They also have a first 3 round offensive tackle in Sam Tevi.
The Beavers had their best game of the season, and probably best game overall since the Stanford game last year. With the chance of Launia coming back, OSU appears to be getting their best foot forward on their line.
I think Utah’s best linemen match with the best in the conference. Their depth at center gives them a weakness to exploit. OSU played a good game last week, but Cal’s defense was not build to stop the run. The edge is slight, but I do see a difference between the two lines.
Utah’s defensive front is scary good. They have 18 sacks this year and both of their defensive ends have more than 3 sacks. They also have the 3rd best rush defense and 2nd best scoring defense.
The Beavers are still trying to find their stride against the run and in their pass rush. The Beavers have the 10th ranked rush defense and 11th ranked total defense in the conference
Utah has been a top 3 in the conference defensive line since the first day they got into the conference. They are no different this year.
Sunia Tauteoli is the leading tackler for the Utes and their 4 - 2 - 5 defense. Both Tauteoli and Luafatasaga have been solid at linebacker for the Utes. Between the linebackers and defensive line, Utah is averaging surrendering just under 120 yards rushing a game.
OSU’s starting linebackers in their 3-4-4 defense have had moments, but with the Beavers giving up 220 rushing yards on average per game, there have been some concerns.
Utah’s front seven has been very stout this year. The Beavers have yet to have that defining game where they are able to really get after the quarterbacks and stop the run.
Utah’s biggest weakness has been the secondary. Teams are able to get long passes on them as Utah has the 7th best pass defense, despite getting so many sacks.
Oregon State’s secondary is the strength of the defense and the work done by Treston Decoud last week against Chad Hanson of Cal was inspiring to say the least. The Beavers have the conferences 4th ranked pass defense.
Oregon State really crushed the Cal passing attack. Players were covered and even though there was little to no rush on Davis Webb, he was unable to find open players or get them the ball if he did.
Advantage: Oregon State
Utah has had a very good Punting and Punt returns, ranked 1st in the conference in punting and 7th in punt returns. In kickoffs, they have been far less successful ranking 9th and 10th respectively.
Oregon State has been the opposite, though their punting is not bad, but with their kick coveage and kick returns being their strength and punt coverage and punt returns being a bit weaker.
This is almost a push, but OSU has a great punter and Bolden can return a kick at any time for a TD.
Advantage: Oregon State
This week it will be all about the run game. On paper, I would say that Utah’s strengths (run defense, sacks) will be on display against our strengths (rush offense) while our weaknesses (Utah’s deep pass protection and running backs vs our Defensive front seven and passing game) will have to compete as well. I think that Utah will bring their A game, especially after the close win in Utah last year, and I think the Beavers will need to be ready for a much tougher opponent up front. If we can block and run, we win. If not, then it could be a long day. Regardless, I am not expecting more than 45 points total for the whole game. And it could be much, much less.