Oregon State (3-4, 2-2 Pac-12) looks to continue to surpass expectations with another victory this weekend in Tucson, AZ against the Arizona Wildcats (4-4, 2-3 Pac-12).
Arizona looks to right the ship after dropping three straight games to fall to 0.500 on the season. The Beavers look to become 0.500 this late into the season for the first time since 2014.
Here’s what you need to know to prepare for the game.
BEAVERS = ROAD WARRIORS?
The Beavers are aiming for their first three-game road win-streak since 2013. They are also looking for their third conference victory of the season which hasn’t happened since 2013.
KEEP HOPE ALIVE
A win would keep their Pac-12 championship hopes alive. As it stands today, if the Beavers win out and the Ducks slip up against an opponent before the Civil War, the Beavers would win the Pac-12 North.
However a more realistic goal would be to become bowl eligible. Given the Beavers rest-of-season schedule, this game is a must-win if they want to play in a bowl game at all.
ONE QB NOT ENOUGH FOR ZONA
Heading into the season, the quarterback job looked to be Khalil Tate’s to lose. Well, he hasn’t lost it yet but it’s close. The former Heisman hopeful has had to sit for numerous series in favor of true freshman quarterback Grant Gunnel. Tate is electric in the open field and more of a dual threat quarterback while Gunnel operates from the pocket. The Beavers will need to prepare for both.
NEW D-COORDINATOR FOR ZONA
After allowing 113 points in three consecutive losses, Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin fired defensive coordinator Marcel Yates in favor of former-player Chuck Cecil. With only six days on the job ahead of the game, Cecil will not have time to implement new schemes for the defense but maybe he can create a spark.
BEAVERS DEFENSE TERRORIZES THE BACKFIELD
The Beavers have a Pac-12 leading 60 tackles-for-loss this season. That would be their most in a season since 2014. The standout has been redshirt junior Hamilcar Rashed Jr. who leads the Pac-12 in both tackles-for-loss (14.5) and sacks (9.0). Both rank fourth in the country.
LUTON TO HODGINS
Jake Luton has now thrown 15 touchdown passes to Isaiah Hodgins in their Oregon State careers. That is tied for the third-most between a QB and wide receiver in OSU history. Look for them to move into second on Saturday.
HODGINS IS AN ALL TIME OSU TALENT
Speaking of Hodgins, he has 745 receiving yards this season, second in the Pac-12 and 12th nationally. He is also the Pac-12 leader for receiving yards per game at 106.4 (ninth in the country). His 1,896 career receiving yards is ninth in school history. He only needs 147 yards to catch Robb Thomas for eighth. He is also seventh for career touchdown receptions with 17. Hodgins has accounted for a first down or touchdown on 90 of his last 115 receptions.
DON'T FORGET ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS
Punter Daniel Rodriguez is the first Beaver to earn two Pac-12 Player of the Week honors in the same season since QB Sean Mannion in 2013. The redshirt junior won special teams player of the week for his dropkick kickoff against UCLA, and two weeks ago against Cal.
WHO WILL KICK?
Speaking of special teams, the kicking competition rages on. Junior Jordan Choukair had the starting job heading into the season, but has missed four of six field goals attempted. Against Utah, Choukair got benched in favor of freshman Everett Hayes, who missed his lone field goal attempt. However, against Cal, Hayes made all three extra point attempts. It appears that Hayes will continue to kick but coming off a bye week, maybe Choukair will get another opportunity.
OSU'S RUN GAME MOVES FORWARD
Running back Artavis Pierce has stepped up in Jermar Jefferson’s absence excellently. The senior is only 163 rushing yards short of being only the 11th Beaver to pass the 2,000-yard mark. This season alone, he has 583 rushing yards on 6.0 yards per attempt and five touchdowns.
But not all the credit goes to Pierce, OSU’s offensive line has allowed only 33 tackles-for-loss, the second-fewest in the Pac-12.
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Oregon State women's basketball take care of business in season opener
Jermar Jefferson doesn't want to redshirt...but should he?