Scouting the Opposition

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SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION

… Previews for CU’s opponents will be posted each week leading up to the start of Fall Camp …

 

Game Seven – CU v. Oregon State – Boulder, October 27th … Homecoming

Last game between the two schools … October 14, 2017 – Colorado 36, Oregon State 33 … Steven Montez threw a 13-yard touchdown to Bryce Bobo with 1:34 left and Colorado hung on for a 36-33 victory Saturday over Oregon State, which was playing its first game since the sudden departure of head coach Gary Andersen.

Montez threw for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns and also caught a scoring pass from Bobo, who finished with nine catches for 126 yards. Phillip Lindsay ran for 185 yards and two touchdowns, falling just five yards short of reaching 1,000 yards rushing for the second-straight season.

Jordan Choukair’s 52-yard field goal attempt for the Beavers, which would have tied the game with 10 seconds left was short, denying Oregon State a chance at an upset. Ryan Nall finished with 172 yards rushing and three touchdowns, but the Beavers, who punted only once all game, could not finish off its final drive of the game.

“It gives us confidence because we were able to finish a game,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “We did it a lot last year, but we haven’t been able to do it the last two weeks. … We made a drive and we made a stop when we had to.”

… Full write-up of the game, including the game essay, “Less Worse“, can be found here

 

2017 Oregon State results – 1-11 (0-9 in Pac-12 play)

– Returning starters, Offense: 6 … Returning starters, Defense: 7

 

– 2017 Oregon State National Rankings (Offense)

— Scoring – 113th … 20.7 points per game  (Colorado scoring defense – 74th … 28.2 points per game)

— Rushing – 97th … 137.5 yards per game   (Colorado rushing defense – 108th … 208.0 yards per game)

— Passing – 88th … 196.3 yards per game   (Colorado passing defense – 94th … 242.6 yards per game)

— Total – 112th … 333.8 yards per game  (Colorado total defense – 109th … 450.6 yards per game)

– 2017 Oregon State National Rankings (Defense)

— Scoring – 127th … 43.0 points per game  (Colorado scoring offense – 81st … 26.4 points per game)

— Rushing – 120th … 235.8 yards per game (Colorado rushing offense – 74th … 157.2 yards per game)

— Passing – 83rd … 237.3 yards per game (Colorado passing offense – 39th … 260.4 yards per game)

— Total – 120th … 473.1 yards per game  (Colorado total offense – 48th … 417.6 yards per game)

 

Oregon State storylines … 

Last season, Oregon State went 1-11 (0-9). The lone victory was a 35-32 win over Portland State from the Big Sky Conference, and even that win required a go-ahead touchdown with only 1:08 to play. In Pac-12 play, the Beavers were within two touchdowns only twice, losing heart-breakers to Stanford (15-14) and Colorado (36-33) the two games after Gary Andersen abruptly quit as head coach. After the adrenaline rush of playing for an interim staff wore off, the Beavers closed out the season with an 0-4 November with an average final score of 48-21.

Enter Jonathan Smith, most recently the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Washington (2013-17). A four-year starter at quarterback for the Beavers (1998-2001), Smith led the Beavers in 2000 to their greatest season in school history. The Beavers finished 11–1, a school record for wins, won a share of their first conference title in 36 years, and finished ranked fourth in the country.

Smith has promised nothing for this season other than continued improvement week-to-week. Oregon State’s opener is against Ohio State on the road … so improvement from that looming blowout will not be difficult.

On offense, the Beavers do not appear to be very dangerous. Two quarterbacks return with a modicum of experience, with Jake Luton (four starts in 2017) and Conor Blount (four starts in 2016) returning. There is no obvious replacement for star back Ryan Nall (left early for the NFL, but was not selected) and former Oregon standout Thomas Tyner (who chose not to opt for a sixth-year medical redshirt season).

Four of the Beavers’ top six wide receivers return, and Oregon State will have four of its five offensive lineman back. Still, there is not much for new offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren to work with … and that’s the positive side of the ball for the Beavers.

The defense ranked 121st in yards allowed per play last year, and gave up 43.0 points a game. The defensive line generated only 14 sacks in 2018, and has only inexperienced starters returning. At the start of spring practice, Smith announced that Oregon State’s most experienced linebacker, Bright Ugwoegbu, would be suspended indefinitely. Most of defensive backfield – which produced only seven interceptions – returns.

For his coaching staff, Smith has gone heavy on coaches who either played or coached at Oregon State. “I think there’s real value with that,” Smith said. “They’ve done it here before, they know this place, but it wasn’t so important that I wanted the full staff to have a background here. … Whether they’ve played here, coached here, they have lived it and know the positive benefits of Corvallis and being able to sell it.”

Others new faces have experience in coaching in the Pac-12, including former CU offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren. In all, eight of the Pac-12 schools are represented on the OSU coaching staff.

Bottom Line … This looks like a team which is likely to win only 2-4 games.  After the Ohio State thrashing, winnable there are winnable non-conference games against Southern Utah and Nevada. In Pac-12 play, the best hopes for victory are home games against Washington State and Cal … in the two weeks leading up to the Beavers’ trip to Boulder on October 27th.

 

How the Buffs fit into the Beavers’ 2018 schedule

CU’s Homecoming Game in 2018 is Oregon State. In the not too distant past, teams would schedule the most beatable opponent on the schedule for the homecoming festivities … the team which would most likely send the home team fans away with fond memories.

Today, most teams schedule homecoming earlier in the season, when the weather will be most agreeable, and, on some occasions, play their “homecoming” game the weekend after another home game, pretty much ignoring the reason behind the name.

This fall, CU’s homecoming opponent meets all the necessary requirements … 1) While the game is in late October, that is usually a pretty nice time to catch the fall colors in Boulder; 2) The game comes after the Buffs endure brutal back-to-back road games against USC and Washington; and 3) Oregon State represents (perhaps) the easiest game on CU’s schedule.

We will know a great deal about the 2018 Buffs by Game Eight on the schedule. The Buffs will have navigated their way through a non-conference schedule (CSU, Nebraska, New Hampshire) which will either label them as Pac-12 South contenders … or put Mike MacIntyre on a path to new employment. They will also have played two winnable Pac-12 home games (UCLA, Arizona State) and two likely Pac-12 road losses (USC; Washington).

The Oregon State game may represent a rebound game for a team looking to – perhaps – lock up bowl eligibility before the end of October. Or, the Oregon State game could represent a game in which the Buffs are looking to gain some form of respectability for an already disappointing season.

For the Beavers, the Colorado game may represent the last best chance at a victory in 2018. Oregon State’s November schedule is not enviable: USC; at Stanford; at Washington; Oregon. See the Beavers being anything less than a double-digit underdog in any of those games? Me neither.

Hopefully, CU’s homecoming opponent will do what homecoming opponents are supposed to do – provide an afternoon of stress-free football as the home team rings up another victory over a hapless foe.

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5 Responses to “Scouting the Opposition”

  1. VKBerlin

    Hey Stu,

    I was wondering why you were starting to talk about the games. It’s only the middle of May. I mean first game is like 14 weeks away? What? And fall camp is 10 weeks away. Wow?????
    Figure you gotta do one a week…………so you are right on schedule.

    Buffalo Up……Uh Oh Buffalo…………Go Buffs……….

  2. VKBerlin

    Aug. 31 – vs. Colorado State, 7:30 p.m.(at Denver)
    Sept. 8 – at Nebraska, TBA
    Sept. 15 – vs. New Hampshire, TBA
    Sept. 28 – vs. UCLA, TBA
    Oct. 6 – vs. Arizona State, TBA
    Oct. 13 – at USC, TBA
    Oct. 20 – at Washington, TBA
    Oct. 27 – vs. Oregon State, TBA
    Nov. 2 – at Arizona, TBA
    Nov. 10 – vs. Washington State, TBA
    Nov. 17 – vs. Utah, TBA
    Nov. 24 – at California, TBA

    Is there 8 and 4 in this deal? Plus a bowl?
    Maybe 7 and 5 and a bowl?
    Maybe 6 and 6 and a bowl?
    Maybe a repeat of 2017?

    Mein Gott?

    Come on TunaMac.

    7th year eh? You got it or don’t ya?

  3. VKBerlin

    Wow Stu, Bulletin board material. Shocking. I’m pretty sure Lindy is one of your subscribers?

    Sheesh Thanks

  4. VKBerlin

    This could be a dangerous game for CU Lindy is now the OC. Worried sick.

    Hey Earache,

    I swear this is TunaMac’s voice in disguise.

    I believe that is you front and center.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/AMAZlNGNATURE/status/995800140907597825/video/1

    Buffs

  5. ep

    Hoping that Fontenot keeps McMillan on the bench most of the time. That way we get 4 years….even better 3 years if he is good enough to go pro early…. meaning Alex is a long term real deal which is much better than a one and done.

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