PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon State Beavers are just a few days away from taking the field for the first time against the Washington State Cougars in the new COVID-19 era of college football.
Here are six things the Beavers need to do in order to walk away with a win.
1. Tristan Gebbia
The biggest question going into the season was who was going to start under center for the Beavers. Now that it is known that Tristan Gebbia will be the leader of this Beavers offense, he is going to be expected to perform at a high level when the Beavers take on the Cougars. Good decision making, taking care of the football, and ultimately being the guy who needs to orchestrate the offense down the field and put points on the board for the Beavers will be critical for this match-up.
2. Defense can make a big statement against Max Borgi
Last season, Cougars running back Max Borgi had himself a solid game against the Beavers defense. Even though he only had a total of 84 yards in the game, he had two touchdowns, with one of those being the game-winning touchdown for the Cougars. With Borgi being one of the leaders and biggest weapons on the Cougars offense, if the Beavers defense can stop him, chances are, they stop the Cougars offense.
3. Beavers need a receiver to separate himself
We have yet to see a player on the offense that has come out and shown that he is “that guy” in the receiver group. Between the big time playmakers Trevon Bradford, Champ Flemmings, Tyjon Lindsey and Kolby Taylor, one of these guys needs to take the initiative and take some pressure off of Gebbia by making the big plays and get the offense in a groove.
4. Limit turnovers
First games of the seasons are always ugly ones, teams come out sloppy, rusty, and have to find their grooves as a unit. On top of it being the first game, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everything has been unorthodox already before the season has even started. The Beavers are going to have to come out and find ways to limit the turnovers and the overall rust that is built up from months of not playing. It is very imperative that the Beavers take care of the ball and don’t give the Cougars any advantages.
5. Pressure True Freshman QB Jayden de Laura
This is the first time in quite some time that the Beavers defense is going to give them advantages in almost all of their games and especially in their first game. The Cougars are starting true freshman quarterback Jayden de Laura against the Beavers. With no college football experience, this is the perfect chance for the Beavers experienced and talented defense to bring a ton of pressure on the freshman in hopes to disrupt his flow and for him to have a hard time adjusting to college football.
6. Special Teams play
Last season, the Beavers excelled in certain areas of special teams but also struggled in others which cost them a handful of games. Though most don’t tend to consider special teams as important as offense or defense, the Beavers could really have a big time advantage against the Cougars if their special teams come out sharp and disciplined.