Players to watch
#14 FR 6’3” 198-pound QB Nick Mitchell
2015 stats: 51 of 106 for 571 yards, 5.39 YPA, 3 TD, 4 INT, 95.2 RAT, 33 carries for 68 yards, 2.1 YPC, 16 long, 1 TD
Sneak Peak: Mt. Si product Nick Mitchell was thrust into a starting role following an injury to Seth Collins. Mitchell, a redshirt freshman, has had a somewhat rough time, completing less than half of his throws and throwing four interceptions in as many games. However, looking closer at his performances, Mitchell combined for 385 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against Utah and California. He’s not the runner Seth Collins was, but he can still pick up some yards running the ball. Making him uncomfortable can cause him to play more like he did in his other two games, where he averaged 103 yards per game and threw a total of four interceptions.
Husky Comparison: Jake Browning
#24 SR 6’0” 207-pound RB Storm Woods
2015 stats: 95 carries for 486 yards, 5.1 YPC, 38 long, 1 TD, 12 catches for 162 yards, 13.5 YPC, 36 long
Sneak Peak: After nearly breaking the 1000-yard mark as a freshman in 2012, Storm Woods was been limited to 124 rushes per season as a sophomore and junior. While it is incredibly unlikely Woods will explode for 514 yards and finally hit enter the thousands, he will certainly be relied on as the primary source of potency for the Oregon State offense in the absence of Seth Collins. Woods is a shifty runner that can power through weak attempts at tackles. Containing him will be the key to containing the Beaver offense.
Husky Comparison: A bigger Myles Gaskin
#13 SO 6’5” 231-pound WR Jordan Villamin
2015 stats: 38 catches for 569 yards, 15.0 YPC, 74 long, 5 TD
Sneak Peak: Sophomore standout Jordan Villamin leads the Beavers in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and is tied for the team lead in receptions. Because of his height, strength, and speed Villamin is a deep threat as well as a lock in for a multitude of targets.
Husky Comparison: Brayden Lenius
#6 JR 5’9” 174-pound WR Victor Bolden
2015 stats: 38 catches for 366 yards, 9.6 YPC, 36 long, 2 TD, 33 carries for 170 yards, 5.2 YPC, 21 long
Sneak Peak: After leading the team in receptions a year ago, Victor Bolden finds himself tied atop the charts with Jordan Villamin. Bolden is also a threat to run the ball, garnering 170 rushing yards in just 33 carries. He touches the ball seven times a game and is a staple in the OSU offense.
Husky comparison: A more experienced and polished Chico McClatcher
#8 JR 6’2” 233-pound LB Rommel Mageo
2015 stats: 70 total tackles, 2.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 2 INT, 1 PD, 2 FF
Sneak Peak: Junior backer Rommel Mageo does it all for the Beaver defense. He’s responsible for four of the eleven takeaways forced by OSU. He also leads the team in tackles at 70. Whether he’s stopping the run, getting after the quarterback, or getting hands in passing lanes Rommel Mageo makes his presence felt.
Husky Comparison: Azeem Victor
#32 FR 6’1” 216-pound LB Jonathan Willis
2015 stats: 49 total tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 1 FF
Sneak Peak: While Jonathan Willis hasn’t started every game for the Beavers he still leads the team in tackles for a loss. He’s also tied for the team lead in sacks at two. Willis is a playmaker at ‘FLASH’ linebacker for the Beavers, making an impact felt off the edge.
Husky comparison: Cory Littleton
#14 JR 6’3” 208-pound DB Treston Decoud
2015 stats: 36 total tackles, 1.5 TFL, 4 PD
Sneak Peak: Big corners can be tricky for receivers and quarterbacks. Tristan Decoud supplies evidence to the aforementioned claim. His strength and size on the edge make it hard for receivers to get open and easy for him to get his hands on passes. He’ll be a handful for the Husky receivers.
Husky comparison: Kevin King
What the Beaver offense looks like
Oregon State has had more than its share of offensive struggles this season. Their 17.9 points and 335.8 yards per game both are at the bottom of the conference rankings. Their primary offensive issue is their inability to throw the ball. The Beavers average only 160.2 yards per game; that’s not even within 40 yards of the Utes, who are the next least effective passing team. Oregon State is the only team that has thrown for fewer than 10 touchdowns this season. Their nine-to-nine touchdown-interception ratio is also the worst in the Pac-12. Their rushing attack is better, but not a lot better. Only Washington State, who has run the ball 148 times fewer than the Beavers, has fewer than OSU’s 10 rushing touchdowns. To hurt a struggling offense even more, quarterback Seth Collins, who leads the team in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, passing yards, and passing touchdowns, will likely be sidelined for the rest of the season with an injury. Nick Mitchell has thrown four interceptions in the four games he’s played and has completed less than half of his passes. Senior tailback Storm Woods will likely take on the burden of carrying this offense for the remainder of the season.
What the Beaver defense looks like
While the Beavers offense struggles more throwing than running, their defense has the opposite issue. The 212.7 yards per game they allow on the ground is the worst in the Pac-12. Oregon State also gives up more than two rushing touchdowns an outing. Only Arizona has a worse turnover margin than the Beavers and a large reason for OSU’s poor turnover margin is they’ve only forced 11 takeaways. The Beavers are around the middle of the conference in passing yards allowed per game, where they rank sixth, as well as passing touchdowns allowed per game, where they are eighth. They operate primarily out of the 3-4 and nickel packages. The key to scoring against this defense is establishing the run game and sticking to it.
Keys to the game
- Show up – Without a single win in conference play Oregon State needs to find a new impetus to finish the season strong. With Oregon looming, the Huskies could be the Beavers’ only chance to close the season on a proud note. This is a game Oregon State needs to play like it matters a lot
- Get after Jake Browning – This seems to be a key every week for teams that face Washington. That’s probably for good reason. Getting Jake Browning out of his comfort zone could help a Beaver defense that allows the second most yards per game in the PAC-12 slow the Huskies down.
- Find a way to slow down the run game – Stopping the run hasn’t been Oregon State’s forte this season. They haven’t been able to meet runners in the backfield or limit opposing backs from finding the end zone. With the emergence of Myles Gaskin for Washington, OSU will have to find an answer to their run defense struggles before it’s too late.
- Connect on big plays – Last weekend was a perfect example of how the tables can turn quickly. Washington left more than a few points on the board in the first half and it came back to bite them hard. Not letting opportunities go to waste is essential in putting a team away early.
- Stay focused – If Washington takes is able to take care of business this week they’ll need to win the Apple Cup to make a bowl game. Considering OSU hasn’t won a game in conference play it is easy to look forward to next week against the Cougars. The Huskies need to show up ready to get the job done. Next week doesn’t matter without a ‘W’ this week.
- Run for Myles – Oregon State has allowed the most rushing yards in the conference. Myles Gaskin and the rest of the Husky backfield could be in for a big day if Washington can find a groove early.