OREGON STATE BEAVERS (7-1)
at STANFORD CARDINAL (7-2)
Kickoff: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EDT
Line: Stanford -4, Total: 44.5
A key Pac-12 showdown takes place Saturday afternoon when No. 14 hosts No. 11 Oregon State.
These teams have split the past eight meetings 4-4 (SU and ATS), but Stanford pounded Oregon State 38-0 and 38-13 in the past two matchups. OSU ranks fifth in the nation in rushing defense (92 YPG), but the Cardinal lead FBS with 58 rushing YPG allowed on 1.98 YPC. Beavers QB Cody Vaz threw for 267 yards and 3 TD in last week’s 36-26 home win, while Stanford pitched a 48-0 shutout in Colorado. The Beavers are 19-11 ATS on the road since 2008, but the Cardinal are 17-1 SU at home over the past three seasons.
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Vaz has thrown 7 TD with just one pick in 102 attempts this season, but he'll be asked to throw the football 30-to-40 times against Stanford's subpar pass defense allowing 268 passing YPG (107th in FBS). His top targets will be sophomore QB Brandin Cooks (50 rec, 906 yds, 4 TD) and senior WR Markus Wheaton (54 rec, 787 yds, 8 TD) who has 90+ receiving yards in five of his past seven games. Wheaton totaled 89 total yards in last year's loss to the Cardinal. Considering the Beavers rank 108th in FBS in rushing offense (115 YPG), they will probably not call too many running plays, especially against Stanford's rushing defense that has allowed a total of minus-34 rushing yards during its three-game win streak. Vaz will also have to get rid of the ball quickly, as the Cardinal also lead the nation in both sacks (4.3 per game) and Tackles for Loss (9.2 per game). He'll also have to be wary of Stanford safety Ed Reynolds, who has returned three interceptions for touchdowns this year, including two in the past two games.
Stanford redshirt freshman QB Kevin Hogan will get his first collegiate start on Saturday. He replaced the ineffective Josh Nunes last week and completed 18-of-23 passes for 184 yards, 2 TD and 0 INT in the win over Colorado. But he'll be facing a much tougher defense on Saturday, as the Beavers have allowed just 519 passing yards (5.2 YPA) in the past three weeks combined. The Cardinal will turn to RB Stepfan Taylor (947 rush yds, 8 TD), who has 230 yards on just 30 carries (7.7 YPC) and 1 TD in three career games versus the Beavers. But this OSU run-stop unit has been outstanding, allowing the fifth-fewest rushing yards in the nation (92 rush YPG), a number that was worsened with last week's season-high 150 yards allowed to Arizona State's ground game.