The Beavers open up the PAC 12- and all of college football’s 2017 season- with a match up against Colorado State that could prove very interesting indeed. There’s a lot at stake for the Beavers, who can come away from this season with a tangible sign of progress if they can win the toss-up games.
G.A.W.P. gives the Beavers a 45.4% chance of earning the victory in this game- a virtual coin flip. It’s also the first game of the 11 game series between PAC 12 and Mountain West teams, a series that the PAC 12 should dominate if the conference hopes to earn two or more New Year’s 6 bowl spots.
Storylines to Watch:
Big Nall vs. the Rams Run D- The Rams struggled to defend the run in 2016, and are up against a big, mean, and physical threat in OSU star Ryan Nall. Nall is undoubtedly the bellcow of the Beavers’ offense, and it’s hard to see how the Rams are going to stop him. Even with uncertainty in the passing game, Nall should be a lot of fun for Beavers fans to watch.
Oregon State Pass Defense- The Beavers return a good chunk of their pass defense, which took critical steps forward in 2016. They will be thrown into a challenging situation straight out of the gate, up against gunslinger Nick Stevens. Stevens completed 64% of his passes for nearly 10 yards an attempt, and leading receivers Olabasi Johnson and Michael Gallup return as well. Gallup is particularly dangerous- he picked up 1272 yards and 14 TDs on 76 receptions last year.
The lower the score, the better for the Beavers, who will likely seek to control the ball and the pace, grinding their way down the field behind Nall’s shoulderpads. While they may slow the Rams offense down some, it doesn’t seem like it will be enough to win as the Rams key in on the one-dimensional offense the Beavers will be forced to put on the field until they know what they have at Quarterback. On the road and outmatched at key positions, the most likely result for this contest is for the Rams to come away the victors.
Oregon State 26, Colorado State 31