Leave It to these Beavers
For the third time in as many years, Herm Edwards and company are shipping up to Corvallis. In 2019, Oregon State added insult to injury on a cold November night, handing ASU its fifth loss of the season, and its fourth loss in a row.
Last year, Rachaad White followed up his breakout game against Arizona with a sequel just as entertaining, a 150-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Beavers in a 46-33 win in Corvallis.
ASU is riding two straight wins, including an incredible comeback victory in the Pacific Northwest last week. Here are three Oregon State players who could get in the Sun Devils’ path.
Running Back B.J. Baylor
ASU has White, Oregon State has Baylor. Pretty simple? B.J. Baylor is the heartbeat of the Beaver offense, and this will be a grudge match. While it is a little cliche to call it a “battle of the tailbacks,” the TV broadcast surely will.
Baylor finds himself ahead of White in total rushes (176), yards (1050), and yards per-game (105). White has the edge in yards per-carry (6.0), and touchdowns (14).
The last couple of games have been quiet for Baylor, averaging 4.0 yards per-clip, down from his season-average. He also only scored one touchdown in the last two games. In three of the team’s four losses, Baylor rushed for under 100 yards.
In last week’s win over Washington, ASU allowed just 102 net rushing yards to the Huskies. That effort again would force Chance Nolan to win the game with his arm.
Quarterback Chance Nolan
We include Chance Nolan not for any sort of quarterback prestige, but that his play likely determines the Beavers’ fate.
Nolan has eclipsed 300 yards once this season (Hawai’i), and throws an interception for every two touchdowns he scores. It’s pretty clear that when Nolan plays poorly, the team suffers as a whole.
Last week, a previously-struggling Dylan Morris from Washington executed two near-perfect drives for touchdowns to start the game against ASU. It was not until the Huskies went to a two-quarterback look for them to start struggling, killing Morris’s momentum.
If the Sun Devils let Nolan get into a similar rhythm, the odds of him staying in it are more likely than last week, and that would be a problem for ASU. Some would say Rachaad White won ASU the game last week, others would say the defense held him in the game long enough.
Inside Linebacker Avery Roberts
Avery Roberts is a defensive coordinator’s dream player. Roberts is a coaches’ All-Pac-12 player, and he leads the conference in all tackling numbers this year, solo and assisted. To put it simply, he cleans up the mess.
His job becomes more important against ASU. At the middle level, he has the responsibility of filling run-lanes against Rachaad White and an improving Sun Devil offensive-line. The Sun Devils’ big-play threat is White, and thwarting him from 20-30 yard runs is the Beavers’ best bet at containing this offense.