Oregon State (2-3, 1-1 Pac-12) hosts No. 15 Utah (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) in search of consecutive conference victories for the first time since 2016.
Utah was the preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 conference this season, according to the media poll, but a 30-23 loss at USC on Sept. 20 makes those aspirations less likely to be realized. To keep pace with the rest of the Pac-12 South, the Utes cannot afford to lose and will arrive at Reser Stadium ready to play when the game kicks off at 5 p.m. (PT).
But before that, here are some facts to get you ready for the game.
LONG TIME NO SEE
This is the first match-up against the Utes since 2016 which had a similar set up. That week, the 5-1, No. 21 Utes came to Reser Stadium and received more than they expected. Oregon State trailed by 12 points with 8:25 left before missing a field goal. Utah scored on their next possession and escaped with a 19-14 victory.
Saturday marks the first of two consecutive bye weeks that the Beavers play a team coming off a bye. The Cal Bears are on a bye this week before hosting the Beavers on October 19th.
As of Thursday, October 10, the consensus line of Utah being favored by 14.5 has received 63% of total bets according to the Action Network.
BOTH UTAH AND OSU PERFORM ON THIRD DOWN
Utah and Oregon State are tied for the best third down conversion rate in the Pac-12 at 58.3 percent. Both defenses will have their work cut out for them as they try to get off the field.
ISAIAH HODGINS AMONG THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY
Pro Football Focus rates Isaiah Hodgins as the top wide receiver in the nation. He leads the Pac-12 in receiving yards (632) which is good for fifth in the nation. However, the four players ahead of him have all played one more game than Hodgins. 88.3 percent of his receptions this season have gone for either a first down or a touchdown. He’s also second in the nation in receiving yards per game (126.4), receptions per game (8.6), and receiving touchdowns (9).
JAKE LUTON TAKES CARE OF THE FOOTBALL
Quarterback Jake Luton has yet to throw an interception this season and ranks second in the nation for the most consecutive passes without one, trailing Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa by a single pass attempt. Luton only needs 16 more passes without a pick to tie the school record held by Matt Moore. Pro Football Focus also rates Luton as the second best quarterback in the conference. Oregon State as a team leads the nation with only one turnover.
WHAT ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS?
Punter Daniel Rodriguez has had an excellent season thus far. He’s second in the conference for punting average at 47.9 yards and executed an impressive dropkick kickoff against the Bruins that the Beavers recovered. One play later the offense scored another touchdown to jump out to a 21-0 lead.
RASHED ATTACKS THE BACKFIELD
Outside linebacker Hamilicar Rashed continued his effective play against the Bruins with seven total tackles, including six solo tackles and two tackles for loss. He leads the Pac-12 with 9.5 tackles for loss which places him eighth nationally. The defense overall has 39 tackles for loss, second in the conference.
PIERCE HAS STEPPED UP
With sophomore running back Jermar Jefferson battling an ankle injury, senior Artavis Pierce has stepped into the starting role and flourished. He continues to hold the school record for yards per carry at 6.1, and this season he averages an outstanding 7.5 yards per carry. Pierce is rated the top running back in the Pac-12 by Pro Football Focus.
Offensive Lineman Blake Brandel has started 41 consecutive games which ranks at the fourth longest streak in school history.
MORE ON THE BEAVS:
Talkin' Beavers Podcast: Isaiah Hodgins wants the ball
Jake Luton's improvement integral to Beavers' success
Oregon State Coach Jonathan Smith scouts ahead of Utah