Oregon State vs. Washington: 6 Reasons the Beavers Roll Past the Huskies
This Saturday, Oregon State takes on Washington in the hopes of going 7-0. With the return of their quarterback and a shutdown defense, the Beavers should have no problem steamrolling the Huskies.
OSU has been this season's best underdog story, with each win bringing them closer to the best season in team history.
With plenty of momentum leading into Saturday's contest, there is no doubt the Beavers can keep it going.
Mannion Is Back
Oregon State is riding a lot of momentum into Seattle, enjoying its best start in over 100 years. But after struggling against Utah, the offense could use a boost.
Here it comes, in the form of returning starting quarterback Sean Mannion.
Due to a knee injury, Mannion has been out for the Beaver's last two games. While a two week recovery seemed impossible, the team has already announced Mannion as their starting quarterback for Saturday.
While replacement Cody Vaz looked great in his first start against BYU, he struggled last week against Utah. Without Mannion, the Beavers have fallen from the 8th best passing team in the FBS to 13th.
Needless to say, with Mannion back the Beavers should have no problem getting their offense back on track.
Huskies' Run Defense
The Huskies have been horrible at stopping the run this season. Over the last three weeks, they're allowing 260 yards on the ground per game.
The Beavers don't feature an elite running back, but starter Storm Woods has shown flashes of greatness. He had 183 all-purpose yards against Arizona in Week 5 and three touchdowns last week against Utah.
Oregon State is an elite passing team. This will force Washington to play it safe in the secondary and dare the Beavers to run on them.
That strategy hasn't worked for the Huskies at all this season, and it won't work this Saturday against Woods and crew.
With 48 catches for 654 yards and six touchdowns, Markus Wheaton is enjoying a great final season as a Beaver.
He had his best game of the year last season against Washington, catching seven passes for 125 yards while rushing for 66 yards on three carries.
The Huskies have a strong secondary, but top receivers are finding ways to exploit them. And outside of USC's corp of wideouts, they've yet to face anyone as dangerous as Wheaton.
OSU will find a way to exploit UW's secondary, and that starts with Wheaton.
The Beavers don't have a great pass defense, but they still have one of the best cornerbacks in the country in Jordan Poyer.
Poyer has two interceptions in three career games against UW. This season, he leads the Pac-12 in interceptions with five—including one returned for a touchdown.
This does not bode well for Husky quarterback Keith Price, who has been floundering as of late. He has thrown eight picks on the season, with two thrown in each of his last three games.
The new dime package employed by OSU has been great at confusing opposing quarterbacks. If Price loses his composure, it'll be a good day for Poyer.
A good team finds a way to win, even when struggling. Often times, that means getting the ball back and making something happen.
One look at these teams and it's easy to see they're on drastically different levels when it comes to turnovers.
Oregon State currently ranks first in the conference in turnover differential at plus-10, while Washington is tied for ninth at minus-3.
I've already talked about Price vs. Poyer, and Scott Crichton up front. That's not even touching on Rashaad Reynolds and Dylan Wynn.
With their ability to get the ball back, it allows the Beavs to dominate time of possession and run their tempo. Things shouldn't go any different against the Dawgs.
That Dam of a Defense
As they've done all season long, the Beavers will turn to their defense to anchor another win.
Washington is dependent on running back Bishop Sankey, who's averaging 4.7 yards per carry with seven touchdowns. He faces a Beavers unit that is fourth in the country in run defense.
They're a unit that's great up front, led by sophomore Scott Crichton—who leads the Pac-12 in sacks and tackles for loss.
That's unfortunate for a Husky team that has had major issues with protecting the quarterback.