Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE
The Oregon State Beavers have a crucial game upcoming with the Stanford Cardinal.
Looking ahead to this week's matchup with Stanford, what are the matchups do the Beavers have to win? Are there any mismatches that concern you?
Jon Irwin, Northwest Sports Beat - They have to win the coaching battle of Derek Mason (Stanford defensive coordinator) vs. Mike Riley. The Cardinal are so good against the run, and very good at getting to the quarterback. Riley has to find a way to run his game plan against an intricate defense.
I'm most concerned about linebacker Trent Murphy. He leads the Cardinal in sacks and tackles for loss. Isaac Seumalo is still having issues picking up blitzes, and he has to be aware of Murphy at all times.
Andy Wooldridge, Building the Dam - The Oregon St. offensive line vs. the portion of the Stanford front 7 that rushes is the battle the Beavers must win. Handling either blitzes or base rushed, either of which could happen on any given play, is going to be critical. Good pre-snap reads are a must.
James Crabtree-Hannigan, Building the Dam - I don't think Cody Vaz can make it through another pass protection performance like they had against Arizona St. He was hit early, hit hard, and hit often. Stanford's pass rush is dangerous, like the Sun Devil's, and may stunt the Beavers' offensive output, as ASU did during the first quarter.
What is your score prediction for Saturday's game against Stanford and why?
Jon Irwin, Northwest Sports Beat - 20-14 Beavers. This game will come down to two things the Beavers do very well: exposing a thin secondary on offense, and using that run defense to make their opponent one-dimensional. As long as they can do that, they should have no problems squeaking out a win.
James Crabtree-Hannigan, Building the Dam - 21-17 Cardinal. The Beavers fold in Palo Alto. Vaz struggles and is eventually benched, but Mannion doesn't fare much better. The Beaver offense can't take advantage of yet another great defensive showing.