15.Sep.2014 San Diego State @ Oregon State
I just finished watching these highlights of UNC/SDSU. The Aztecs are better than I thought. Some observations:
- SDSU’s offensive line looked pretty good, especially running the ball.
- Keahler is not a particularly mobile QB. He looks shifty in the sense he can buy time and avoid sacks, but he isn’t a true running threat. Beavs defense always plays well versus this type of QB. I expect some sacks and a good performance by the front four. Without the option threat, the line should be able to key in on the back (Donnel Pumphrey) and win penetration. LBs will need to clean up because Pumphrey is evasive enough to make his own holes.
- Kaehler delivered some beautiful balls in-stride, but also threw some bad interceptions. He probably will not throw Nelson’s way. That leaves Larry Scott as a key player in this game. The SDSU WRs look solid.
- The SDSU kicker hit from 50 yards. If this game comes down to the wire they probably have the advantage there.
- SDSU has the coaching advantage in terms of time management and play calling (i.e. they called 39 pass plays and 35 run plays versus North Carolina). Riley is stubbornly forcing an aerial attack identity onto this club, and with the improved competition I feel this is the week it could come back to hurt Mannion. I expect he throws a couple interceptions and that number increases versus USC unless the Beavers can run a balanced offense statim. Mannion should have at least 4INTs so far, but he’s gotten away with them due to poor talent in the PSU and Hawaii secondaries.
Note that OSU’s pass/run ratio is 82:73. So almost 1:1. That is not bad, but ideally you’d want to see it reversed. What exacerbates it is that they pass in the wrong situations (e.g. inside the redzone, short yardage, etc). It makes it seem much worse.
Overall I was impressed with SDSU on film. They look to be about the same talent level as the Beavers. This makes sense since they’re in a recruiting hotbed and get a lot of the USC/UCLA leftovers. The weather calls for 91 degrees and sun on Saturday. That probably benefits SDSU. OSU’s advantages, based on what I’ve seen, would lie on the defensive front and Nelson shutting down half the field. That’s the key to winning this game and those players could suffocate SDSU’s offense. Now will that happen? No, because what I learned is that nothing ever comes easy for OSU. On offense, the Beavers must be more balanced or Sean Mannion will throw INTs this week.
I originally felt good about OSU dominating this game because they historically play well versus non-mobile QBs and have favorable matchups in this game. Watching the SDSU film curbed my enthusiasm, and Riley is a handicap (Probably a touchdown per game. So -4 this week since we give +3 for home field advantage). I also worry about OSU looking ahead to the USC game now that it’s a prime time game on ESPN. Beavs on upset alert but have enough to overcome the Riley factor. With the Riley factor they eek out a 27-24 win, but it should be more like 34-24.