The Oregon State Beavers (4-5, 3-3 Pac-12) will play their final home game of the season against the Arizona State Sun Devils (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12) at 4:30 p.m. PST at Reser Stadium.
Here are 10 things to know ahead of the game:
HOME OF HORRORS
The Beavers have not defeated an FBS opponent at home since the 2016 Civil War. Despite Oregon State vastly outplaying their expectations this season, their lone victory at Reser Stadium came against FCS-opponent Cal Poly. However, their undefeated record away from Reser in conference play means a bowl game is still in play.
With three games to play, the Beavers need to win two of them to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2013. This Saturday is a must-win game against a team on the downswing (Sun Devils’ three-game losing streak). The following two games for Oregon State will kickoff in Pullman, WA (at Washington State) and Eugene, OR (at Oregon).
LUTON TO HODGINS MOVING UP THE STANDINGS
Jake Luton has connected with Isaiah Hodgins for 17 career touchdowns – tying the duo with Erik Wilhelm-Robb Thomas from the 1980s. Only six touchdown catches separates the current duo from the record-setting pair of Sean Mannion to Brandin Cooks, who have 23 touchdown connections from their playing days. Luton and Hodgins will look to move into second place on Saturday.
All season, Isaiah Hodgins has taken his play to a whole new level. He has 928 receiving yards this season, ninth in the nation and second in the Pac-12. In addition, his 12 touchdown catches ranks first in the Pac-12 and tied for third nationally. He is also second in the country with 43 receptions of 10-plus yards. Whenever he’s in the game, the Beavers offense is dangerous.
Running backs Artavis Pierce and Jermar Jefferson have a legitimate chance to be the first two teammates with 2,000-plus career rushing yards at OSU. Pierce only needs 18 yards and Jefferson needs 180. Both should easily be achievable given their success this season running the rock. Even just looking at last season, Jefferson rushed for 254 yards against Arizona State, the second-most ever by a Beaver. No wonder former Beavers running back Steven Jackson was impressed by them.
FRESHMAN CAME TO PLAY
Inside linebacker Omar Speights had 18 tackles last week against Washington, the most by a freshman this season not only for Oregon State, but the nation. He has 51 tackles for the year, first in the Pac-12 and fourth nationally for freshmen. He’s already a difference maker and Beavers nation should be hyped to watch him progress in the future.
MATCHUP OF SOPHOMORE COACHES
Both teams will be led by coaches in their sophomore seasons at their respective schools. Joanthan Smith returned to Corvallis to take over the program while Herm Edwards joined the college ranks for the first time in a coaching capacity. Both coaches have had their teams playing above expectations since being hired.
THE BEAVERS OFFENSE IS EFFICIENT
The Beavers lead the nation with having only committed three turnovers leading to just seven opponent points. That’s 62 less points off turnovers given up this season than last season. Taking care of the ball has also put the defense in better positions to succeed.
Also, when the Beavers drive into the redzone, they don’t let drives stall. The team has scored touchdowns on 83.3 percent of the time entering the red zone, third in the nation.
THE DEFENSE TERRORIZES THE BACKFIELD
By far the largest question mark for the Beavers heading into this season was the defense. After a few games, those concerns looked warranted. The defense has only continued to improve. The team leads the conference with 72 tackles-for-loss which also ranks as the 13th most in the nation. Linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr. has already tied an Oregon State record with 12 sacks in a season. He’ll look to break the record on Saturday.
Saturday will be the final home game for all the seniors in the program. This class has meant a lot to Oregon State since they needed to buy in when their coach, Gary Andersen resigned, and Jonathan Smith came back. The current Beavers head coach has spoken numerous times about how important this class has been to the upward trajectory of the program.
MORE ON THE BEAVS
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