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.
Marcus McMaryion (Redshirt Sophomore) — Quarterback
Vitals: 6-1 204 pounds; from Dinuba, California, where he attended Dinuba High School; Threw for 6,136 yards and 71 touchdowns during his junior/senior seasons; Scout 3-star recruit who was 74th ranked QB in the nation.
2016 Stats: Played in one game; competed 5-of-9 passes for 76 yards and 16-yard touchdown pass.
Why he’s the X-Factor: McMaryion is next man up for the Beavers now that Darell Garretson is done for the season, and Conor Blount is sidelined with an injury, possibly for the year too. McMaryion performed admirably last week against Utah, putting up more passing yards in less than a quarter of action than the Beavers had all game up to that point. But he faces a stiff test in No. 5-ranked Washington.
Due to the Beavers’ passing game woes this season, don’t expect McMaryion to go all “Jonathan Smith” on the Huskies. Rather, if he can be a game manager and not make mistakes, OSU might be able to able to keep the UW offense off the field. The key for McMaryion will be to keep calm and shake off any bad throws. If he can extend plays with his feet, and pick his spots, when it comes to running, it would be a huge asset.
Yes, facing the Huskies in your first start of the season isn’t ideal, but the good news is McMaryion has a solid performance to build on, and he won’t need to worry about looking over his shoulder. If he can get over the jitters and hit on a few passes early on, he might just surprise Beaver fans. After all, didn’t he look like the best thrower on the team last weekend?
Why it’s X-Factor: Who knows what’s up with Ryan Nall, who exited the Utah game after his lone carry that went for 32 yards. And let’s hope Art Pierce’s stinger isn’t too serious. Bottom line is this: The Beavers all of sudden are quite the running team and they will need anther strong performance from their running backs or whoever is carrying the ball, to take pressure off McMaryion and keep UW off the field
It can be argued that OSU should’ve run the ball more against Utah, instead of trying to pass the ball in questionable situations, especially since the Beavers averaged 5.6 yards a carry. Not only has the offensive line improved in the run game, but the Beavers are using fly sweeps and reverses to get players such as Victor Bolden in space. And folks, this needs to happen against the Huskies, even more so!
OSU’s ball carriers will be key to keeping UW’s strong defense off balance. So the coaches need to call a variety of different running plays, from north-south with Pierce to around the edge with Bolden. If the Beavers can run against the Huskies, it will help McMaryion settle in and have a little more time to throw, hopefully. With that in mind, will we see Seth Collins out of the Wild Beaver on Saturday?
Blitzers, who are your X-Factors for the Washington game?