This weekend the Oregon State Beavers come to Pullman to take on the Cougars during the annual Dad’s Weekend at Washington State. Both the Cougars, 4-2 (2-1) and the Beavers, 4-1 (2-0) are coming off of conference wins.
Oregon State was highly touted at the beginning of the season and lost all of that momentum when they lost to Eastern Washington, an FCS school that won the National Championship in 2010. People lost a lot of faith in the Beavers after their first loss, but since then have gone undefeated. The wins that Oregon State does have are against sub-par teams. Colorado, Utah, a San Diego State team that is 2-3, and a Hawaii team that has yet to win this season are the teams that the Beavers have been able to beat, their wins are not that impressive score wise.
Last season when the Cougars and the then 14th ranked Beavers faced off it was very close to being a huge upset in favor of the Cougars. Washington State lost 19-6 in Corvallis. The Cougars secondary intercepted Sean Mannion 3 times in that game. Connor Halliday did not see the field last year against the Beavers. The Cougars come into this game as 3 point favorites.
In a side note, I really am liking coming into games as favorites as much as we have this season!
For five keys that will help the Cougars come away with a win check out my post here.
Overall the two teams match up very well with each other in all categories, they are very similar to each other in many aspects of their game.
This is what I know about Oregon State so far..
The Beavers offense is led by the nation’s leading passer in Sean Mannion. Mannion comes into this game with 2018 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and is 160 of 238 (67.2%) on the year. The Beavers signal caller has impressed many and in many cases is flying under the radar. With only two interceptions it is going to be really tough for the strong Cougar secondary to win the turnover battle.
Mannion isn’t like the other QB in Oregon, the one who plays for the Ducks, in a sense that Mannion doesn’t really run the ball too well. In 13 carries Mannion has totaled up -67 yards on the ground in four games – he didn’t carry the ball in the loss to Eastern Washington.
For the guys that Mannion throws the ball to the Beavers have some numbers that really pop off the page. Receiver Brandin Cooks has gone off for the Beavers. Cooks has 52 receptions for 807 yards and 9 touchdowns this season. In 4 of their 5 games Cooks has managed to haul in 140 yards or more, and having a 210 yard game in the Beavers overtime win against Utah while only having 9 receptions. In their opener against Eastern Washington Cooks had 196 yards on 13 receptions.
Another receiver that the Beavers have is Richard Mullaney. Mullaney has 25 receptions for 399 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mullaney really isn’t their go-to guy when it comes to throwing the ball as he has only caught 4 or less passes in 3 of their 5 games. The other two he had 7 receptions. He also has only 2 games where he has 70 or more yards. One of which coming in an overtime game.
Oregon State, like Washington State, is not a big running team. The Cougars and the Beavers rank 121 and 122 respectively in the nation when it comes to running the ball. The Beavers have two backs that have over 100 yards on the season and have only managed to find the endzone on the ground 4 times this season. Two for each of their top two running backs, Storm Woods and Terron Ward.
Woods has been injured since their September 14th game against Utah. He looks to make his return to the field this weekend.
The Beavers defense has allowed quite a bit of scoring so far this season, allowing 31.6 points per game so far. In the red zone the Beavers are failing to come up with stops. 14 times the Beavers opponents have been in the red zone, and 14 times their opponents have scored.
Sack leader Michael Doctor will not be playing this weekend, Doctor had foot surgery after their second game and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. With Doctor being gone it is a good thing for the Cougars, in just two games Doctor had 12 tackles with half of them being sacks (Doctor also didn’t play a complete game when he was injured.)
The Beavers next sack leader, who will be playing this weekend, is defensive lineman Scott Crichton. Crichton has 1.5 sacks and 22 tackles so far. I had the opportunity to play with Crichton his senior year at Foss High School in Tacoma, Washington. It was a pleasure to play right next to him and I know first hand this guy can be dangerous if given the opportunity. On the defensive line with Crichton the Beavers have Mana Rosa who has tallied up 27 tackles and 1 sack in 5 games.
Leading tackler’s Tyrequek Zimmerman (40), safety, and linebacker Jabral Johnson (38) have taken control of the defense this season. Safety Ryan Murphy has 26 tackles himself and is 4th on the team in tackles.
The Beavers defense has not been too stellar this season and will give Halliday the opportunity to have a field day with their secondary.