Beaver Byte has teamed up with San Diego Sports Domination for a GameDay Q&A Special…
A: There are quite a few strengths to the 2013 vintage of the Oregon St. offense. First and foremost are captains QB Sean Mannion and WR Brandin Cooks. Both are playing like Level 5 studs right now. Cooks is literally the highest rated receiver in the nation in terms of the primary statistical categories. He is #1 in the nation in total receptions and receiving TDs. He is #2 in the country in total receiving yards and #4 in receptions per game. Sean Mannion just won the Manning Award for the nation’s best QB of last week. His stats for total yards and TDs are at the very top in national categories as well. The O-Line with Andrew Seumalo returning last week is a pretty solid unit who San Diego will have to work to out-man and get the pressure it takes to rattle Mannion. With RB Storm Woods out due to a concussion sustained late against Utah, Terron Ward will be expected to pick up the slack for a running game that has struggled. Jovan Stevenson may get his first significant carries in more than 2 years as backup and freshman RB Chris “Downtown” Brown is also expected to see action. The tight ends and X-receiver Richard Mullaney are also very good for OSU so the Aztecs should have their hands full in Qualcomm as Riley returns to a place where he too often did not have his best performances.
A: Not defensive coordinator Mark Banker. He has received a ton of criticism so far this year and primarily due to the embarassing loss OSU suffered in Week 1 against Eastern Washington and QB Vernon Adams who ran wild against the Beaver D. The word on the street is that Banker knows little about stopping a mobile QB. Adams was not even stopped for a single drive during the entire game and OSU’s lone stop of a drive against EWU came while he was getting an IV shot in the basement of nearby Gill Coliseum. Travis Wilson of Utah also ran for 149 yards. I don’t believe SDSU presents too much of a mobile QB threat and that is good news of OSU doing enough on offense to make up for some defensive shortcomings that Beaver Nation is still anticipating. Freshmen DBs Steven Nelson and Sean martin combined for 3 picks last week and winning the turnover battle was key to the OSU victory in OT 51-48 over the Utes. Scott Crichton is a pretty good defensive end but Dylan Wynn is a bit overrrated. He lacks the speed to contain a mobile threat and sometimes chooses poor angles of attack. OSU has a habit of overpursuing a QB at times. Ryan Murphy is a quality safety and OSU will look for a big game from him, senior CB Rashaad Reynolds and LB Jabral Johnson who leads the team in tackles.
Q: What is the key to victory for Oregon State?
A: The key to winning for Oregon State is to keep their composure and let their leaders shine. As long as the defense can limit big plays, the OSU offense is likely to have too much firepower for the Aztecs to keep pace. If our CBs can get a pick or two in this game then I especially think this is a ‘W’ for OSU. Mark Banker’s defense works best against traditional pocket passers who aren’t too quick. Even though SDSU is going with a different QB this week I don’t expect him to torch the Beaver defense. Cooks and Mannion are going to have their numbers and Aztec fans will see that players like WR Richard Mullaney and TE Connor Hamlett are pretty reliable targets in the passing attack. The best chance for SDSU is to get a couple picks off Mannion. That won’t be easy as he is making much better decisions and so far has learned from some mistakes of a year ago. I don’t expect more than 100 yards on the ground for OSU but we won’t need more either. Play manageable defense and let the Cookie Monster (Cooks) and the rest of the offense lead the team to what I expect should be a 13 or 14 point margin of victory for the Beavers unless Riley really does have ghosts left in San Diego.
Q: What is the strength of the San Diego State Offense?
A: That is a great question. The San Diego State Offense is off to a horrible start this season. San Diego State returned a good quarterback from last season, Adam Dingwell, who took over for injured Oregon State transfer Ryan Katz. The Aztec offensive line has had major problems blocking and that lead to the best running back in the Mountain West Conference Adam Muema being injured. The strength of the Aztec offense has always been the run game and the Aztecs have not run the ball well at all this season with Muema out. Muema will be the starting running back for SDSU in tomorrow’s game. The Aztecs will use the third different configuration of the offensive line so far this season.
A: San Diego State has the best linebackers in the Mountain West Conference. The Aztec linebacking core is led by senior Jake Fely. Fely is on many different awards lists and led the Aztecs in tackles last season. The second best linebacker on the team is Derrick Largent and will not play against Oregon State (injured). As previously stated the strength of the Aztec defense is stopping the run game. The Aztecs have some of the best linebackers in the nation and have a great group of defensive linemen. The Aztecs are starting two very young and in experienced defensive backs and they got beat horribly by the Eastern Illinois and Ohio State receivers in 19-40 and 7-42 respective losses. Those defensive backs must play good man coverage and not allow the long ball.
Q: What is the key to victory for San Diego State?
A: San Diego State has few keys to victory that revolve around the Aztec offense. The Aztecs can not give up turnovers as they must score every time they get the ball if they plan on keeping up with the Oregon State offense. The Aztecs need to get the ground game back online and convert third down conversions. The Aztec offense will need to score on just about every position in order to keep up with Oregon State. That is the best way to take pressure off the Aztec defense.
It is imperative if the Aztecs want to win this game that the offensive line must step up and protect the quarterback. Rocky Long named backup quarterback Quinn Kaehler as the starting quarterback. Kaehler completed 22 of his 36 passes for 216 yards, one touchdown and one interception in his Aztec debut.
Prediction: Look for Oregon State to pull this out and get to 3-1. The game will have some drama as all Riley contests do, but the OSU offense should be too much for the inexperienced secondary of the Aztecs. (Kickoff at 4:30 on CBSSN)
Oregon State 41, San Diego St. 27