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Oregon State vs. Arizona State: Beavers Try To Engineer Strong Finish

Building The Dam and Northwest Sports Beat let us know their thoughts on the game.

Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

Looking ahead to Oregon State vs. Arizona State, what do you see as the big keys to winning the football game?

Andy Wooldridge, Building the Dam: Offensive efficiency is going to be the key. Arizona St. is capable of putting up quite a few points, and Oregon St. is going to have to score every opportunity it gets. And most of those scores need to be touchdowns, not field goals.

With Vaz starting at quarterback again, the Beavers need to avoid getting behind, and in turn avoid letting any uncertainty creep in.

James Crabtree-Hannigan, Building the Dam: Force the Arizona State defense to respect the run. Their 3rd ranked pass defense needs absolutely no help to contain an offense, and if Storm Woods can't get going, this one could get ugly. Putting a one-dimensional offense against that defense will not have a good result for the Beavers.

Contain Taylor Kelly. The Beavers have a tradition of struggling to keep mobile quarterbacks under control, but they can't afford to let Taylor Kelly extend drives with his legs. The Beavers have improved this year, holding UCLA QB Brett Hundley to 32 yards rushing and BYU's Riley Nelson to 29. Taylor Kelly is perfectly capable of beating you with his arm, but giving him too much running room could spell doom for Oregon State.

The last key for the Beavers is to include Brandin Cooks. Especially if Markus Wheaton isn't 100%, rediscovering Cooks is vital to the offense's success. He had just 1 reception in the Utah game, and 7 of his 9 receptions against Washington came in the second half. Cody Vaz needs to find Cooks early and find Cooks often.

Jonathan Irwin, Northwest Sports Beat: Running the football, and establishing an offensive rhythm early. The Beavers go from the second best pass defense in the conference, to the best pass defense in the conference. If Riley comes out expecting to sling it down field again, the Beavers aren't going to win. They've got to get a full, healthy, game out of Storm Woods. Early reports say he'll be ready for Saturday.