Oregon State beat up a pretty solid Wisconsin squad in the Beavers’ first and only game of this season. A low scoring affair, OSU out muscled, out quicked and out hit the Badgers in an old school, smashmouth football game. Now, the well rested and very well prepared Beavers have had two weeks to sharpen their incisors, looking to upset yet another highly ranked team; the #19 ranked UCLA Bruins.
Like the Bruins, The Beavers have a solid coaching staff with significant NFL experience. This team will be very well prepared to play against the spread offense of UCLA. OSU’s stout defense has had success against other spread offenses as well, so there won’t be too many surprises for them. The Beavers have good speed and power on both sides of the ball. Their D line stuffed Wisconsin’s excellent power football run game. This OSU team is more like the pro style systems of USC, Stanford as well as the Wisconsin team they defeated. Make no mistake; this OSU team has some stud playmakers on defense. LB D.J. Welch was named Pac12 Defensive Player of the Week after his performance against the Badgers. The OSU corners are highly regarded and Jordan Poyer has NFL written all over him. On the D line, the Beavers are anchored by last season’s two freshman All Americans, Scott Crichton and and Dylan Wynn. They are going to bring the heat to our two freshman tackles.
Offensively, the Beavers will try to establish a power running game to open up their passing attack. They use multiple sets featuring at times multiple wideouts or 3 TE formations and are not afraid to pass the football. QB Sean Mannion has an arm that I suspect may be bionic; it’s that strong. However, like other uber strong armed young QBs, Mannion tries to force the ball in with brute strength where he should throw the ball away. Last year he threw for 16 TDs against 18 INTs. He will have to place much smarter against the ball hawking Bruin secondary. Mannion is not very mobile, so he’ll need to read and throw quickly or spend most of the day on his back. The Beavers’ running game wasn’t spectacular against a powerful Wisconsin front 7, but it did manage to grind out the tough yards and keep the Badger D honest.
UCLA has to bring their A game Saturday. Hundley cannot afford to stare down receivers like he did against Houston. The OSU defense will make him pay dearly if he does. UCLA needs to get the run game going early on. UCLA needs to keep those two excellent OSU pass rushers at bay and give Hundley time to make a good read and throw. On defense, if the Bruins play with the same intensity and discipline against the Beavers as they did against the Cougars, they should be able to shut the OSU attack down.
Because the Beavers offense plays to the strength of the UCLA 3-4 defense, I see the Bruins winning going away, 34-10