PORTLAND (KOIN) – The Beavers are looking to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2013.
This week’s match up in Pullman might be a program changer if the Beavers can walk away with a win. It won’t be easy against this Cougars team, but the Beavers could do it.
Here are some things the Beavers need to do in order to walk away with a win:
The most important thing for the Beavers in this game is to find a way to get to Washington State’s quarterback Anthony Gordon. The Cougars have only given up 12 sacks all season, so the Beavers defensive line needs to find ways to get Gordon uncomfortable and make him feel their presence. Even if the Beavers don’t sack him, they need to get him out of his rhythm.
2. Keying in on Max Borgi
Borgi is a jack-of-all-trades for the Cougars. The running back is a tough match-up for any defender because of his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and the physicality to deliver violent blows to defenders when he has the ball. When Borgi has the ball in open field, he can make some really special things happen. The Beavers need to find a way to limit his big plays. If they can do that, they slowdown this offense.
3. Special teams play must improve
The Beavers special teams has been horrible the past few weeks. For example, last week the Beavers gave up a punt return for a touchdown, which shifted momentum to the Sun Devils. The Beavers were lucky they came away with a win with such poor special teams play. I think if they don’t step up their special teams play this week, the Cougars are going to make them pay. Even if it’s not returns for touchdowns, the Beavers can’t give the Cougars good field position and make it easier for the offense.
4. Defense needs takeaways
Last week, the Beavers defense forced some crucial turnovers against the Sun Devils. The one that was most important was Oregon State safety David Morris forcing a fumble on the 1 yard line with the Beavers picking it up and taking over. These are the plays the Beavers need in order to force big time momentum shifting plays that suck the life out of the Cougars offense.
5. Offense can’t go cold
This is going to be a shootout, because both of these offenses have some big time playmakers. What the Beavers can’t afford to do is go in a slump that we have seen at times this season. Whether they stick with the passing game, the run game, screens, tosses, it does not matter. What they need to do is just stay in a rhythm, chip away with short gains, or if they go for the “go big or go home” plays it does not matter, they just need to find their rhythm and stay in it.
6. Be effective and efficient on first down
Nothing kills an offense more than consistently have a third and long. The Beavers need to be extremely productive on first downs. A productive gain for first down is at least 4 yards. If the Beavers can do that, then they are going to set themselves up for success with only needing 6 yards to get the first down and it opens up the playbook much more. The Cougars give up an average of 6.66 yards per play, the Beavers can certainly take advantage of this.
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