Match-up Analysis: Washington 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.  A bye week separates Washington from exorcising the biggest demon they have 70 times versus the Ducks.

UW is a top 5 team that has wrecked the goals of any Pac-12 team they have played.  The Beavers will roll into Seattle to take on a bye week rested Husky team.  As they face the Beavers, where do they stack up position by position with the Mid-Valley’s finest:

Quarterback:

Jake Browning vs. Marcus McMaryion

Jake Browning is having an epic season with a 72%+ completion percentage, while passing for 1,418 yards, 23 TDs and just 2 INT.  

Out for the Beavers are first- and second-string QBs Darell Garretson and Conor Blount, and in steps Marcus McMariyon. McMaryion saw his first action of the season last week and was the most impressive passer for the Beavers in Pac-12 play so far, finishing 5-of-9 for 76 yards and a TD.  

NOTES:

Jake Browning has almost six times the number of passing TDs than the Beavers as a team, while throwing for a third as many interceptions. Browning is a legit Heisman candidate at this point.

Advantage: UW

Running Back:

Myles Gaskin vs. Tim Cook

Gaskin has rushed for 599 yards (6.1 ypc) for 5 TDs this year. He also has caught seven passes for 41 yards and a TD..

The Beavers are most likely going to be without leading rusher Ryan Nall and freshman backup Art Pierce, so they will hand the ball over to senior JC transfer Tim Cook. Cook has rushed for 22 yards (2.4 YPC) and 0 TDs.  He has caught two passes for 28 yards (14 YPC) and one TD this season.

NOTES:

Even if OSU had their starters this game, I am not sure that they would match up well against Gaskin and his teammate Lavone Coleman. I actually think that Art Pierce is a very similar runner to Gaskin, with a strong burst and deceptive speed. The one-two punch of Gaskin and Coleman has been good for almost 1,000 yards at the halfway point of the year.

Advantage: UW

Wide Receiver:

John Ross/Dante Pettis/Chico McClatcher vs. Seth Collins/Victor Bolden/Timmy Hernandez

UW’s three leading receivers have accounted for more than 1000 yards and 19 TDs this season. They are also active in the run game, rushing for 115 yards and a TD.

For the Beavers, their top three receivers have a total of 430 yards and one TD this year. They also have accounted for 260 yards rushing with one TD.

NOTES:

Oregon State has the 121st ranked passing attack in the nation, with only one TD and less than 500 yards receiving through six games. UW has one of the most explosive receiving crews in the conference, as well as one of the top passing efficiency teams in the nation (45th-ranked passing offense in the NCAA).

Advantage: UW

Offensive Line:

UW’s offensive line got a big boost with the return of offensive guard Shane Brostek, who will give them stability on the line, and depth that is unsurpassed in the conference. I also happen to be of mind that Chris Strausser is one of the best offensive line coaches in the country.

The Beavers have improved their line play, and stabilized their lineup the past few weeks. That being said, they had a more difficult time against the very good front 7 of Utah last week.

NOTES:

UW has really turned into the offensive line powerhouse of the conference. The talent they have rivals Utah and Stanford, and as I said above, Strausser has them ready to play.

Advantage: UW

Defensive Line:

The three-headed monster of Elijah Qualls, Greg Gains and Vita Vea (UW runs a 3-4) are the class of the conference. They have 9.5 sacks among them and have been instrumental in UW holding opponents to 70 percent of their season average for rushing yards.  

OSU is the 117th-ranked rush defense in the country; recording just 2 total sacks and has struggled to get pressure on the QB.

NOTES:

Of the many strengths on the Husky team, the defensive line could be the second strongest — it’s a legit trio, whom all can require double teams.

Advantage: UW

Linebackers:

Azeem Victor, Keishawn Bierra and Psalm Wooching are really playing at a high level. Because of the depth at defensive line and the effectiveness up front, they have clear lanes to run to the ball. They are good players, but their job is also made easier by the monsters up front.  

OSU’s starting linebackers have seen a ton of injuries at their DE/LB hybrid position, but the play of Caleb Saulo, Bright Ugwoegbu and Manase Hungalu has been pretty stout and getting better.

NOTES:

With all the injuries that OSU has, I still think that their linebackers are doing quite a bit without anywhere near the supporting cast up front that the Huskies have.

Advantage: Push

Secondary:

UW’s secondary is the strength of their team. While their five interceptions are modest, the defensive backs also have caused five fumbles, have 10 pass breakups and 15 passes defended.

Oregon State’s secondary is continuing to improve. They are ranked above Washington in pass efficiency defense and are coming off a game where they gave up 47 yards through the air.

NOTES:

This is tough. Teams have had so much success running on OSU, that they don’t pass much. The Beavers shut down Cal, but Washington may get so many more passes on them because of the hole they put teams in, so it is tough to say. Washington also has a lot of NFL prospects in their secondary. But this is college football and I have to go with who is playing the best right now.

Advantage: Oregon State

Special Teams:

Pettis and Ross are two of the best kick returners in the conference. They also have a great kickoff team and a decent punter.

The Beavers also have one of, if not the best, kick returners and a great punter. Place kicking and punt returns have not been too strong for the Beavers this year.

NOTES:

This is really the last game of the year that I think OSU is outmatched on special teams.

Advantage: UW

OVERVIEW:

This could be a rough game. While anything can happen, the Huskies are the most complete team the Beavers will play all year.  Their offense spreads you horizontally and vertically from every formation and play. They have options upon options, based on what the defense shows. On defense, their front seven is the most dominant in the conference right now, and Gains, Qualls and Vea are virtually unblockable. The Beavers need to confuse them on skates using pulls, misdirection, and down blocks to gain ground. They also need to keep the linebackers guessing and keep them from free releases on the backs.  

If the Beavers win this, the effects of this win will be epic — in recruiting, on the national scene, and for what OSU is able to do and say about their program.  It will be very difficult, especially with our injuries and playing up in Seattle. UW coach Chris Petersen has a lot of respect for Gary Andersen and will do his best to make sure his players are ready for a fight.

That being said, I don’t see this going the Beavers’ way and I am hoping for good plays, some highlights to build on, and an opportunity to get out of Washington intact and ready to take on their weird pirate sister the following week.


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