Oregon State travels to Seattle this Saturday to take on the Washington Huskies in primetime at CenturyLink Field at 7:15 on the Pac-12 Networks. At stake for OSU is a great opportunity to be the first 7-0 team in OSU history. That is the kind of mark that will make sure this team is remembered for many years to come. By beating UW, OSU would also be in a position where it would be very hard to not get Holiday Bowl or better as is now the expectation for the 2012 Beavers. OSU would have a good path to likely again playing the Civil War for the right to go to the Rose Bowl.
I believe this will be another hard fought game that OSU will have to execute in at key moments in order to secure the win. Talk of OSU rolling the Huskies seems to discount the fact that UW has lost games by a decent margin to other teams, but that those teams were Oregon, USC and a very offensively capable Arizona team at home in Tuscon. They played USC relatively close for a decent chunk of that game and have beat Stanford at home, who is a team that will play everyone tough.
Having lost a few they will be hungry. That said, Oregon State primarily needs to start quickly and try to get atleast a touchdown first half lead if possible. This will make the 2nd half more comfortable and help keep the crowd from being even more hostile. Keith Price has had his confidence shaken a little bit and if the defense plays well, OSU’s offense should be able to do enough to outscore the Huskies. I think this game will take 24 or more points from the offense to be likely to win the game as I feel UW will score around 20-21.
I think Cooks should rejoin Wheaton in production in this game as he has been great on the road so far this year. Mannion is playing smart ball control offense this year and I don’t think he will make many costly mistakes. I’m confident he will manage drives, convert first downs to maintain possession and can be productive in the red zone. Making enough first downs to control possession and get more scoring is critical as last week OSU just missed a couple that we normally see them make. That needs to get crisper and when we are in that range where 7 more yards gets us a great shot at a makeable field goal, we also must make sure we secure those yards and not be forced to punt around the opponent’s 42 yard line. That is an area you must be focused and do your best to not stall a drive.
Woods needs to play like he did in Arizona where he is striking the holes fast and aggressively. It was awesome that he got 3TDs last week but the yardage was too limited and we will need closer to 125+ yards rushing as a team against the Huskies. The Husky defense is capable but has had issues against spread and quality teams. As long as Riley is calling the plays and has a balanced attack there should be plenty of opportunity for guys to make plays and sustain good offensive drives. Defensively, our secondary needs another strong showing. They should be able to get a pick or two in this game, and especially if Crichton, Alexander and Wynn are stirring things up and pressuring Price.
This is a game that if mistakes are limited OSU should be able to pull off the 7-0 start and show the nation it is definitely a Top 10 team. The main thing is execution, staying focused and not having stupid penalties that cost us points or momentum. I am looking for a halftime score around 14-10 OSU and OSU to tack on two more TDs in the 2nd half to win the game 28-20. With Notre Dame likely to lose to Oklahoma, OSU should move up to #6 in both the AP and BCS polls this Sunday if they take care of business. Alot of good will come from beating UW such as momentum for Reser Phase 3, a chance to stay in the national title hunt, and landing a few more top recruits. This team has great leaders and they are playing united and with great purpose. I think they come through with another win, set the all-time OSU record for best start and stay among the elite teams fighting for the BCS Bowls.
Oregon State 28, Washington 20