After their best performance in a 44-21 thumping of Washington State last week, OSU faces Pac-12 South foe Utah. The Utes (3-4, (0-4) are finding the transition to the Pac-12 difficult and have yet to get their first conference victory.
Oregon State found success on the ground and got a veteran performance from QB Sean Mannion. Utah will look to stop OSU's ground attack with a big and physical defense.
Here's how Oregon State and Utah match up by position:
Sean Mannion had a break out game, throwing for 375+ and four scores last weekend in Seattle. The young Mannion is completing 66% of his passes and 11 different Beavers caught a pass last week, proving that he's seeing the whole field and moving well through his progressions.Limiting turnovers is the key to Mannion's success.
Utah lost starting quarterback Jordan Wynn four weeks ago and since it's been the Jon Hayes show. Hayes simply isn't the QB Wynn was and has struggled mightily to get the Utah passing game going. He has a pair of three interception games and a total of seven. Utah is dead last in the conference in passing yards per game at just 196.29.
Advantage: Oregon State - Sean Mannion took a huge step last week and is proving the coaches right. He'll need to stay consistent and grow every week, but the upside looks very high. He has yet to complete under 60% of his passes all season.
Utah's John White IV has broken the century mark three times this season and is averaging a punishing five yards per tote. His 101.4 yards per game is ninth in the conference, but White has been held under 86 yards against all four Pac-12 opponents. White is Utah's featured back and will see the ball at least 15 times this weekend.
Malcolm Agnew was pulled late in last week's win, but for precautionary reasons said Coach Riley. Agnew makes the OSU offense difficult to stop and he's hands down the best back on OSU's depth chart. Agnew broke 100 yards for the second time in three games and averages 5.7 yards per touch. Good news for OSU, as Jovan Stevenson is expected to play this weekend. Jordan Jenkins has been used well in the passing game, amassing 194 yards and a score.
Advantage: Oregon State - White is a good back, but he's yet to break 85 against a Pac-12 defense. Agnew a feature back, Stevenson in a supporting role and Jenkins out of the backfield give OSU a solid 1-2-3 punch.
Utah has threats on the outside however DeVonte Christopher is still the Ute's leading receiver with 351 yards, but has not played in two weeks. The loss of their leading receiver and starting quarterback has hamstringed the Utah passing game.
Freshman Dres Anderson is third on the team in receptions, but his 273 yards is second and he's added a pair of scores. The former Beaver commit, Reggie Dunn is lightning in a bottle but has yet to make a big impact in the passing game with just 10 catches for 138 yards.
Markus Wheaton continues to impress and was one yard short of his fourth 100 yard game of the year. Jordan Bishop and James Rodgers have both battled through injuries and both have 22 receptions and 543 yards between them. Freshman Brandin Cooks has progressed nicely and caught his second touchdown pass of his career last week.
Advantage:Oregon State - The group is four deep and guys like Obum Gwacham and Kevin Cummings are slowly developing into solid options as well.
Joe Halahuni looks like his old self and caught his third touchdown on a 25 yard wheel route last week. Halahuni has formed great chemistry with Mannion.
Utah had a hybrid tight end/fullback in Dallin Rogers who At 6-3 245 was a tough cover for outside linebackers and is second on the team in receptions (22) and has scored twice. Unfortunately for Utah, Dallin has been lost for the season. Junior Kendrick Moeai has just two catches for eight yards in the past two weeks.
Advantage: Oregon State - Utah spreads the field and after losing Rogers it seem they've utilized their tight ends in a blocking role more than in the passing game.
Utah has allowed 20 sacks this season and has a run game that averages just 58 yards per game against conference opponents. The five up front are all north of 300 pounds so the beef is there. All but left guard Latu Heimuli are upper classmen.?
The Beavers have bumped their average to 112 yards per game on the ground and allowed just one sack in the last three weeks. OSU is hopeful that the return of starting left guard Josh Andrews is near, but in his absence Grant Enger has performed quite well.
Advantage: Oregon State - Utah's got all the size you'd want, but just hasn't gotten the job done up front. The Beavers have allowed just nine sacks all season.
Scott Crichton is no longer a secret off the edge after earning Pac-12 player of the week honors. Crichton leads the team in sacks (4) and tackles for loss (10) and has been a nightmare for opposing tackles.
The play of Andrew Seumalo and Dylan Wynn have grown well in the first half of the season, Wynn falling on two fumbles, bumping his total to five. OSU allowed just 83 yards rushing last week and all four sacks came from the defensive line.
Utah has one of the best front four in the conference, holding opponents under 100 yards rushing per game and getting to the quarterback 17 times. The group averages 6-4 and almost 288 pounds.
Advantage: Utah - Even with how well OSU's front four are playing, Utah's group is big and nasty. Under 100 yards rushing after seven weeks is impressive.
Tony Wilson was able to get back on the field and should be read this week. The group is starting to play better and is gaining quality depth.
For the Utes, their 4-2-5 (or hybrid 4-3) look on defense is heavily reliant on aggressive and fast backers. Chaz Walker and Matt Martinez both go 6ft 224 but are first and third in tackles respectively. Both are seniors and leaders for the Ute defense. The big playmaker is #4 Brian Blechen who leads the team with two interceptions and is a big athletic body who can play both the run and pass.
Advantage: Utah - OSU's backers have improved and the depth is building quite well, but the trio for Utah makes the defense go and are always around the ball. Trevor Reilly's six sacks put Utah over the top.
OSU and Utah are tied for the 2nd most interceptions in the conference with seven and are just 10 yards apart in yards allowed per game; OSU - 245 Utah - 235. Utah's average jumps to 267.5 when factoring in just Pac-12 opponents. Jordan Poyer has slowly become more confident and is starting to show glimpses of how he looked in camp.
Advantage: Push - Both teams allow over 11.5 yards per completion and have the same number of interceptions.