OSU finishes the 2012 regular season this Saturday at 11:30am against the Nicholls St. Colonels in a game rescheduled due to Hurricane Isaac. What should fans expect for the OSU closer? I would say a dominating performance that shows the Colonels they are not able to hang with the talent of the Pac-12.
I don’t expect OSU to have the same mistakes and turnovers that happened last week in the Civil War. Look for Storm Woods to establish the running game early as Mike Riley makes sure he sees a return to a balanced attack on offense. This should prevent the likelihood of stalling out too quickly on many drives and keeping any Nicholls St. hopes alive. We will probably see the OSU trademark fly sweeps a couple of times in the first half with both Wheaton and Cooks. Also likely is quick patterns with higher percentages and making sure we are in very few 3rd and long situations. Defensively, Crichton, Wynn and Poyer should be difference makers.
This is definitely a game where OSU should be looking to score 28+ points by halftime. In past seasons a quick first half with a solid lead was all it took to cruise away with a comfortable victory in an easy 2nd half. I want to see less cruising in the 2nd half of this game regardless of the margin of lead. Riley and Co. owe Beaver Nation a high octane victory after last year’s debacle. Ideally we should be looking to tack on 3 more touchdowns in the 2nd half and play full on, trying to score every possible TD, until the final few minutes. The players need to gain confidence during this game and go into either the Holiday or Alamo Bowl with a full head of steam.
My hunch is OSU will have a 28-7 halftime lead and win this game 49-14. That is coming up just short of the 50+ points I would like to see but Riley is kinda predictable and I expect he will go soft for too much of the 4th quarter. I don’t like that, as I think OSU benefits mentally from every touchdown they score as a team that expects to win every game they play in. I somewhat reluctantly will predict the full 5 TD margin of victory I think OSU should win by to really get Beaver Nation and the team confident for the biggest bowl game yet under Riley.
Offensively, look for Oregon State to open it up and show fans that the Beavers have swagger and are amongst the best of the Pac-12. Attendance this year is averaging about 45,300 at 99%+ of capacity. Impressive numbers that should help Phase 3 get built in the next few years. I expect Beaver Nation comes out and supports the team at 44K+ for Nicholls State and that Riley will indeed play both Mannion and Vaz. My belief at this time is that Vaz gives OSU the best chance in the bowl. Mannion is turning it over way too much and his growth in that respect has not been much. Mistakes have to be limited against the stiff competition we will face in San Diego or San Antonio.
Nicholls St. won’t be a complete cakewalk, but it is game OSU should and must dominate from start to finish. Mannion has to show he is focused and serious about playing without turnovers. This time I belive Riley should have a super short leash and after any interception Vaz must be sent in. Riley should have the team ready to go for this one. I think Woods will go for 100+ yards rushing and Ward, Wheaton, Cooks, Cummings and Mullaney all play well. Seumalo will help anchor the line and create running lanes that should have OSU at 175+ yards rushing for the game. A blowout win could be the difference to sending us to the Alamo Bowl for those who prefer that bowl. San Diego is a great destination, but I am starting to lean to the Alamo for two reasons. First, because we do open in San Diego next year. Second, because some of the latest projections have Oklahoma St. in the Alamo Bowl and I think the country would love to see a Battle of the OSUs. I think that matchup would surprise in its ratings.
OSU 49, Nicholls St. 14