OA's keys to the Washington State game

This is a must win. A must win for the program, for the season, and for Coach Riley's job security.

The CAN RILEY signs are already making appearances in the stadium just three and a half games in, and you can feel the discontent in the air...yet after watching the tape of the game, there's a strange sense that things just don't have to be this bad.

During the Cal and  Boise State game, there was a weird "snowball effect." And I'm not talking about a number 37 type of snowball effect, I'm talking about heads hanging low and leaders not emerging.

A win today means more than just a finger in the dam-- it means stopping the bleeding, it means new life-- a win today means that the season can be salvaged.

In lieu of anything pithy or witty to add, I'll just move on to the keys to the game:

1 - Limit Mismatches.
Washington State has wide receivers, and is not afraid to go four and five wide. Banker has his work cut out for him, and as long as Oregon State plays the 4-3 in a left/right formation instead of strong/weak, the potential for mismatches looms large.

Whatever Coach Banker has to do to get his players in a position to succeed and avoid having his mike backer cover a fast RB out of the backfield on a wheel route, he has to do this week.

2 – Throw Touchdowns.
It doesn't matter if Matt Moore has a 90% completion ratio if none of those completions result in six. Swashbuckling, reckless Matt Moore at least gave us a chance to win the game.  This ultra conservative Matt Moore who likes his safety valve more than his #1 or #2 option isn't putting the team in a position to succeed.

Throw the ball deep. Keep the defense honest. Get some points on the board.

3 – Gamble.
Bend-but-don't-break isn't working for this defense. Sabby Piscitelli is everywhere, leading the defense against Cal with a stellar performance netting nine tackles and a pick. The rest of the defense needs to take a cue from #24.

The corners need to gamble on a pick or two because Brink, for all his talents, does not have arm strength for a virtue. Jump the out route. Offense, throw the ball deep. Go for the jugular. Safe and consistent is not where we want to be today.

Reviewing last week's keys:

  1. Stop the Run: The defense gets a passing grade on run defense. Holding Marshawn Lynch to just a shade over 100 yards and Forsett to under 20 is a big step up from the last quality running back the Beavs faced in Ian Johnson. Big improvement.

  2. Get the 12th Man in the Game: The crowd showed up, was loud, and then had nothing to cheer about. OSU failed to force Cal to punt until the third quarter last week, and then they only managed it once.

  3. Go Sammie Go: Tough to get Stroughter involved in the return game when he only has one opportunity to return a punt - and only when the game is already well-in-hand. 3 catches for 35 yards is not heavy involvement either - particularly when Cal put 9 in the box 80% of the snaps and left Stroughter in 1 on 1 coverage. Sammie is a playmaker. Get the ball in his hands and good things will happen.

Come Early, Be Loud, Stay Late.

I'll be at Sarg's tailgater before the game. Come by and say "hi."

OrangeAttack can be reached at orangeattack@beaverfootball.com.

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