Today’s highly anticipated matchup presents a huge opportunity for Oregon State to heal some of the wounds of the past two seasons. Oregon St. is not known for fast starts to a season and with their next opponent UCLA improving, they do want want to go into Pac-12 play at 0-1. Expect OSU to give it everything they have today. Storm Woods makes his running back debut for the Beavs and will seek to get 100 yards against a stingy defense. Mannion also will need a big game as general of the OSU offense and make sure he finds Wheaton, Cooks and the rest of the Oregon St. receivers in a balanced attack.
I expect this game to be within a couple of touchdowns for most of the game and for Oregon St. to have a real shot to pull off the upset and take down a #13 heavyweight. I still remember 3 or 4 years ago when OSU was ranked #13 at the end of the regular season. With Riley taking over play calling will we see less runs right up the middle with less than stellar blocking? I hope he is atleast less predictable. Woods and Agnew can make a pretty good duo as long as the offensive line is playing hard on every down. For the receivers I hope to see Obum Gwacham have a few nice grabs today and if we are really lucky a TD catch. Wheaton getting a TD would also be good since, although he had nearly 1,000 reception yards last year, he only had 1 TD.
Defensively, look for our outside linebackers to try to limit Montee Ball’s ability for the homerun. Hopefully the inside guys get enough support where we don’t see him break free on too long a run from a direct straight up run between the tackles either. Ryan Murphy is a guy who came on last year at safety and who I think will be a big playmaker for the Beavs this year. I think fans will be in a great mood for this game after checking out the Truax Tailgate Zone for a few hours before kickoff. Amazingly, fans will be watching games on the Pac-12 Networks and from all across the country on large bigscreens and enjoying the beer and wine and many food offerings. It was a great move by the Athletic Department to have the Truax Gameday Experience all ready to go this year!
It’s important that OSU hangs tight with the Badgers from the get go. I would like to see a halftime score of something like 17-14, ideally with the Beavers leading, even though it is more likely to be the other way around. OSU seems to do better taking first half leads and holding onto them, then coming back from a deficit. If they are ever down more than 10 it will be tough and if ever down more than 14 it likely won’t be the Beavs day. I will be cheering hard for OSU but I have to call this like I see it. I think Wisconsin wins 31-24 just as Lindsay Schnell predicted. I had that same score in my head a week ago.
Over 45K fans at the stadium will help and the Pac-12 really could use a big win over a national heavyweight after last night’s Utah loss to Utah St. in OT. Getting Wisconsin early as they are still taking out some kinks appears to be OK timing if OSU can get its skill players to make a few big plays at opportune moments. In my opinion, Riley’s resume does not show he usually prevails in these type of high profile games on national TV. Being at home obviosuly gives OSU a chance to make this into a USC like atmosphere but it remains to be seen if Riley can lead his team to a major win early for the program.
Wisconsin 31, Oregon St. 24