Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Official Candy Report: USC

I am going to be honest, I hate writing this after a game like Saturday’s.  It is hard as a fan to relive some bad moments.  It is also rough to look at what is there and realize that a golden opportunity slipped by you because of basically choices made by the coaching staff.

I also hate having to undo all the really wrong and uneducated announcing that went with the televised broadcast.  I am sure the announcers are nice people, but here are some things I need to get off my chest first and foremost:

1. Mannion was under pressure because of coverage, not because of breakdowns on the line.
2. Mannion did not look stressed in the pocket, his dump off play to Woods and a few huge throws that were either tipped or dropped were not because of issues he had with protection.
3. When you want to promote all the Leonard WIlliams does, don’t show the play where he gets knocked to the ground by Roman Sapolu one on one.
4. The Hail Mary was not the turning point. The interception prior to it was.

And that is it really. There is no way you can watch that game and think that OSU’s defense is anything but spectacular.  They were able to weather almost anything, until the constant 3 and outs on the offense and injuries took them out of their game.  USC sped up the pace, OSU  matched it and stopped them.  USC made a lot of huge plays late, but the real damage was done on the other side of the ball.

I don’t want to rehash it too much, but when both of your main backs are averaging over 4 yards a carry, and you basically shelve the run in a close game, you are not going to win.  Especially when you not only abandon the run, but other plays that worked great.  It is easy to look at plays that failed and say “you should have run the ball!”  You are always smart when the offense makes a mistake and you say they should have done something else.

But dang it, RUN THE BALL!  Not only because it worked, not only because it controls the clock and gives your defense a rest, but there is one more thing we need to be 100% honest about. THE BEST player on that field Saturday was named Storm Woods.  The guy was running with his hair on fire, averaged 6 yards per carry, blocked like a demon, caught ridiculous passes and got extra yards and protected the ball.  When you have a guy playing like that, GIVE THEM THE DANG BALL!  This used to be a staple of the OSU offense, from Simonton to Jackson to Bernard to Quizz, you get your top guys the ball.  And guess what, Storm Woods is playing his ass off.

I love Ward as well, and think he offers a lot, but if I am being honest, at times it felt like any time someone not named Storm got the ball on Saturday we were not putting our best foot forward.

So mistakes, tipped passes, luck job Hail Mary’s and the ridiculous disregard for holding against the Trojans (did you guys see Alexander get spun around by his jersey?  FREAKING RIDICULOUS!)  aside, the reason this game turned out the way it did was because of a conscious, or unconscious, decision to stop putting the ball into the hands of the player or players having the best game.  Mullaney was our best receiver, easily, and Woods was running like a man possessed. Oh, and our line?  The guys people like to bitch and complain about and wonder why we still pay Coach Cav?  That line was driving USC linemen three and four yards back while getting free releases on the linebackers. They blocked so well that I thought I was watching the 1994 Dallas Cowboys.

So no, this game had some bad moments, but in my opinion, as a card carrying Orange Glasses Lifetime Board Member, this game came down to coaching and OSU chose to continue to go to the part of their team with the least experience and that was having the toughest time.  The receivers.

Go with what works and you have a shot.  If OSU runs at the end of the first half and even just goes for a field goal, the game ends up being 14 – 13 at halftime and the Beavers get the ball back.  Instead?  21 – 10.  You don’t want to get all caught up in one bad game or one bad loss and throw out the baby with the bath water, but lets be honest. These are not new issues and the game was not about a USC team that was just far superior to OSU. It was about efficiency and decisions and those have not been our strong suit for a while.  Colorado is going to be a tough offense to contain, so we need to make sure we are ready and that offensively, we are putting our best foot forward.

Disturbing Trends: Part 1

I usually have to take a few days before I post anything following a tough loss like that one.  For starters, I need to watch it twice before I am confident that what I am saying is not an emotional knee jerk reaction to what I thought i saw, but what was really there.

The other reason is that I need to think about the real culprit for the loss. Some will point to easy targets, like the offensive line (which has been playing far better than they are getting credit for) or the receivers or special teams or whatever seems to be the mistake du jour.

And here is the deal, there are a few that are no longer just a coincidence or one-off issues.  Unlike a fumbled punt or an interception off a tipped ball, you cannot view these items as isolated incidents because they happen so regularly.

Now we don’t want to take a single loss and blow it out of proportion, but I find the following four things to be too rampant to leave alone:

1. We abandon the run, the run doesn’t abandon us.
2. We are too slow to get plays in
3. We don’t try and confuse defenses at the line of scrimmage
4. We don’t stick with the hot hand

I am going to take a few days to post about each of these, because they are long topics.

Abandoning the Run:
In 2013, we often think of the rushing totals as abysmal because we couldn’t block.  I have been on record that often falling behind early has kept us from running because we are catching up.  Unfortunately, the Civil War last year, a game in which we started out 14 points down, was a game where we ran the best we ran all season.  Oh and we almost won that game.

The truth is, we ran well in most games that were not the San Diego State game last year. Against USC, Ward rushed for 6.6 yards per carry, Woods for 6.7.  That was on only 11 carries, but look at some of the series and when they happened.  In the 2nd quarter, with 4:45 left in the quarter, the Beavers got the ball after just giving up a TD to make it 21-14 USC.  A drive of any kind, that takes time and gets any points would have put the Beavers either tied or within four at half time. So what did they do?  That drive they passed five straight times, with only one completion.

Consequently, USC the ball with 3:40 left in the quarter. OSU ran exactly six times in the second half. Twice with Brandin Cooks.  Of those six runs, they gained 53 yards, for an average of almost ten yards per carry.

In fact, Brandin Cooks averaged over 6 yards per carry in all six of OSU’s losses. A vastly unused weapon.

This weekend was no difference.  Down 4 with the ball in USC territory on the way to potentially taking the lead against USC to close the half. While the pass that ended up being picked was a good one, and the play was not bad, it was going to give USC a ton of time to score again.  Running the ball to eat clock and try and get positioned for a field goal at least was a better strategy because the Beavers were getting the ball back the next half.  While I am not a coach and I defer to them in most cases, I will argue this to them all day long because going into the half with momentum is ALWAYS better than the alternative. An alternative we got to see first hand a few minutes later.

Or the first drive of the second half, where the Beavers came out and ran twice for six and seven yards apiece en route to a first down, they then abandoned the run virtually the rest of the half. OSU ran 4 more times the whole second half.

In 2011 they did the same thing against ASU.  While the game was close, OSU’s running backs were gaining almost ten yards per carry.  Yet the Beavers continued to pass and the ASU rush was too much for OSU’s offensive line to handle when they didn’t have to worry about running the ball.

Running is not about single plays, but establishing a likely option at any time in the game. If you stop running, teams stop worrying about it and you now are less effective in your passing. Look at the stats of the five losses last year in the latter half of the year.

Stanford: 24 carries for 17 yards
– 9 of those “Carries” were sacks on pass plays, so OSU only actually attempted 14 carries for 78 yards.  Or 5.57 yards per carry.  That game was close all game long and the abandoning of the run was needless.  After a third quarter run for a loss of a yard, we never ran again.

USC: 16 carries for 93 yards
– If you took out the 3 “Carries” for -22 yards that were sacks, you would have 13 carries for 115 yards, Or 8.85 yards per carry. I will take that any day.

ASU: 26 carries for 73 yards
– If you took out the 1 “Carry” for 9 yards that was a sack, it would be 15 carries for 82 yards.  Or 3.28 yards per carry. This is low, but the two Fly Sweeps went for 15 yards. Something that probably could have been used more.

UW: 22 carries for 106 yards
– If you take out the 3 :carries” for – 12 yards, you would have 19 carries for 118 yards. Or a 6.2 yards per carry average.  Now look, a few extra rushes were not going to do much to the avalanche of terrible that happened in this game.  So I give them a pass on this one.

UO: 39 carries for 251 yards
– I am not going to worry about the sacks. Outside of some coaching decisions we will talk about later, this was a great rushing game and OSU almost beat what is probably the best team they played all year.  While no one is excited about a 1 point loss, look at the reality of this game.  They were down 14 points early, they fought back and used the run heavily to control the clock and keep the ducks off the field.  I am not going to get into the benefits of the run game here, but give OSU just 14 carries or whatever paltry number we attempted the previous four games, and they lose by 28 points.

This is a trend that dates back to 2011 and through now two different offensive coordinators and two different play callers.  You could say that it stretches back to 2009, where OSU went to a short passing game to Quizz over rushing yards to get their offense rolling. it may have been the line but I think it also started the shift to a pass heavy offense.  Unfortunately, as I will talk about alter, OSU doesn’t have the tools implemented to be a WSU type team.

Sean is an amazing QB, but when he has to make four or five reads a play because everyone is covered, there needs to be something to help him out.  He is going to get killed no matter how well the line, backs and tight ends block. IF guys aren’t getting open, you need to put the ball in the hands of your backs and at least make sure the game doesn’t spiral out of control.  Especially when they are showing that they can get you 6 yards a pop if you let them do it.


5 USC Game Quick Hits

Once again, the Beavers were unable to get that final monkey off their back — losing for the 23rd consecutive time to USC at the Coliseum. The defense kept the Beavers close, but eventually wore down due to a woefully ineffective offense. OSU failed to score an offense touchdown for the first time since the 2011 season. Here’s five quick takeaways from the game to get you ready for Peter’s Candy Report:

What happened to run game?: Storm Woods and Terron Ward ran the ball very well against the Trojans, especially during OSU’s first several drives. They combined for 90 yards on 16 carries on the night — averaging an excellent 5.6 yards per carry. Clearly, the Trojans couldn’t stop the run game, so continue pounding away? Yet, the Beavers all but abandoned the running game in the second half, despite Sean Mannion struggling to get the Beavers passing game going.

Ignoring a strength: Two catches for six yards. That was Saturday’s combined stat line for tight ends Connor Hamlett and Caleb Smith — and it’s unacceptable. Mike Riley and Co. needed to find a way to get those two more involved, especially with the passing game missing Victor Bolden. What happened to the short, underneath passes to the tight end that worked so well for Joe Halahuni several years ago? The OSU tight ends were supposed to be a strength this season, and need to be utilized accordingly.

Don’t Blame The D: Sure, USC’s Hail Mary touchdown was embarrassing, but you know what? It was kind of a combination fluke/good luck play. Outside of that, the Beavers defense played well. It recorded three sacks, held USC star receiver Nelson Agholor to three catches and 27 yards, and pressured QB Cody Kessler often. It wasn’t until fatigue set in for the Beavers, that the Trojans started running away with the game. The injuries to multiple defensive tackles didn’t help either.

What is the offensive game plan?: Time and time again, Riley has said the Beavers need to run the ball more, and that balance is key for success. So how come he doesn’t walk the talk? The Beavers were running the ball down USC’s throat, so why stop? But instead, the Beavers tried to win the game through the air, despite it being painfully obvious that the Trojan D wasn’t having it. That put too much pressure on Mannion to make plays when there weren’t really any to be made. The OSU coaches failed to make adjustments, and one has to wonder if this will continue to happen this season.

Murphy to the house: Ryan Murphy’s 97-yard kickoff return for touchdown was AWESOME. It’s the kind of play the Beavers needed following USC’s interception for touchdown. Murphy showed excellent speed and athleticism, shaking off a tackle and staying up right to score. After all he’s been through at OSU (injuries, loss of his best friend), Murphy has stuck with it and lived up to his recruitment hype. The Beavers will need big plays like that this season to overcome some of it’s shortcomings.

The BIG Question:
This loss left me asking: “Does Riley need to re-evaluate his offensive philosophy?” Because it seems recently, there’s not a whole lot of balance, creativity, or sticking with what works.

Pre-Game Match Up: USC

On a rare Saturday afternoon moment,  I wanted to break down my grades for this game and which team has an edge going into tonight’s contest. I will break it down by position group:

1. Quarterback:
NAME                  CMP    ATT    YDS    CMP%    YDS/A    TD    INT    RAT
Sean Mannion    76       113    903      67.3         7.99       4       2     142.5
Cody Kessler       71       100    846      71.0         8.46       8       0     168.5

While their numbers are virtually identical, their trajectories are not.  Against a horrid Fresno State team (who gave up over 52 points in each of their first three games) Kessler was 25 of 37 for 394  yards and  4 touchdowns. That is basically half of his stats in one game.  Since then he is 46 of 63 for 452 yards in two games, along with four touchdowns.

That is pretty good, but not amazing.  Meanwhile Sean Mannion has averaged around 300 yards per game, but has improved his completion percentage, passer rating and touchdowns as the competition has gotten harder.  His best game was probably their last game where they dispatched by far their best opponent 28-7.  Not only was Sean sharp, but he hit ten different receivers and moved the ball around well even after losing one of his top targets (and their backup) early in the game.

You also factor in that this is Sean’s 4th year as a starter in a very familiar system and that this is Kessler’s first year in their system and only second year starting, and I give the nod to Mannion and OSU,


2. Running Backs:
While OSU has capable to exceptional backs in Ward and Woods, USC has probably one of the best backs in the conference with Javorius “Buck” Allen.  A great combination of speed and moves, Buck is probably the best running back on the field for either team tonight.  While OSU is running the ball better this year than last, and USC did get stuffed for only 20 yards rushing on 29 carries two weeks ago.  Much of that has to do with the struggles they have on the offensive line.  In terms of pure running backs, I have to give the edge to USC.


3. Receivers:
Again, USC has a lot of talent at receiver and with the injury to Bolden, the Beavers are a little short staffed. Nelson Agholor is one of the premiere receivers in the country (Nelson Agholor    23  catches for   212 yards and   3 td’s


4. Tight Ends:
OSU has the premier tight ends in the conference, and the second leading receiver in OSU’s tight end squad, Caleb Smith (6), has more receptions than all of USC’s tight ends combined (3).  Connor Hamlett is OSU’s second rated receiver and would be USC’s as well.


5. Offensive Line
Both OSU and USC had offensive line questions heading into the season.  USC, has three freshmen in their rotation and start three players that have never started prior to this year. OSU, on the other hand, has a relatively healthy line with the exception of their best offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo, who has yet to participate in a practice in 2014. That being said, Oregon State’s offensive line has improved each week, USC’s has struggled and is very thin in regards to bench support.  While USC has a lot of talent, they are not gelling yet and have taken some steps backwards while OSU seems to be moving forward and playing better together.


6. Defensive Line
This is the strength of both teams, but any team that has Leonard Williams.  While OSU may be close as a whole, USC has some very good pieces on their line.  The Beavers have more quality depth but the Trojans stars are pretty bright.  I have to give a slight edge to the Trojans, but this week will give us a good idea of where the Beaver defensive front rates. I think they may be very special, but there is no proof yet in terms of quality opponents.


7. Linebackers
USC is the original Linebacker U west.  They have a lot of talent to work with and while two of their top linebackers were lost for the season in fall camp (or at least one was, the other is marked as being lost indefinitely) their backups are talented, fast and have played three games now. Unfortunately for USC, in this match up, there are few if any teams  that I think can match the depth, experience and talent of the OSU linebackers.  They are six deep with players that have all either started or played extensively. Their three starting linebackers have at least two years of starting experience and the speed they have far exceeds any unit in the past, with the exception of maybe the 2000 team.

While I will concede that USC has more talent, I think that this is an extremely special group for the Beavers and have to give them the edge.


8. Secondary
Both secondaries are talented and do a great job. Especially in terms of their role with the rest of their defenses.  Both teams are atop the Pac -12 in interceptions and neither has given up a passing TD yet this year.

So , actually, I have no idea who is better.  OSU has more experience, but USC is putting all four and five star players out there.  So I give this a push. One of these units will come out of this game slightly more damaged than the other one and that is really the only way to settle it.  On the field of battle so to speak.

9. Coaching
People want to make this about Sark and Riley, but to be honest, it isn’t it is about Wilcox and Riley.  Since Wilcox has been in the conference, Riley and his offense has struggled against their brand of defense.  The 3-4 that they implement caused the Beavers fits in 2012 and 2013. Last year was a ridiculous game all around, but it did show a major flaw in OSU if they are going to produce against Wilcox lead teams.


In both games, the Huskies were the hammer, and the Beavers were the nail.  For this game to end differently than the last two against the former Montlake Purple People Eater coaches, then OSU is going to have to be EVEN TOUGHER than they have been in the past, because they are going against amazing athletes as well.

It will be a great matchup to see, but for now, I have to give the edge to USC in coaching because OSU has yet to match up with Wilcox.


I want the Beavers to win, I want to pick them. I think they can win. But they are going to have to play very well, without many mistakes and as tough and violently as they ever have.   If they do, OSU will win. If they don’t they won’t. I never make score or win predictions\ because I am always wrong.  I just think that this is the game that will set the tone for the rest of OSU’s season.  A win has them in the winners lane, and puts a target on their back. A loss may not be devastating, but it forces them to rely on others for them to reach all their goals.  It also puts a damper on the momentum in Beaver Nation.

So I will close with GO BEAVERS!  Beat the Trojans!

Slaying the Giants

This week, I have such a mixed feeling of hope and worry.  I find myself getting edgy when people talk too highly of USC, because I don’t believe they have earned it yet. I also get too antsy when I feel myself putting them down to much because they are a good team, with good coaches and amazing talent.  I cross the line in terms of Beaver Belief where I am making statements based on hope and not on reality.

While I look at USC, I force myself to see warts, rather than the things they do super well.  it is comforting and makes me feel better about OSU’s chances.  When I watch OSU’s film, I focus on the great plays and gloss over some of the glaring mistakes.  It is a perfect storm called Fandom and it effects us all in our own way.

So what does OSU need to do to win?  They need to stop the best defender in the nation.  They need to contain one of the best receivers in the country.  They will have to score on a defense that only allows 20 points a game and contain an offense that scores 32.  In short, they are going to have to pick up their rocks, grab their slings and slay some giants.

Now this is not the USC of 2006 or 2008.  There are serious issues on their offensive line, they cannot run up the middle well and they have a lot of injuries on defense.  But they are still loaded with four and five star talent, they still are big, fast and mean and they still require 100% of OSU’s attention and effort.

So this week, I don’t care if we score 13 points as long as they score 10.  I don’t care if we are pretty or if we grind out each play and each drive and just get four yards a play all the way down the field.  I just want full effort, full attention and the elimination of silly errors or mental lapses.  I don’t want to see dropped deep balls, false starts, roughing the passer or chippy retaliation that makes good plays a 15 yard penalty and automatic first down.

Pick up your slings, grab your rocks and take the field like it is your last game you will ever play because  a win here will mean more to you than the loss will to them, and a win here sets this team up with one more big step to greatness. Everyone’s goal is 12 – 0 but you don’t get to 12 without first getting to 4.

Go Beavers, slay some giants and ride home Animal Style and with rarefied glory that goes with exiting the Coliseum with a win!

USC Preview

Who: Oregon State (3-0) at No. 18 USC (2-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27

Where: Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles, California


Series Record: 60-11-4 USC. Last season, the Trojans earned their first win at Reser Stadium since 2004, routing the Beavers, 31-14. Javorius Allen led the way for USC, rushing for 133 yards and 3 touchdowns. Brandin Cooks caught 6 passes for 88 yards and a TD to lead OSU.

Notes: USC is coming off a bye week. The Trojans were upset, 37-31, by Boston College in their last game on Sept. 13. OSU hasn’t won at the Coliseum since 1960, a span of 22 straight victories for the Trojans. Three former OSU players are on USC’s coaching staff: Keith Heyward (defensive backs), Kyle DeVan (offensive assistant), and Patrick Henderson (defensive assistant). Mike Riley served as offensive coordinator and later assistant head coach at USC from 1993-97, before taking the OSU job for the first time.

5 Keys to Victory

Don’t fall behind early: On the road at a place they haven’t won in more than 50 years, the Beavers need to make sure they don’t stumble out of the gate and find themselves in a hole right away. They will need to play a complete game on both sides of the ball, and limit silly penalties and take care of the football. Otherwise, it could be a rout like last year.

Stuff the run: USC ran wild all game long  last year against OSU. In addition to Allen’s monster performance, Silas Redd added 140 rushing yards of his own. This time around, the Beavers need to make sure they don’t let the Trojans’ running game get going early on. (At least, Redd is gone.) If they can do that, and force quarterback Cody Kessler to do more, it bodes well…

Pressure Kessler: The junior quarterback isn’t especially mobile, which should be welcome news to fans who are tired of seeing QBs use their legs to hurt the Beavers. If the OSU defense can collapse the pocket and force Kessler out of his comfort zone, there could be some turnover opportunities.

Open the playbook: For the most part during their first three games, the Beavers kept things pretty simple offensively. Well, Pac-12 play is here, so it’s time to open the playbook a little and keep the Trojans on their toes. Plus, with Victor Bolden out due to injury, the offense is going to need other players to step up. I’ll go ahead and call a halfback toss from Terron Ward to Hunter Jarmon for a big gain

Get TEs involved: OSU has arguably two of the top tight ends in the conference. It needs to take advantage of Connor Hamlett’s and Caleb Smith’s size and athleticism. Getting the ball to them, even if it’s just quick dump-off or screen passes over the middle could open things up not just for the running game, but for the wide receivers on the outside.

Game prediction: 31-27 OSU.

What are your keys for a Beavers’ win?

Three matchups I think will be tough for the Beavers this week

While I feel good about OSU’s chances, there are a few things that OSU is going to need to overcome if they are going to win.  USC is a good team with great athletes, but some aspects of their team are going to be especially tough for the Beavers:

1. USC’s Outside Rush vs. OSU’s Offensive Tackles
Whether it is super star defensive end Leonard WIlliams or an array of talented linebackers and defensive linemen that USC can use to rush the ends, Oregon State is going to have to find answers.  While Gavin Andrews and Sean Harlow are two of the more physically talented linemen the Beavers have, they are going to have to deal with speed and size unlike anything they have seen in the past this year.

2. USC’s Receivers vs. OSU’s Secondary
I consider OSU’s secondary to be very good.  Unfortunately, there is so much size, speed and talent lining up at receiver fir the Trojans, it is going to be a tough road for the Beavs.  Against Fresno State, the Bull Dogs gave the Trojan wide outs so much cushion, it was easy for USC to get modest gains, many of which turned into huge gains after the catch.  Against Boston College and Stanford, their corners and safeties lined up much closer, but still were unable to shut down Nelson Agholor, who seems to get 9 catches no matter who he plays.

For the Beavers, they need to make sure that they are able to stop the short gains, stop the long gains and stop the short gains that turn into long gains.  This is a tough order and will be a big test for this defense.

3. Josh Wilcox vs. Mike Riley
Last year was an anomaly in the Mike Riley versus Steve Sarkesian duel that has gone on for five years now.  While OSU had a few big wins early, each team has ruined the other’s season with unexpected losses that change the course of the other’s season.  2010 saw OSU lose a very winnable game against a UW team that had not finished above .500 for almost a decade.  2011, OSU inexplicably pounded what was to be the break out Husky team while OSU was entrenched in their worst season since the first Riley Era. 2012, a hot and undefeated Beaver team rolled into Clink field to lose a close game and hurt their chances at a BCS bowl game. Last year, was a total blow out.

The one constant the last two years was how well Justin Wilcox defenses did against Oregon State’s offense.  Last year and the year prior, the Beavers were not able to get anything going on offense and had multiple turnovers that cost them important drives. Wilcox teams tend to also be very physical. It will be up to the Beavers’ coaches to not only get their players ready mentally move the ball on USC, but they will also need to be physically ready.

It is a big challenge and I really hope that the Beavers are up to it.  This would be a super huge win for OSU and a great way to start conference play.


Three matchups I think OSU will win this week.

With the USC game looking ahead as the first huge test on the season, I have been trying to see areas where I think the Beavers have the upper hand and areas I think they will struggle.

In this case, I am focusing on match-ups I think OSU will win.

1. OSU Tight Ends vs USC Safeties and Linebackers
Against Stanford, the USC defense lost track of the Stanford tight ends a lot on play action.  Like Stanford, OSU’s tigth ends have vastly improved their blocking, so the fake to the players keying on the tight ends is far more believable.  While USC has a ton of speed everywhere, I think we are going to see a few big plays from Hamlett, Smith and Wark this weekend.

2. OSU Defensive Line vs USC Offensive Line
This may not be a universal win, but OSU is doing a good job of getting penetration and forcing cutback lanes into linebackers.  The speed and aggressiveness of Dylan Wynn and Jalen Grimble is really allowing twist stunts to work amazing this year. Both of those players really get a good attack and good push and the twister is coming around to wide open shots at the back and the QB.  We may not keep them from blowing us up from time to time, but there is enough penetration to allow for linebackers to slide in back and make tackles.  USC has a few issues on their offensive line that I think OSU can exploit a bit.

3 OSU Linebackers vs USC backs
Stanford did a good job of tracking the USC running backs with their linebackers.  If the defensive line can get penetration and change the direction that the running backs are going, or plug holes that funnel the runner into the linebackers, I think our three seniors and their backups will have a huge game. In watching USC, they are physically talented at the point of attack on the offensive line, but getting to the second level is not always there.  If Doctor and Alexander can keep their running backs from having easy cut back lanes or huge open field catches that are uncontested, OSU will really be difficult for USC’s offense.

Breakdown: SDSU – Part 1

I don’t have time to do the whole game, but I figured i would take down some notes on the SDSU game.  OSU really dominates this game after stumbling early, but to be honest, the play calling was amazing and the adjustments made were incredible.  I hope this shows in my report:

SDSU Drive 1:
1st and 10 (SDSU 25 yard line):
Wynn gets a false start right off the bat. Feels like Deja Vu

1st and 5 (SDSU 30 yard line):
This was a good play call and OSU had the perfect storm of errors.  The play side defensive end steps up and in but gets caught up in the interior and loses contain.  Doctor pulls the trigger and runs in the middle as two and actually blocks our defensive end (I believe it is Bennett) .  So there is currently no one outside that can container, and all eyes are looking to the fake away from the ball carrier.

Their pulling guard, who moves very well (a theme for them) comes around the corner and is able to seal in the safety because the safety tries to go around him to the inside. This frees the runner and he is off to the races… or at least for a big gain.

1st and 10 (OSU 34 yard line):
This flea flicker was a bad throw away from being a touchdown.  The worst part is that the receiver rushes right between the two safeties on his way to the endzone. Actually, the worst part is that the defensive line gets handled pretty well on this play.

2nd and 10 (OSU 34 yard line):
SDSU runs an inside stretch play, but they do an interesting technique with their line, allowing the interior offensive guards to block similar to a screen block, letting the defenders through while they have their fullback come in and push the defender to the side.   This opens a huge hole and allows their offensive line to get to the second level.

3rd and 1 (OSU 25 yard line):
Another inside run, and OSU’s pad level is too high. SDSU has a double that drives Delva back and their running back just follows his blockers. At this point I was thinking that this was going to be a long night as they were just drove one of our huge defenders straight back into the linebackers.

1st and 10 (OSU 13 yard line):
While I am not sure why Toledo switched to an outside run, since the inside stuff was working great, OSU was able to use their speed to track the runner down and make the play. Still gave u four yards there.

2nd and 6 (OSU 9 yard line):
OSU stuffs this pretty well. While the defensive linemen give a little ground, the linebackers shoot the gaps made by this and make the play

3rd and 4 (OSU 7 yard line):
This is a good route by Mills. When I first watched it I was mad about the alignment of the Beavers, but Strong lines up in good position, but mills gets his hips turned to the outside and then cuts back in to get a pretty decent amount of separation. Strong recovers well, but this was a solid route by a good receiver.

1st and Goal (OSU 2 yard line):
This is the play that I think gets the Defense going.  They get blown off the ball and Pomphery walks in to the endzone.  This is one of the last plays that the Beaver defense gets dominated on. TD bad guys

NOTE: At this point, i am flipping out. OSU got dominated and all the fears I had came flooding back.

OSU’s 1st Drive
1st and 10 (OSU 25 yard line):
If the full back gets his guy down on this play, Storm starts off with about a 50 yard run. Sapolu comes around on a pull and the line makes a big pile.  Sapolu gets his guy, but Woods has to cut up early because the end defender was not on he ground and was pushing his way to the hole.  If he had been able to keep running on his track he might have broke it a for a big gain.

2nd and 4 (OSU 31 yard line):
My favorite play, great blocking by Clute and if Smith could have gotten his guy down or stayed in front of him and if Bolden could have stayed outside and followed Clute, he had a lot of green there.

1st and 10 (OSU 36 yard line):
Great down blocking by Mitchell and Bays, but Connor Hamlett gets stood up a bit and ends up getting pushed into the hole. A good play call and Storm is still physically able to drive the pile a bit to get four out of this run.

2nd and 6 (OSU 40 yard line):
Mannion has time but chooses to run and gets 2 yards. Love his willingness to move and get down field when needed.

3rd and 2 (OSU 42 yard line):
I would have liked to see another run here, but the play was there. If Sean can hit him out of his break on the come back route, it is a first down. He also had Mullaney open at the line behind Hamlett.  Good play call, just a little late on the throw and a great defensive play on a very accurate throw.

From here I wanted to focus on a few specific plays an drives.  OSU begins to dominate on this second drive, and I saw a lot of good plays by Delva and Wynn.

SDSU Second Drive
3rd and 6 (SDSU 18 yard line)
This is a great example of Dylan Wynn making plays.  He gets off the line and heads straight for the QB, forcing him to throw it away.  There was a recevier in the area, but he SDSU QB throw it while falling down trying to avoid getting hit again but tosses the ball in the direction of where it should be.

SDSU Second Drive
3rd and 6 (SDSU 18 yard line)
This is a great example of Dylan Wynn making plays.  He gets off the line and heads straight for the QB, forcing him to throw it away.  There was a recevier in the area, but he SDSU QB throw it while falling down trying to avoid getting hit again but tosses the ball in the direction of where it should be.

OSU Second Drive
1st and 10 (OSU 30 yard line)
Now this play sucked because Sean got hit, but it is a good example of a misleading play.  While it appears that OSU has a line break down that allows a guy to run basically free in to Sean’s back, the line actually blocks great.  Andrews punishes his guy and drives him down the line.  The problem is the full back fakes like he is going to block the outside guy but then goes after the inside guy, so the running back has to change directions and is not quick enough to get to the outside blitzer in time.

While Joey Harrington (who actually did a good job most of the game) calls out the line on this, it is actually the fault of the running backs.  This is something they fix later in the game and it results in a ton of passing yards in the second half.  It also is something that the Beavers will need to be able to do. When OSU breaks SDSU of blitzing because they pick it up well, it leads to a lot of open looks later in the game.

On a side note, how awesome is the fight in Andrews to pull that ball back. He has a very good game this week and is in the running for Candy Report awards.

1st and 10 (OSU 42 yard line)
After picking up the first down on a bullet pass from Mannion, OSU goes to the ground again and gives it to ward on an outside stretch play.  While Sapolu gives up some ground blocking his guy, Andrews drives his defender eight yards down field with great hand work and leg drive and gives Ward a good outside lane to run. If Sapolu could have gotten his man down, this was a huge play in the makings. As it was, Ward gets a solid 5 yard gain on first down.

3rd and 4 (OSU 48 yard line)
This play appears to be a normal Beaver play, yet in a season where third down conversions haven’t come easy for the Beavers, I wanted to point out two things.  First, the throw is a bullet, right on target and this drive is where you really see Sean getting into stride on his passes.  Secondly, Bolden has gotten so much better at running routes.  Here when he comes back, his break out of full speed forward to come back is so good, that the defender just falls to the ground trying to change direction. I would run this play all day with that kind of execution by the receiver and QB. Especially since it sets up fakes later on for much bigger plays.

2nd and 27(SDSU 41 yard line)
This will be my last play for now, but I wanted to point out not just the great block by Ward, but also the way the line just drove their defense around to one side.  This was a very good passing lane for Sean and he throw the most perfect pass to Jarmon. While it may have been a TD had he been able to hit him in stride, he had to throw it high enough to keep it out of reach of the safety coming over. The pass was perfect, that catch was great and Jarmon jump started his career at OSU with this catch. Getting a first down on a second and 27 play was beyond huge.







San Diego State Preview

What: San Diego State (1-1) vs. Oregon State (2-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20

Where: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Oregon

TV/Radio: Fox Sports 1/Beaver Sports Radio

Series Record: 2-2. Last year, the Beavers rallied from nine points down in the 4th quarter to escape Qualcomm Stadium with a 34-30 victory. Steven Nelson’s 16-yard interception return for touchdown with 2:31 remaining in the game was the go-ahead score. Sean Mannion completed 38 of 55 passes for 367 yards and three TDs. Terron Ward scored two TDs, and Brandin Cooks had 14 catches for 141 for the Beavers. Meanwhile, the OSU defense recorded five sacks and two interceptions.

Notes: San Diego State is coming off a 31-27 loss to ranked North Carolina on the road. SDSU coach Rocky Long, who served as OSU’s defensive coordinator from 1991-1995, is 8-4 following a loss in his three years at the helm of the Aztecs. Long isn’t the only SDSU coach with OSU ties. Defensive line coach Osia Lewis played linebacker at OSU from 1982-85, during which he was a team captain, an All Pac-10 Conference selection, and an honorable All-American. He later coached linebackers and special teams from 1991-96 at OSU. Aztecs quarterback Quinn Kaehler has thrown for at least 200 yards in 14 consecutive games, the third longest streak in the nation. Guess who is ahead of him at 15 games? Sean Mannion. 

5 Keys to Victory

1. Contain Pumphery: Sophomore running back Donnel Pumphery has rushed for 100 or more yards in both games this season for San Diego State. At 5-9, 170 pounds, he’s not the biggest, imposing back, but he’s speedy and shifty. Least season against the Beavers, he caught a 23-yard pass for a touchdown, the game’s opening score. Pumphery will be a good test for the OSU linebackers, and the Beavers need to stuff him early on to keep the Aztecs from getting momentum on offense.

2. Pressure Kaehler: The Beavers sacked SDSU quarterback Quinn Kaehler five times during last year’s matchup, but that didn’t stop him from making plays. He threw for 251 yards on only 16 completions and two TDs. So the OSU defense needs to get to him early this time around. One thing that will help is that the Aztecs will be without one of their top targets, Ezell Ruffin, due to injury.

3. Maintain Offensive Intensity: Rocky Long’s teams always play strong on the defensive side of the ball. They are physical and sound. So the Beavers need to get into a groove offensively early on and not let up. If the offense sputters in the same matter that it did two weekends ago at Hawaii, the Beavers might not be so lucky.

4. Hit the Home Run Play: The Aztecs will likely bring the heat on defense Saturday. As a result, Sean Mannion and Co. should have opportunities to take advantage of SDSU’s aggressive and go for the big play. The key will be to convert some of those plays and break the defense. The Beavers are due for a big pass-play touchdown, and they may need all the offense they can get this weekend.

5. Run the Ball: The OSU running game is still searching for consistency, especially in the red zone, but so far so good in terms of yardage, as Terron Ward and Storm Woods have both turned in 100-yard games this season. The Beavers could use another 100+ yard effort from one of them, or both, to take pressure off Mannion and keep the SDSU defense honest. There also could be a chance for Ward and Woods to do damage in passing game.

Game prediction: 31-21 Beavers.

Any other keys that you think will be crucial for a Beavers’ victory?