Newly #18 ranked Oregon State travels to Tuscon for a 7pm showdown with the Arizona Wildcats on the Pac-12 Networks. Oregon St. will try to use a similar formula to what worked against the UCLA Bruins in their last road game. Arizona uses a truer spread attack but probably does not have the same running threat as OSU faced in Johnathan Franklin. Arizona QB Matt Scott is potentially a more capable runner so OSU will have to keep a close eye on him while trying to get him to throw the ball more than he would like. OSU’s defense will have another stiff test but if they play as well as they did against UCLA it will bode well for the Beavers.
Both Wheaton and Cooks came up huge for Oregon St. against UCLA with 150 and 175 receiving yards respectively. Mannion threw for about 380 yards and the running game also saw a definite step up from the Wisconsin game. Storm Woods in particular did what he needs to do all year and rushed for nearly 100 yards. He seems to be getting more and more comfortable and Agnew is a nice complement for some change of pace and to keep both backs fresher and attacking hard. OSU even implemented a few fullback plays, to add to the mix, and this was mostly successful. For OSU to beat the Arizona copper lids, they will likely need 120 plus yards of rushing. Storm Woods needs to keep the threat of breaking for a large gain for as much of the game as possible which will help Wheaton and Cooks get open and deliver some big plays.
The first two games I picked against OSU very similar to the Vegas spreads. I wanted more proof of this team’s intentions to be great in 2012. So far they have been the team playing better for about 75% of the action, which is what it will take to win the bulk of our games in 2012 against tough Pac-12 competition. I believe Arizona will play a good game this Saturday and the crowd will be pretty into it for a Saturday night telecast. I expect Rich Rod’s team to score between 17 and 27 points against Oregon St. For OSU to win I believe we can only allow 24 points at the very most. I don’t expect OSU to score more than 27 points in this game. I also think they will score between 17-27. Thus, I see this game coming down to the last 10 minutes when whoever executes the best on offense and comes up big defensively will prevail. I think OSU’s defense is good enough to get Arizona off the field or force them to take a somewhat long field goal in these crucial final moments. The Arizona field goal kicker has not looked great and I feel OSU has the advantage in making a crucial 35-45 yard field goal if it comes down to it.
Hopefully, OSU will be effective in the redzone and especially do better in punching it in from within the final 5-10 yards from the goal line. If OSU makes the most of its opportunities they may be able to stay just ahead of a touchdown ahead of Arizona for most of the game which I feel is important. Riley’s record is very good when he is leading going into the 4th quarter. I am very tempted to pick against OSU again this week simply due to the fact that the formula has been working in OSU proving otherwise, playing well and earning solid victories. I feel this game is practically a pick ‘em. I think the game will be 14-10 OSU at halftime. In the second half I think OSU scores one more TD and a field goal trying to maintain their lead. Arizona will tie the game at 24 a piece when they score their second touchdown of the 2nd half. There will be 6 minutes left in the game when Arizona starts a crucial late drive. OSU will come up just strong enough defensively to force Rich Rod into an awkward 4th and 3 or 46 yard field goal. UA will choose to go for it and our defense comes up big and makes the stop. There will now be 3:45 left in the game and OSU is able to go down to the 24 before facing 4th and 4. OSU makes a 41 yard field goal to take the lead with 1:34 to go.
OSU kicks it through the endzone and UA takes it at the 25 yard line. They get as far as the OSU 45 yard line until they again face a 4th and 3. With just 36 seconds left the OSU defense once again comes up huge and prevents the first down. OSU takes over on downs, Mannion takes a knee, the game ends, and OSU has a 3-0 start to the season. Washington St. is up next and the Beavers earn a #15 national ranking. Reser sells out for the Wazzu game and the Truax Gameday Tailgate Zone is much busier with happy Beaver fans in a mood to go 4-0. The Holiday bowl seems to be looming for Oregon State if the team keeps fighting and playing united. BDC personally calls the Holiday officials to remind them how much OSU fans would love to winter in San Diego.
Oregon St. 27, Arizona 24