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Oregon State Preview

Sean Mannion and the Beavers had a rough outing against Stanford. Can they rally against Cal?

Oregon State has owned California of late, winning 5 of the last 6, and most importantly 3 in a row in Cal’s home stadium – a strange aberration considering how well Cal has played at home against everyone else (not named USC).

However, the Beavers are having a rough year and despite Cal being less-than-stellar themselves, if the Beavers were to win it’d be about as stunning as any of their other recent wins over Cal (minus, perhaps, the 2007 game where Kevin Riley… oh, nevermind…).

Oregon State Offense:
The Beavers are a pass-happy offense, ranking 21st in the country through the air but only 113th on the ground. As with the Cougars last week, a good chunk of that is because the Beavers have been consistently behind.

Quarterback Sean Mannion leads the Beavers. He stands 6’5″, 204 pounds and has a big arm, and replaced the inneffective Ryan Katz early in the season. He has completed 64.3% of his yards and has 2447 passing yards on the season, but only 11 TDs against 13 interceptions.

His primary receivers are Markus Wheaton (a former Cal recruit), James Rodgers (the brother of the infamous Quizz). Wheaton is a 6’0″ burner and has 60 receptions already for 772 yards – far and away Mannion’s #1. When healthy, Rodgers is also a playmaker (5’7″, 185 pounder) in the mold of his brother, but has missed a few games which has affected his numbers – only 35 catches for 394 yards thus far. Jordan Bishop and Brandin Cooks provide depth – each with over 20 receptions themselves.

Senior Joe Halahuni is a very capable tight end, and has 22 receptions and 3 TDs on the year. He’s actually more of an H-back, standing a relatively short 6’2″ (for a tight end, anyway) and weighing in at 252.

The primary running back is Malcom Agnew, who has 83 carries for 416 yards and 5 TDs replacing Ryan McCants. Jovan Stevenson and Terron Wards provide depth, but are averaging under 4 a carry between them. Due to injuries , deficits and line ineffectivity, the running game has been an afterthought.

The offensive line is anchored by 6’4″ 305 pound senior Mike Remmers, an excellent pass protector who plays right tackle. He is assisted by 307 pound Michael Phillipp (a former Cal recruit as well) at left tackle, Josh Andrews (gaurd, at 278 pounds), Burke Ellis (285 pounds) at right gaurd and and Grant Johnson at center. This group is good at protecting Mannion, but does not have the ferocity to be effective road-graders.

On defense, the Beavers are yielding 30.8 points a game – 87th in the country. They are pretty consistent in how much they give up though – outside giving up ‘only’ 21 to the WSU Cougars, they’ve given up between 27 and 44 in every game they’ve played – a remarkably small bandwidth. If the Bears can’t put 4 TDs on the board Saturday, it will definitely qualify as a disapointment. The Beavers are giving up 171.2 yards a game on the ground, and 220.6 in the air (allowing 20 TDs while only intercepting 8 passes).

On the defensive line, the unit is anchored by Scott Chrichton (a freshman), Taylor Henry and Rusty Fernando – who have combined for 9 sacks. Both weigh in at around 240 pounds and primarily pass rushers. Chrichton leads the team with 10 tackles for loss on his own, and is a force. Dominic Glover is the only returning starter for OSU, and has been moved to DT with the departure of Stephen Paea to the NFL.

At linebacker, Michael Doctor (5’11″, 220) leads the team with 59 tackles at the weakside linebacker. Feti Unga (6’1″, 230), at MLB has 45. A few players have rotated in at right side, among them 6’2″ Cameron Collins (230 pounds). This unit is young and has had a lot of turnover – the teams leaders in tackles and sacks looks nothing like the projected starts in fall camp.

The defensive backfield is headed by safeties Anthony Watkins (57 tackles, 2 interceptions) and Lance Mitchell (55, 1). Watkins and Mitchell both have good size at 6’1″, 200+. Mitchell is fast and size, and in th epast has shown both great tackling and ballhawking ability. Watkins is a big hitter primarily.

At the corner spots, Jordan Poyer has made some plays with 3 interceptions, returning one for a TD. Poyer is simply an outstanding athlete, and has good size for a corner at 5’11″, 190. Hardin starts next to him, and is huge for a corner at 6’2″, 219. He’s got a safety’s body (a big safety at that), and has struggled in coverage.

On special teams, senior Johnny Hekker handles the punting, and has been very good, average 44.5 a punt. Trevor Romaine does kickoffs and placekicking, and has a net average of 65.73 a kickoff and has made 12 of 19 field goals and 19 of 20 point afters. Jordan Poyer does most the punt return duties, averaging a solid 17.5 a return (with a TD). Notably, Clayton York has also returned 1 punt, and that punt went for 41 yards and a TD. Poyer also handles kick return duties, with 29 returns for 655 yards.

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