by Jerry Feitelberg
Stanford vs Oregon State Preview
Stanford (6-1,4-1 Pac-12) travels to Corvallis Oregon Saturday to take on the Oregon State Beavers (6-1,4-0 Pac-12. Game time will be at 7:30pm PT and will be televised on ESPN.
The Beavers are unranked but have won their last six games after being upset by Eastern Washington in the opening game of the year. The Beavers did something that the Cardinal couldn’t do and this was
beating Utah in Salt Lake City. The Beaver offense is led by quarterback Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks. Both are both Northern California products. Mannion is from Pleasanton and Cooks is from Stockton. How dynamic are these two? Mannion leads the nation in passing yardage(2992) and touchdowns(29) while Cooks has made 76 receptions good for 1176 yards and twelve touchdowns.
Mannion’s completion percentage is 68.6 and the Beavers like to go deep. It has been noted that Oregon State’s pro-style system features the most productive downfield passing game in the conference.
The Beavers defense has improved since the opening day loss to Eastern Washington and the offensive line has improved greatly since that loss.
Oregon State’s coach,Mike Riley thinks Stanford’s secondary will be a challenge to his team’s passing game. Riley said “they are very athletic and tough. They really compete. It’s a good looking group of guys. They’re always well coached and sound in what they do. It’s the most athletic group on defense that we’ve seen so far and they’re very sound in what they do.”
Stanford coach David Shaw, when asked about slowing down Brandin Cooks, replied “ He’s everybody’s responsibility. There is no other way around it. Safeties,corners nickels all have to be aware he is. Coach Shaw noted that receiver Kodi Whitfield and tailback Barry Sanders will continue to share the punt return duties. Kevin Hogan will be at quarterback again and Tyler Gaffney will
be the Cardinal’s main running back. Gaffney had a terrific game against UCLA last week.
Cardinal Safety Jordan Richards was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week after recording two interceptions against UCLA last week. There is a possibility that receiver Devon Cajuste may play against the Beavers on Saturday. Cajuste suffered a right knee injury last week. Kicker Jordan Williamson will be on the trip to Corvallis but it is not clear if he will play. If Williamson can’t play, Conrad Ukropina will again fill in. Ukropina was one for two on field goals against UCLA.
The game should be very close. Stanford needs to win as they face the high-flying Oregon Ducks on November 7th. Should Stanford lose, it would dim their chances for a Pac-12 championship. If the Beavers win, they will probably become a nationally ranked team. Stanford will be playing in a hostile environment again and they have their work cut out for them on Saturday.