The Beavers are off to the Rose Bowl to take on the UCLA Bruins. As they face the Beavers, where do they stack up position by position with the Mid-Valley’s finest:
Mike Fafaul vs. Marcus McMaryion
Mike Fafaul is having an up and down season with a 55%+ completion percentage, while passing for 964 yards, 9 TDs with 9 INT.
Marcus is also having an up and down season with a 51%+ completion percentage, while passing for 688 yards, 4 TDs with 4 INT.
This may be the only time this year that we have this result, but this is an even group in my opinion. Fafaul will be asked to do more because UCLA is a passing team, but the quality of play is about equal.
Soso Jamabo vs. Art Pierce
Jamabo has rushed for 272 yards (3.6 ypc) for 3 TDs this year. He also has caught 15 passes for 196 yards..
The Beavers are most likely going to be without leading rusher Ryan Nall so freshman backup Art Pierce will get the nod. Pierce has rushed for 307 yards (5.6 YPC) and 2 TDs. He has caught 10 passes for 42 yards (4.2 YPC).
OSU is one of the best rushing teams in the conference and Art has been a great runner for the Beavers in his action this year. UCLA has talented backs, but they are mired in the Klemm mess at offensive line and an offensive system that was ill advised and has since evolved mid-season. Offensively, UCLA needs help and they are not getting it from their run game.
Darren Andrews/Nate Iese/Jordan Lasley vs. Victor Bolden/Seth Collins/Timmy Hernandez
As said, UCLA is a passing team and their leading receivers have accounted for 1314 yards and 11 TDs. All three of their leading receivers had receptions of over 35 yards and they have 8 receivers with over 170 yards receiving.
For the Beavers, Victor Bolden has been their most consistent receiver and has become the primary target of Marcus McMaryion. With the Beavers top three receivers accounting for 1026 yards and 4 TD’s. The Beavers have struggled to pass all year.
Oregon State has troubles passing the ball, but their best receiver in Bolden is one of the best receivers in the whole conference. He would start on any team in the conference. Past that, OSU has had flashes from some receivers, but not a lot of consistency. They also have issues getting separation.
UCLA’s offensive line is reeling this year. They have had coaching issues with the Adrian Klemm mess and have had so much change to their offensive scheme to the point that they are probably going to see significant changes on the offensive side of the ball this off-season (for the second straight year). They also have had a rash of injuries this season. With Toran and McDermott likely to play, they get a boost, but I am not sure it will be enough.
The Beavers are getting better and have an identity of a tough front five that will play hard snap to whistle. They are not an elite group, but no one is excited to play them. The Beavers are one of the best rushing teams in the conference and have gotten explosive plays against the best defenses in the conference.
UCLA has so many issues up front. They are decent pass blockers, but their run blocking is a mess. OSU doesn’t have the same talent but are a far better line this year.
UCLA has an elite defensive line that has threats on their pass rush on each side as well as a potential first round draft pick in Vanderdoes at defensive tackle. They have a mid-conference level 22 sacks, but also get enough pressure to help aid the 3rd ranked pass defense in the conference.
OSU is the 114th ranked rush defense in the country and is giving up 400 more yards rushing than they have rushed all season. Every team from Idaho State to Washington has had success on the ground against the Beavers. With the 12th ranked sack attack in the conference (just 13) and team sack leader Bright Ugwoebgu out with an injury, this may not be close.
OSU just doesn’t have the defensive front seven that UCLA does. A few recruiting cycles may change this, but for now UCLA is pretty far ahead.
The athletic trio of Cameron Judge, Kenny Young and senior Jayon Brown 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 also having a great season in coverage accounting for four interceptions, six passes broken up and ten passes defended
OSU’s starting linebackers have seen a ton of injuries at their Linebacking crew. Both outside linebacker spots have seen a ton of attrition and the loss of sack leader Bright Ugwoebgu is not a good thing for the already thin defensive unit.
OSU right now is an effort based team. Everyone is giving their all and are doing a surprisingly good job. That being said, UCLA is one of the better linebacker units in the conference.
The third ranked pass defense in the conference has the second most interceptions in Pac-12 play. They have been playing extremely well against the pass this season.
Oregon State’s secondary is solid, but has been dinged up pretty good and they are seeing a lot of you that play. Devin Chappell and Treston Decoud are playing at all conference levels, and Xavier Crawford, Brandon Arnold and Jalen Moore are all showing signs of being great players for the Beavers.
Had UCLA not been such a great secondary this year I would actually put the play of the Beavers secondary against most of the secondary play in the conference.
When I watch UCLA’s special teams, I feel like they are a microcosm of their team. They have talent at kicker and in their return game, but they also just seem sloppy and unorganized. The kick return by Utah really cost them the game and was just poor discipline by the Bruins.
The Beavers have struggled kicking field goals, with Owens hitting just 10 of 17 field goals this season. The Beavers punting averages have gone down and their return game, though featuring one of the better return men in the game with Bolden, has seemed to be held in check the last few weeks.
The kicking game for the Beavers has really struggled this year and of late has been detrimental to the outcome of games.
If UCLA was a rushing team, I would say that this game would be a loss for the Beavers. The UCLA offensive line has not been able to produce and their ground game is very predictable. They have a decent passing game and some athletic weapons, but their offense really plays to the Beavers strengths. I am not sure they will be able to move the ball very well this week against the Beavers. On the flip side, what the Beavers do well on offense, UCLA struggles at times to defend. Unfortunately it looks like Nall won’t be able to play so the Beavers will be down one of the better backs in the conference. If the Beavers get down early, I am not sure that the Oregon State passing game can move the ball against UCLA’s defense.
The Beavers passing game versus the Bruins pass defense is what makes me feel like UCLA will pull this one out. It is a road game at night and the Beavers are down a lot of contributors and will be travelling pretty lightly in terms of total numbers.