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Oregon Football

Keys to the Game: Oregon State

November 29, 2019

Oregon looks to bounce back after a poor showing on both sides of the ball last week. It’s a 2-for-1 special, as I offer up my thoughts on what they need to do offensively and defensively to defeat a Beavers team that is much improved from last year.

Here the main keys for an Oregon win on Saturday. 

Dominate the Line of Scrimmage

Last year, Oregon ran the ball all day against the Beavers. The Ducks racked up 293 yards and 6 rushing touchdowns. It was an absolute clinic, and Oregon should be able to find similar success this year. Mario Cristobal’s brand has been recruiting monsters up front, and this will be a great chance to show why it pays off in the Pac-12.

Success Running Screen Plays

The Oregon State defense is a bit stronger than last year, but it still has a ways to go. Hamilcar Rashed Jr. has been on an absolute tear with 14 total sacks. The next four sack leaders are also linebackers, which compensates for not generating a lot of pressure from the defensive line. By running a lot of screens and quick throws, Oregon can neutralize the Beavers' biggest defensive strength.

Protect the Ball

Justin Herbert's two interceptions last week were absolute killers that really got the Oregon offense out of sync. The Beavers' defense has allowed points in bunches, and the only way they’ve been able to slow teams down is if they’re able to create turnovers. Oregon should be able to move the ball at will -- if it doesn't lose a turnover or two.

Contain Isaiah Hodgins

The OSU passing offense has improved tremendously from last season. The biggest reason? Hodgins has been shredding defenses. He has over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns. In the few instances when defenses have shut Hodgins down, the Beavers' offense has ground to a halt. If you can slow down Hodgins, Luton tends to force ill-advised throws.

Interior Pressure

Oregon's edge rushers have improved as the year has gone on. Kayvon Thibodeaux is becoming one of the better edge rushers in the Pac-12. The Beavers' offensive line hasn’t exactly been elite, and if Oregon is able to create havoc on the interior it will open up the rush lanes for the edge guys. It's Jordon Scott;s time to shine, as he’s proven he can collapse pockets.

Improved Defensive Back Play

After an uncharacteristic poor showing, Oregon defensive backs need to rebound. This is a chance for them to show why they had been regarded as one of the best secondaries in the Pac-12. Outside of Hodgins, they should be able to contain the Beaver pass catchers. This is the one unit I’m going to be watching the most to see how they handle adversity

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