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.
Jordan Villamin (Redshirt Junior) — Wide Receiver
Vitals: 6-5 220 pounds; from Fontana, California, where he attended Etiwanda High School; Caught 46 passes for 859 yards and 10 touchdowns his senior season; Scout 3-star recruit.
2016 Stats: Played in seven games, starting three; 10 catches for 90 yards.
Why he’s the X-Factor: It’s been a frustrating season for Beavers offensively, and player-wise probably no more so than for Jordan Villamin, who not only has lost his starting spot, but after seven games has just 10 catches for 90 yards. That’s not a typo — and 41 of those yards came last week against Washington. But here’s the thing, if OSU is to get its passing offense going, Villamin has to play a major role.
This weekend should provide him an excellent opportunity to build on his performance against UW. Washington State is ninth in the Pac-12 in pass defense, and at 6-5, 220 pounds, Villamin presents a matchup problem. The key will be for Marcus McMaryion to target Villamin. And there’s no reason to think that can’t happen, after all the two connected on beautifully placed 35-yard pass against UW.
An effective and involved Villamin would be huge for the Beavers, and this Saturday could be a good springboard for him. That’s why he’s my X-factor, he not only could help the Beavers upset WSU, but also rejuvenate his season and play a role in improving OSU’s anemic passing game. That said, it would be nice to see him get at least five targets, at least of them being deep balls.
Why it’s X-Factor: Marcus McMaryion is the man at QB for the foreseeable future. And while he drew a tough first assignment in the Huskies last week, what a job he and the line did, as he was sacked only once. WSU’s defense should be a little more manageable, so if the line can do a good job of protecting McMaryion once again, he could truly settle in and find a groove.
Along the same lines, if the line continues its success in the run game, it will help the Beavers’ control the tempo of the game and help keep WSU’s offense off the field. Plus, the unit has helped the offense find some sense of consistency, on the ground at least. Tim Cook’s 100+ yard performance against UW was a great indication of their success.
But the biggest area, again, where the line can make an impact Saturday is in pass protection. McMaryion has shown that he might be the Beavers’ best hope when it comes to moving the ball through the air. So, if he gets enough time, settles in, and gets in a groove, who knows what could happen? If he goes off, the line will get more welcome attention and recognition.
Blitzers, who are your X-Factors for the Washington State game?