I would say at this point this game is a toss up for many Beaver fans. Clearly most fans are very disappointed by the season so far but there are pockets who believe OSU has Cal’s number and will add to their winning streak against them. A few more think this OSU squad hasn’t proved much and believe Cal will come out on top against an Oregon St. team that has not proved often it can finish. I fall in this latter camp.
I think it will be an entertaining game but OSU does not have enough leadership to likely get the ‘W’ against a Cal team with plenty of seniors who are more than ready to beat OSU for the first time in their college careers. Wulff said Cal has great athletes but I think that was quite influenced by the fact that he is currently #1 on the coaches hot seat list. You have to bring the excuses when you are losing as OSU fans are well aware.
I think James Rodgers will do pretty well in this game and get closer to setting more OSU career records. To win Wheaton and Bishop also must show well. Mannion can’t afford more than 1 turnover and a likely pass happy OSU team will probably have trouble keeping it to one turnover. What we could use to win is causing a couple turnovers from Cal. Cal’s QB Maynard looks like he could trick a Beaver defense that is still suffering growing pains. Cal will try to run so realistically we should ‘stack the box’ for stretches and make Maynard prove how well he can be through the air. Our pass defense numbers are better than our run defense numbers anyway. Hopefully Riley and Banker will learn something from the Utah game and make quicker adjustments. There is nothing that says you have to wait til halftime to make real adjustments if it seems like it is the best bet.
I would love for OSU to scrape out the win but I think we will give up 170-200 yards rushing against Cal that will prove too much. I stand by earlier comments I have made stating OSU needs atleast 100 yards of rushing or they are incapable of beating just about any team in FBS. Agnew needs atleast 75 and Ward also needs to contribute so we get over 100 yards. Without some run production we will be far too predictable and this offense just will struggle to sustain long drives. The law of averages will kick in and prevent OSU from winning without it. Hopefully Mannion will get 275 yards passing but we do need decent balance.
I see OSU being behind 17-10 at halftime and ultimately losing 31-20. Maybe at one point we get it to 24-20 and that could explain OSU picking up a field goal in the second half. But that is as close as it will be and Cal probably takes this by 10 or more as OSU gets too pass dependent too quick yet again. Langsdorf has been pretty predictable and despite flashes that will be the case for most of this game as well. Beavers fall to 2-8 without a great team effort.
Cal 31, OSU 20