Week 9: Oregon State at Stanford

Oregon State (4-2) at Stanford (4-3) Oct. 25, 3:30, ESPN2 

Here’s The Deal: Has the rest of the Pac-12 finally caught up to Stanford? The two-time defending league champs have fallen on hard times, losing all three of its games versus ranked opponents, including last week at Arizona State. Still, the Cardinal has won both of its games with fellow North Division members, and actually controls its own destiny in the division. Oregon State has its own issues with which to deal. The Beavers have dropped two of their three Pac-12 games, capped by a double-overtime heartbreaker to Utah last weekend in Corvallis. 

Why Oregon State Might Win: It doesn’t take many points to defeat Stanford these days. The Cardinal offense is the chief reason the team isn’t hitting its goals, averaging just 17 points in five games with Power Five opponents. In Tempe last Saturday, Stanford couldn’t run the ball, and didn’t score a touchdown until the final quarter. Beaver QB Sean Mannion hasn’t been prolific this year, but he won’t need to be, especially if he continues to get help from backs Terron Ward and Storm Woods, who’ll be running at a depleted Cardinal D-line.

Why Stanford Might Win: The offense is in turmoil, but the D on the Farm is still among the best in America. In fact, no team in the country is allowing fewer yards per play than the Cardinal. Mannion just hasn’t been the same without Brandin Cooks on the outside, and now reliable WR Richard Mullaney is out with an injury. Oregon State just doesn’t have the weapons to combat a defense that does such an outstanding job of owning the line of scrimmage. 

Who To Watch Out For: It’s going to be a long afternoon for a shaky Beaver offensive line. Stanford is so tough off the edge, with DE Henry Anderson and OLB Kevin Anderson, and Mannion is not known for his elusiveness. And the inexperienced Oregon State receivers will be at a severe disadvantage when running routes in the direction of Cardinal corners Wayne Lyons and Alex Carter. 

What’s Going To Happen: Stanford will lean on the defense to get back on track this week … what else is new? Oregon State lacks the necessary weapons to score consistently on the stout Cardinal D. And while QB Kevin Hogan won’t have much luck throwing on the Beaver secondary, the Stanford backs will enjoy more running room than they’ve seen in recent weeks. 

Prediction: Stanford 28 … Oregon State 14 
Line: Stanford -13.5 o/u: 44 
Must Watch Factor: 5: Dumb and Dumber To – 1: Manhattan Love Story … 2.5