Is this the breakthrough week for the Beavs?
Let's dispose of all of the usual cliches at the beginning of this post.:
1. Both the Bruins and Beavers need this win badly.
2. Oregon State is so close yet so far this season
3. Chip Kelly looks frustrated in just his second season at UCLA but of course its early in his tenure in Westwood.
Here are a couple of facts that must make Oregon State fans hopeful tomorrow. The Beavers lead the nation in one important catagory.
This is one of those in the weeds rankings but it is meaningful. It is called the SP+rating which combines play-by-play data and drive data of all college football games. Right now the Beavers have the biggest increase in points per game in the nation so far this season.. The are up 15.9 adjusted points per game over 2018. 71st in the nation overall scoring at least 28 points in each game.
UCLA Coach Chip Kelly has noticed the Beaver offense is pretty loaded:
Many of the Oregon State players are really pumped to play in the Rose Bowl on Saturday. 23 of the players hail from Southern California and very few of them have had a chance to step into one of the nation's most iconic college football stadiums. Redshirt senior Shawn Wilson from Pomona, California told me on Talkin Beavers this week he will need about 35 tickets for family and friends
Others like Sophomore defensive lineman Isaac Hodgins is just looking forward to finally playing in Pasadena since he grew up in Northern California and has heard so much about it growing up.
Isaac is also excited about how much better the Beaver defense is playing.
The Beavers are 6 and a half point underdogs at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins have a talented running back in Joshua Kelley that will challenge that Oregon State run defense. 80 carries for 321 yards and two touchdowns. But the Oregon State offense features Artavis Pierce at running back and Jermar Jefferson looks like he is ready to go.
Their starting QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson was injured in the Arizona game but hasn't been ruled out for Saturday. I had a chance to watch his replacement Austin Burton in the final minutes of the 20-17 loss to the Wildcats but he came off the bench and performed well.
The Beavers are 2-2 in their last four appearances at the Rose Bowl. Sean Mannion threw for 379 yards in the 27-20 win in 2012. Jake Luton is off to a solid start for Oregon State in 2019 could be the key despite all of the talk about the running game. One thing is for sure the Beavers would love to score in all four quarters unlike their previous two FBS games when they scored 28 in one half and zero in the other. I would love the final score to be 31-28 Beavers! If they can continue mistake-free football on offense and avoid big time penalties on defense they have a real shot to beat the Bruins.