The USC Trojans are coming off their first loss in a year after falling to the Washington State Cougars last Friday night on the road. The injuries have continued to mount for the Trojans while the Oregon State Beavers have lost three consecutive games. Last week the Beavers lost by 35 to Washington. The week prior Oregon State lost by 29 to Washington State after losing by 34 points to Minnesota. In week one the Beavers lost by 31 points and their only victory this season was a narrow 3-point victory over Portland State. While the Trojans may be struggling on offense, Oregon State remains a highly beatable team.
Key USC Injuries:
The USC offense struggled in large part because they were down 3 starters on the offensive line which allowed the Cougars to get some serious pressure on QB Sam Darnold and disrupt the passing game. Left tackle Toa Lobendahn is expected to play on Saturday after missing last week. Right Tackle Chuma Edoga may be out against OSU with a high ankle sprain suffered against Washington State. Right guard Viane Talamaivao is out for the rest of the season with a pectoral injury.
Freshman Andrew Vorhees is likely to fill in once again for Talamaivao on Saturday. Freshman Austin Jackson will likely fill in for Edoga if he is unable to play. Even with the possibility of two freshmen starting on the offensive line the Beavers are not nearly as capable of getting pressure on Darnold as WSU was. The Trojans have also had all week to prepare the retooled offensive line as opposed to making changes to three of five starters on the fly.
Oregon State Offense:
The Beavers have struggled mightily on offense and rank near the bottom of the Pac-12 Conference in just about every statistical category. Making matters worse is starting quarterback Jake Luton is out and starting running back Ryan Nall may be out for Saturday’s game as well. Senior Darell Garretson will start at QB for OSU. Gatteson started last Saturday throwing 11 of 22 passes for a mere 74 yards and no touchdowns. Garretson also has some running ability with 10 rushes for 45 yards with one rushing touchdown and one passing touchdown.
In addition to being the Beavs leading rusher, Ryan Nall also has the third most receptions on the Oregon State offense and is 4th on the team in receiving yards. If Nall is unable to play Sophomore Artavis Pierce and senior Thomas Tyner will fill the void at running back. The duo have a combined 41 rushing attempts for 209 yards and 1 touchdown. Pierce also has shown some abilities as a pass catcher with 9 receptions for 63 yards.
Oregon State has some solid receivers on the outside. Big Jordan Villamin is listed at 6’5” 222 pounds with team leading 17 receptions for 192 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Isaiah Hodgins is another big receiver at 6’4” 209 pounds. Hodgins also has 17 receptions for 156 yards and a touchdown. For comparison purposes Iman Marshall is 6’1” 205 pounds, Chris Hawkins 5’11” 190 lbs, Marvell Tell III 6’2” 195 lbs. The OSU receivers will have a size advantage over the USC defensive backs but whether or not that matters is a much different story.
Oregon State Defense:
The Beavers are probably the worst defense in the Pac-12 and one of the worst in the entire country. They struggle to get any sort of pressure on the quarterback, they do not force turnovers and they cannot stop the run. They are not terribly good at stopping the pass either. This defense gives USC an excellent opportunity to try out some different looks, different formations, and establish more receivers as viable passing threats as well as get some synergy and rhythm going.
The Trojans have a great opportunity to expand and improve their offense or at least get it more functional before hosting Utah next week and travelling to Notre Dame the following week. At the very least it is an opportunity to get Steven Mitchell Jr. back into the swing of things and continue to establish Tyler Vaughns as a consistent receiving threat. Add in more looks to Tyler Petite, Joseph Lewis IV, Michael Pittman, Velus Jones Jr. and maybe even a few throws to Ronald Jones II and the Trojans may have a much different looking (effective) passing attack a week from now.
Full game information is below.
“Oregon State has it’s own set of injury problems to deal with across the board, beginning with cornerback Xavier Crawford, who will miss the game with a back injury. With cornerback Jay Irvine also listed as “doubtful”, the Beavers already-weak secondary will be severely depleted against a dangerous USC passing offense.”
Oregon State Beavers (1-4) at USC Trojans (4-1)
How to Watch:
Start time: Saturday, October 7, 1:00 p.m. PST
Location: L.A. Coliseum - Los Angeles, California
Television: Pac-12 Network
Radio: Tune in
Live Streaming: Pac-12 Live
Vegas Odds: USC -34, O/U 59.5
FPI Matchup Predictor: USC 97.7% chance to win
S&P+ Score Prediction: USC-45 OSU-17
Massey Prediction: USC-45 OSU-14. USC with an 98% chance to win.
CFP Predictions Composite: USC wins by 31.52
“For Oregon State, last week’s battle with a talented Washington team brought forth more of the same for the Beavers, which was filled with lackluster defense and offensive miscues. Overall, Oregon State managed just 184 yards of total offense, which included two lost fumbles, compared to Washington’s 509 yards gained. In quarterback Darell Garretson’s first official start of the season, the senior completed 11 of his 22 passing attempts, managing just 74 yards through the air.
In order to complete the monumental task of knocking off (or even just staying with USC) on Saturday, Oregon State will have to kick-start their offense in one-way-or-another, which could severely be aided by a surprise performance from the Beavers special teams. Oregon State’s defense will also need to take a severe leap, which was destroyed by a balanced effort from Washington.”
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