Saturday, November 3, 2012
Simply put, Oregon State flat out needs to run the ball more. Storm Woods recorded a career best six yards per carry last week, yet was limited to only 15 carries, while Sean Mannion attempted 35 passes (again, four intercepted).
Memo: Trust your offensive line, Riley. As my radio cohort Justin Herr said earlier, the running attack has been your bread and butter for YEARS, yet it seems you're getting away from that with your new "phenom" of a quarterback. Storm Woods is the truth; let him run.
That being said, Oregon State is in for no "pic-a-nic basket" this evening against the stout ASU defense. As long as OSU's offensive line shows up this evening and Cody Vaz is effective (see: 3 TDs, 0 INTs) the Beavs should party tonight in Corvallis.
Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly will have plenty to say about that, though, so don't expect ASU to leave Corvallis quietly. A 169.8 passer rating and 19/5 TD/INT ratio makes the sophomore as solid of a quarterback as there is in the Pac-12 and a Jordan Poyer-less secondary could make plenty of trouble for the Beavs.
On to the predictions:
Cody Vaz: 19/28, 262, 2 TDs
Storm Woods: 184, 2 TDs
Scott Crichton, Michael Doctor: (combined) 4 sacks, 6 TFLs, 18 tackles
Taylor Kelly: 24/35, 2 INTs, 7 sacks
Oregon State 30 - Arizona State 20
The Beavers defense may be without Bednarik and Thorpe candidate Jordan Poyer for this evening's game against the Sun Devils. The senior cornerback was injured in last week's loss to the Washington Huskies up in Seattle, and while Poyer remains a gametime decision, Riley and the rest of the Oregon State secondary has prepared to move on (at least this week) without Poyer.
If Poyer's leg isn't cleared pre-game the Beavers will rely heavily on junior Sean Martin, who has caused several pass interference and holding calls this season, and untested senior Ryan Hanford, who has had a special teams role most of his career.
If Arizona State's new sophomore phenom Taylor Kelly can replicate his performance from last week against a stout UCLA secondary (25/35, 315, 4 TDs).. A strong performance against a potentially dilapidated OSU secondary wouldn't be that far off of a bet to make.
While the Oregon State defense is stout, no doubt, Arizona State has their own four-headed monster that the Beavers offensive line will have to worry about all game long. Junior defensive tackle Will Sutton (yes, he will play) is a beast all in his own and is near the tops in the Pac-12 in sacks, and with the other three.. well, OSU's O-line will have their hands full this evening.
Along with Sutton, juniors Chris Young, Junior Onyeali and sophomore Carl Bradford have combined for 45 TFL's and while the Sun Devils have lost two straight, this defense should be pretty peeved about coming to a place where they have lost four out of the last five visits.
This will be a big-time test for freshman Andrew Seumalo, who goes up against the best interior defensive lineman not named Star Lotuleilei. Sutton, who has been nursing a knee injury since ASU's loss to Oregon, should be back to 100%, meaning Seumalo and the rest of the interior offensive line will have a big task in double teaming Sutton and keeping him in check, lest the running attack have another lack luster evening like it did last week.
It was Sean Mannion's job to lose and he did just that last week in the 20-17 loss to Washington. Two weeks after knee surgery the sophomore threw four interceptions and never allowed the Beavers to get into the game until he was benched in the second half for junior Cody Vaz, who put OSU in position to win the game until the Huskies ultimately kicked the game winning field goal late in the fourth quarter.
Whether or not Mannion's knee is completely healed remains to be seen, but Vaz has been given the nod as the Beavs host Arizona State this evening at Reser Stadium. Vaz currently holds a QB rating of 154.9 and has not thrown an interception in his 69 pass attempts this season (see: career).
With it also remaining to be seen what kind of role Markus Wheaton (concussion) will play in the offense, so look for WR Brandin Cooks and TE Connor Hamlett to have expanded roles this evening, along with a lot of RB Storm Woods to start out the game.