A lot of Beaver fans are optimistic that a problematic and lengthy losing trend will take its first steps to reversing itself this weekend. I believe it will be a good game but I feel the odds are the Riley jinx continues. I want nothing more than to see James Rodgers, Markus Wheaton and Joe Halahuni provide leadership and allow us to cruise to a comfortbale victory, but I see this as still a mistake prone Beavers.
In order to win Mannion has to complete atleast 65% of his passes and even more importantly he can’t have more than one interception. Otherwise I am fairly confident this will be another loss. While the defense seemed to improve last week and the team played with more passion there were still disturbing facts. To me the most obvious was that even though the players seemed to be putting forth pretty good effort trying under the Riley way, the results were not good for the majority of the game where we were outscored 35-7 after leading 13-0.
We have seen Beavers games hinge on key moments and Poyer’s punt fumble, despite his interceptions, was the moment it all began to accelerate downhill for the Beavs last week. Besides that Poyer had a good game but costly mistakes are just not something OSU can afford. Hekker promised this week he will try to punt more like he does in practice and not try to “kill” the ball which he admits has caused a couple shanks. Let’s hope. We are told Terron Ward had a good week of practice but so far this year Stevenson has shown more potential and consistency. I think Ward could be effective in spells but I don’t see him breaking many 12-15 yarders this game or this year. Still, I would assume medical redshirt Agnew at this point so I do hope Ward will get more comfortable and productive for OSU in Pac-12 play.
This game should be back and forth with OSU perhaps holding the lead for over half the game. Still, in the end, I believe Nick Foles will do enough to wear down our pass defense which has not been very good at all. They are showing more signs but I do not think they will prevent Arizona from multiple longer drives and TDs. My hunch is Arizona takes the lead in the 4th quarter for good and we will see another game where Riley cannot get his team to make a game winning drive in crunch time when it matters most. Thus, I will say Arizona 34, OSU 27. It will be a very poor 0-5 start for Oregon St. I hope I am wrong but this team still has not shown it knows how to close a team out or is savvy enough to keep punching an opponent on the ropes. Therefore I feel it will be OSU taking the deciding punch in the 4th and not able to recover.
Arizona 34, OSU 27