The Oregon State Beavers have climbed up the polls to No. 10 with a 4-0 record, but if they want to stay undefeated, they will have to beat a BYU Cougars team that is 4-2 on the year and has not dropped a game at home this season.
The main topic of discussion for Oregon State this week will be the play of backup quarterback Cody Vaz, who takes over for Sean Mannion after he underwent minor knee surgery this week. Vaz is a junior, but has not played in a game since 2010. On the expectations for Vaz, Andy Wooldridge from Building The Dam said:
I expect some nervous moments, because of that long layoff, and also because the Cougar defense is really good; good veteran QBs will have some nervous moments against them.
Despite what coach says, I expect that there will be an emphasis on shorter, quick stuff, in order to get Vaz comfortable. The real problem is the BYU defense, which is No. 1 in the country against the run, will probably limit how effective Oregon St. will be at establishing the run. I expect that will force more passing, which would be good if Mannion were there, but will probably produce a turnover at some point that wouldn't have happened otherwise.
Quarterback play is also a talking point for BYU as starter Riley Nelson returns to the lineup after sitting out a couple weeks with a back injury. Brett Hein from Vanquish The Foe had this to say about the return of Nelson:
It all depends on his health. As you saw last season in Corvallis, when Nelson is healthy, the offense generally works well. BYU gained 500 yards of offense and scored 38 points. He says he's near 100 percent after sitting out a few weeks. Many are still skeptical – back injuries take a while to heal.
The game kicks off at 12:30 p.m. PT and is being televised on ABC.