The monkey in the room with this game is obvious. Game one of the 2014 season pits Oregon State against Portland State, an FCS opponent, in what should be a tune up game for the Beavers. Unfortunately for Beaver fans, two of the last three years have shown this game to be unfriendly to the Good Guys.
Portland State lost to Eastern by one point. In an all too familiar offensive shoot out. 600 yards for Portland, 600 yards for Eastern.
Portland State is well coached and almost upset Cal last year. They bring an up tempo offense similar to Eastern Washington’s with a mobile QB’s, an aggressive and well coached line and solid players at their skill positions. They are a decent to good running team as well. On defense they have given up a lot of points and a lot of yards. They have difficulty stopping the pass and are not super athletic on their defensive line. They also have a familiar name at punter, Kyle Loomis. So what will OSU have to do in order to win?
1. Pressure the QB: If the defensive tackles that OSU have are really improved, the pocket should collapse from the inside with the defensive ends mopping up whatever spills out.
2. Make them punt: Last year, OSU forced exactly one punt against Eastern. In fact, had they forced two, they would have won. The key to OSU’s success this whole year will be what they do on Third Down. If Portland State is forced to be predictable in any way, OSU should win big.
3. Run the ball: I don’t mind if the score is 10 – 7, just win. Well, I kind of do, but once OSU does what it needs to do to win, run. Let the line flex their muscles and the running backs pick up yards. Build the confidence. Despite the close games and good play by Portland State, the line of scrimmage should belong to the Beavers, and this game is one where they should be able to build some confidence.
4. Reclaim Home Field: OSU hasn’t been a dominant home team since the crap fest Civil War in 2008 that made all of Beaver Nation puke on themselves. Prior to that, Reser scared the likes of the mighty as well as the meek. Who watched the 2012 WSU, ASU or Utah games and felt like the Beavers dominated? Or huge home losses in the Civil War. Or last year’s UW game? Those are memories of wins and losses that don’t bring to mind dominance. 2008 USC, 2006 Civil War, 2006 USC, 2008 Cal. The home dominance needs to start this year and it needs to start with PSU.
I fully expect the Beavers to win this game and I expect it to be lopsided. If I had to give ti a score, I would throw around numbers like 55 – 12. Unfortunately, Portland State is going to come to Reser to win and the last two FCS opponents that came here to do that did. I am not sure what Nichols State came here to do if I am being honest…