Oregon State-TCU: Five Reasons Why Ryan Katz Is the Key To the Game
Ryan Katz sees rare game action in 2009
The moment is nearly upon us. The game dubbed the marquee showcase of Saturday's Week 1 schedule is just hours away.
Oregon State University will take on Texas Christian University in Dallas, Texas at Cowboys Stadium, also known as "Jerry World."
As the opening kickoff awaits, analysts have already begun approaching this game from every angle, outlining the strengths and weaknesses of both teams.
Perhaps the story coming out of the dark corner is the anticipated level of play for OSU sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz.
Katz is the successor to New Orleans Saints QB Sean Canfield and has little game experience, let alone in a major college football situation against a top-10 team in a stadium that holds 80,000 screaming fans.
His performance against one of the top defenses in the country could make or break the game—and the Beavers' season momentum.
For more keys to the game, click here.
5. Katz Is Inexperienced and Will Have to Support Jacquizz Rodgers
Katz played against BYU in the Beavers' bowl game last season.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
The Horned Frogs' defense will be keying on Oregon State's reliance on Jacquizz Rodgers' running abilities. If "Quizz" can't hide behind his linemen, Katz will have to become an extremely efficient passer in a hurry.
TCU uses an agile quarterback to drive its offense and spreads the offensive rushing touches between two or three backs. That kind of stability is what makes the Horned Frogs successful on offense.
Katz is certainly more versatile than Canfield, having the ability to scramble while avoiding the arms of defensive linemen. The Beavers' QB will be tested early and often by TCU's pass rush, so timing is key as well.
4. Katz Must Utilize Available Weapons
Senior Wide Receiver James Rodgers
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Katz certainly has plenty of targets and must use his downfield vision to the fullest. TCU will not offer many opportunities for deep passes and large yardage gains, so the Beavs' QB will need to flow through his receiver progression quickly.
Timing, as mentioned earlier, will be key. Making a throw after the receiver makes his cut will be detrimental to OSU's offense. Katz will need a quick release while anticipating the receiver's pattern.
3. With TCU's Focus on Rodgers Brothers, Katz Will Have Element of Surprise
Katz under center at an OSU spring practice
The QB will have a little leeway provided by TCU with Rodgers lined up in the backfield. Look for OSU to use play action and some "trickeration" against the Horned Frogs' defensive pressure.
If TCU's line collapses on a Rodgers fake hand-off, it may buy just enough time for Katz to find a target.
Katz's counterpart, Andy Dalton, has found success with timely passing and the ability to elude pressure. Katz will have to do the same on Saturday.
2. Stephen Paea Can't Do It All on His Own
OSU defensive lineman Stephen Paea in the 2009 Civil War
Tom Hauck/Getty Images
OSU defensive lineman Stephen Paea is a candidate for a handful of awards, but he and the Beavers' defense will have to have the game of their lives if Oregon State's offense can't effectively move the ball.
It has been said that if the game is high-scoring, it will be in the form of a TCU landslide victory. If the defense of OSU proves firm, Katz's load will be lighter.
Therefore Katz will have to keep the Black and Orange in the game while the defense keeps TCU at bay. Understandably, this isn't an easy task on either side.
1. If All Other Aspects Are Established Equal, Katz Is The X-Factor
Players on the TCU bench in disbelief while losing to Boise State
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
It has been said that TCU's offense has the ability to overpower OSU's defense, and OSU running back Jacquizz Rodgers will have to make a strong statement for the Heisman Trophy if the Beavers have a chance in this game.
Oregon State will have to stop the running attack of the Horned Frogs, and if the score is low, one factor remains: Katz has to carry his team with confidence, intensity, and intelligence. The young QB could very well be the X-Factor in this game, with all the other anticipated aspects of this game set in place.
Kickoff for this game is set for Saturday, September 4 at 7:45 pm EST on ESPN.