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This Week’s “T.I.P.S.” for CU’s Homecoming Game against the Oregon State Beavers

 

It’s been almost two full years since Oregon State closed out the 2016 season with satisfying Pac-12 wins over Arizona and Oregon … to finish with an otherwise forgettable season with a 4-8 record and some momentum for the 2017 campaign. Since then, however, Oregon State has gone 2-17, with both wins coming over FCS teams from the Big Sky Conference.

So … an easy win for the Buffs?

Probably, but …

The Beavers did show some fight earlier this season, missing a field goal in the final seconds which would have won the game on the road against Nevada (37-35 final). Oregon State kept up with Arizona for a half (14-7 at the break; 35-14 final), and, three weeks ago, Oregon State actually led Washington State in the third quarter, 30-28 (before succumbing, 56-37).

If the Buffs let the Beavers hang around into the second half this weekend, it could be a game until the end.

But that’s not likely going to be the case.

CU v. Oregon State … Saturday, 1:00 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Networks

T – Talent 

Let’s check and see how your SAT analogy skills have held up over the years:

— Laviska Shenault is to the Colorado offense as __________ is to the Oregon State offense.

Answer: Freshman running back Jermar Jefferson.

In a season where the 1-6 Beavers have struggled, Jefferson has been a beacon of hope. Jefferson has rushed for 899 yards in seven games, a 128.4 yards per game average. Jefferson’s fifth-in-the-nation average includes the season opener, when Jefferson had only eight carries, and last week’s game, when he was limited to two carries. In between, Jefferson had four 100-yard rushing games – and two 200-yard games – averaging 163.6 yards per contest (including 254 yards in OSU’s last road game, against Arizona State).

A hamstring injury limited Jefferson’s participation to two plays last weekend against Cal, but the Beavers are “optimistic” that he will be able to play against the Buffs.

(Just as the Buffs are “hopeful” Laviska Shenault will be able to play against Oregon State – current listing: “day-to-day”).

If Jefferson can’t go, or is limited … so too will be the Oregon State offense.

The Beavers have tried three different quarterbacks, with little overall success. Sophomore Conor Blount has received most of the snaps, but left the Cal game in the late second quarter with a concussion. Blount is undergoing the concussion protocol, and is being evaluated daily.

Blount was replaced during the Cal game by third-stringer Jack Colletto, who had 12 attempts on the season before going 11-for-20 for 104 yards and an interception in just over a half’s worth of work against the Bears. (OSU’s other quarterback is Jake Luton, who suffered a high ankle sprain against Nevada, and hasn’t played since).

The receiving corps? Not much going on there, either.

Two wide receivers – Timmy Hernandez and Isaiah Hodgins – are tied for the lead in receiving yards, at 386 apiece, with three combined touchdowns in 60 total receptions. Compare: Laviska Shenault – 60 receptions for 780 yards and six touchdowns. There is talent and speed in this unit, but, with Oregon State’s porous offensive line dead last in the nation in sacks allowed (4.29/game), there hasn’t always been time for the OSU quarterbacks to go for the deep pass.

The Oregon State defense?

The Beavers are 127th in scoring defense, giving up 47.3 point per game. Oregon State has surrendered a minimum of 35 points to every FBS opponent this season. Hell, the Beavers even gave up 25 points to Southern Utah … a 1-6 Big Sky Conference team.

Cal running back Patrick Laird became the latest opposing running back to torch the OSU defense. Laird carried for 193 yards, scored twice on the ground and once through the air.

“There were a few 20-plus yard runs where I wasn’t touched for 20 yards,” Laird said. “It was awesome.”

Laird was praising his offensive line, but that has been the story of the OSU season.

Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin rushed for 312 yards against the Beavers. Arizona’s J.J. Taylor ran for 284.

The Oregon State defense … the cure for the common offense.

I – Intangibles

You have to look hard to find something for the Beavers to hang their hats on this weekend.

Oddly enough, though, it is the series between the two teams which can offer an upbeat historical note to both schools.

Colorado has a three-game winning streak over Oregon State, its longest streak against any team in the conference since joining the Pac-12 in 2011. Two of those games came in Corvallis, with the Buffs picking up close wins in 2015 (17-13) and 2017 (36-33), and a blowout win in Boulder in 2016 (47-6).

That’s some good karma.

Meanwhile, if Oregon State players want to relive something positive in their recent past, they also can point to the CU/Oregon State series.

You see, the Beavers haven’t had much going for them since starting out the 2014 season with a 4-1 record. Oregon State would go on to limp to the end of the 2014 season with a 5-7 record, before posting records of 1-11 (2015), 4-8 (2016), and 1-11 (2017). That stretch includes a streak of 22 straight road losses.

The last time Oregon State won a game on the road?

You guessed it.

Against Colorado in Boulder, a 36-31 win in 2014.

And then there’s the Lindgren factor.

Former Colorado offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren returns to Boulder, where he spent five years coaching with Mike MacIntyre (six years, counting the final season the pair spent at San Jose State).

There is familiarity there which could arguably assist both teams. Lindgren certainly knows most of CU’s personnel on offense, which he could pass along to Oregon State’s defensive coaches.

At the same time, the CU coaching staff should be well versed in Brian Lindgren’s tendencies, giving the Buffs an edge in their preparations.

“I am looking forward to seeing Brian,” MacIntyre said. “I don’t think we’re looking forward to going against each other, because we’re really close and so are a lot of the other guys. It’ll be great to see Brian.

“When the game starts, he wants to kick our butt, and we want to kick his butt and after the game is over we’ll be friends again. The coaching profession is such a close profession that that happens quite often. He did a great job for me at San Jose State and a great job here.”

P – Preparation/Schedule 

The schedule makers aren’t particularly kind to Pac-12 schools.

SEC and ACC schools play eight conference games and four non-conference games, at least three of which are always at home. This allows those schools to avoid back-to-back road conference games, much less three games out of four on the road.

Pac-12 schools?

Not so much.

Colorado is in the midst of its three-games-out-of-four on the road stretch. The Buffs took on USC and Washington the past two weekends, and will fly off to Tucson to face Arizona next Friday night.

Oregon State, meanwhile, is just beginning its three-games-out-of-four on the road odyssey. After their trip to Boulder, the Beavers get USC at home before back-to-back road games against Stanford and Washington (all that before finishing up at home … against Oregon).

That’s a pretty daunting stretch to the end the season for the Beavers.

If you are an Oregon State fan, and you look at an upcoming schedule of: at Colorado; USC; at Stanford; at Washington; Oregon … where do you see the best chance at a victory over a conference opponent in 2018?

Yup – probably Colorado.

That being the case, I’d look for the Oregon State coaches to pull out all of the stops – reverses, flea flickers, stunts, blitzes – to try and get the Beavers their first conference win since 2016.

S – Statistics

— CU sophomore wide receiver Laviska Shenault continues to lead the nation in both receptions per game (60, or 10.0/game) and receiving yards per game (780, or 130.0/game);

— Quarterback Steven Montez, coming off of two sub-optimal performances against USC and Washington, has dropped to 11th nationally in completion percentage (.693);

— Running back Travon McMillian is 33rd in the nation in rushing (92.3 yds/game);

— Oregon State is 100th or worse nationally in at least 17 different categories. Some of the more significant … 128th in total defense; 127th in scoring defense; 102nd in turnover margin; 108th in passing yards allowed; 129th in sacks allowed; and 119th in turnovers gained;

— Are there any categories in which Oregon State excels? The Beavers like to go for it on fourth down, and have been successful when they try (3-of-4 v. Cal; 5-for-5 v. Washington State). Oregon State is 8th in the nation in fourth down success;

— And, for the Brian Lindgren detractors out there … Oregon State is 51st in the country in total offense (423.3 yards/game) … Colorado is 48th in the nation in total offense (425.9 yards/game).

Prediction …

Let’s just say it … The only team that can beat CU this Saturday in Boulder is Colorado. Oregon State just doesn’t have the talent in place to defeat a Pac-12 team that doesn’t beat itself.

Colorado is tied for sixth in the nation in fewest turnovers lost (6), and are decent in penalties against (6.29/game; 59th nationally), so the Buffs don’t tend to beat themselves.

Oregon State, meanwhile, has been a sieve on defense; hit-and-miss on offense.

I can see the Beavers posting a few big plays on offense, especially if freshman phenom Jermar Jefferson is a full go. Brian Lindgren is going to do all he can to try and show the Buff Nation that he knows how to game plan and be successful on offense.

But I can’t see the Beavers’ defense stopping the Buff offense for an entire afternoon. A year ago, in a freakish Thursday night home game against Stanford, the Oregon State defense held the Cardinal to 15 points in a 15-14 loss. Since then, in eight Pac-12 games, the Oregon State defense has surrendered an average of 48.3 points per game.

The Buffs might make the Homecoming crowd squirm nervously for a quarter to a quarter-and-a-half, but the outcome of the game shouldn’t be in doubt for much longer than that.

If it is, then the Buffs will have some serious issues to address when the calendar turns to November …

… Colorado 42, Oregon State 17 … 

Previous predictions … 

Prediction: Washington 31, Colorado 14 … Actual: Washington 27, Colorado 13

Prediction: USC 24, Colorado 20 … Actual: USC 31, Colorado 20

Prediction: Colorado 34, Arizona State 27 … Actual: Colorado 28, Arizona State 21

Prediction: Colorado 30, UCLA 21 … Actual: Colorado 38, UCLA 16

Prediction: Colorado 48, New Hampshire 10 … Actual: Colorado 45, New Hampshire 14

Prediction: Colorado 31, Nebraska 24 … Actual: Colorado 33, Nebraska 28

Prediction: Colorado 41, Colorado State 24 … Actual: Colorado 45, Colorado State 13

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12 Replies to “CU v. Oregon State – A Preview”

  1. MM, trying to repair a damaged road, “I am looking forward to seeing Brian,” MacIntyre said. “I don’t think we’re looking forward to going against each other, because we’re really close and so are a lot of the other guys. It’ll be great to see Brian.

    BS, MM. I know it and so does the Herd.

    Buffs 38 — Beavers 17

  2. Just keep the RB’s from busting 10+yds and we won’t have to worry….

    Oh… I forgot, KEEP THE DAMN DL’s and LB’s OUT OF OUR BACKFIELD. Could ya ?
    ***If ya can’t, how ’bouts a new OL coach ?

    Oh….. I forgot anuther one……. No running plays by Tiny Butt between the tackles on 3rd and 15. Ain’t worked yet and won’t work PERIOD.

    I’m certain VK can find a few more nuggets of advice… along with quite a few more from everyone else. Please have at it.

    Go Beaver Bustin’ boys !

  3. Nice prediction Stuart, I actually had the score 41-17, since too close to yours I will change-
    CU-47 OSU-20 But rooting for Eric’s 99-0

  4. Yo,
    So Ya have to assume, and hope and pray and wish and think the Buffs are gonna win out.
    Hence 7-2 in conference.

    So who is gonna give USC their third loss which is required for the Buffs to win the south?
    ASU?
    OSU?
    Cal?
    UCLA?

    I got my hunch.

    Uh Oh who is gonna help the Mighty Buffalo

  5. The Oline. Can’t wait to not only see who the starters are but also:
    where they line up
    how long they actually play at that position
    who the substitutes are
    how long they play
    at what position

    Fluid Mechanics is a tough deal to understand let alone implement. Ask ep. He knows. He is a doctor.
    Uh Oh Buffalo

    Buffarama in the oline.

  6. Oregon State is 51st in the country in total offense (423.3 yards/game) … Colorado is 48th in the nation in total offense (425.9 yards/game). What? But Wait Stu,Mac only looks at scoring for and against. The rest doesn’t matter. Hm……….
    …………………………………….OSU…………CU
    Scoring offense……………..28.0…………31.7
    Rank in pac 12……………….6………………..3
    Scoring Defense…………….47.3………..21.4

    And in Points (the only thing Mac looks at) OSU is dead last in conference games.

    Lindgrens offense is right where it always is………..”Stuck in the Middle with You”
    Points, it’s always the points. Right.

    and are decent in penalties against (6.29/game; 59th nationally), so the Buffs don’t tend to beat themselves. What? Mac said that penalties and poor execution cost them both the USC and WSU games. So……….. there is that.

    Anyway looking for the 6th win Saturday and a great party Homecoming weekend.

    Up your Buffalo Boys
    Note : Those OSU defensive rankings look familiar. Is Baer the DC for OSU?

    1. How ’bout looking at the OSU roster, maybe? Comparing that to CU’s, or anyone in the Pac 12’s offense?

      Yeah, performance has nothing to do with personnel. Nothing.

      Keep on keepin’ on, buddy.

      Go Buffs

      1. Now that’s funny right there.

        But OSU has Lindgren Mein Gott. The only reason the Buffs won any games is because of “that fine coach” .

        Go Buffs………………..Yur gonna have to be good to beat that lingering offense.

    1. IF. If we play to our capabilities this week we have at least a chance for a serious blowout. But I like your consistency (excluding the Washington game? 91? 🙂
      CU 41 OSU 10

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